Executives at the Winter Meetings haven’t even had their cheese danish at the continental breakfast in Las Vegas yet and the White Sox are already fielding interest on Jose Abreu. Besides the Dodgers, who have long had eyes for Abreu, the Astros are now reportedly kicking the tires on the 32-year-old slugger.

Given the return Paul Goldschmidt netted for the Diamondbacks, Abreu would command a similar price. The Dodgers are prospect-wealthy, especially in the outfield, but my gut tells me L.A. will be hesitant to separate from Alex Verdugo or Cody Bellinger. Factoring in Abreu’s pending free agency after the 2019 season and it’s easy to conclude that Abreu’s value is diminished by his lone season of control.

But…after the Cardinals paid a steep price for Goldschmidt, there is hope for a surprising return. Dealing away Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver at first seemed a steep price for one season of Goldschmidt, but Ken Rosenthal reported that many rival executives felt the Dbacks were fleeced in the deal. Kelly is a heralded yet unproven major-league player with a negative WAR in limited action over three seasons with St. Louis. He’s 24 years old and may have worn out his welcome with the Cardinals, so a change of scenery might serve him well. Weaver has been equally frustrating to Cards fans and falls into the same bucket at Kelly in terms of a fresh start. So, depending on who you ask it seemed like a fair deal given the term limits on Goldschmidt.

Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox hits a three run home runin the 7th inning against the Kansas City Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 17, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Aug. 16, 2018 – Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

The prospect swap for Goldschmidt weighs heavily on a potential trade for Abreu. Both Goldschmidt and Pito are among the top-5 one-baggers in the game under an expiring term. Abreu is set to receive nearly $16 million in salary this season, so he’s not exactly a bargain. But the blogosphere deals in hypotheticals and we’ve got nothing better to do than hurl ideas against the wall on what the Astros might give up for Abreu, at least until Rick Hahn finishes his cheese danish.

What’s it worth to you?

Phil Rogers tossed out the following names to get the ball rolling on Abreu discussions.

J.B. Bukauskas – the Astros’ No. 8 prospect – immediately jumps off the page as a player the White Sox would be interested in. He’s another right-hander in an already one-sided rotation for the Sox, but he has pushed his way to Double-A in just two seasons and could be poised to make a jump to the big leagues in 2019. Bukauskas finished the season with a 2.14 earned run average in 59 innings of work. His season was delayed after a car accident at Spring Training that slipped a disk in the thoracic region of his spine, but he seems to have recovered nicely.

Seth Beer is another name that will get Sox fans heart pumping, although his star has faded as the novelty of a Jake Burger, (Seth) Beer combo evaporated over the past two years. Beer played well in his debut season posting a .304 batting average and an .885 OPS at three levels of A-ball. He also smacked 12 home runs, displaying the power potential scouts have hailed him with.

The problem with Bukauskas and Beer, and what makes them legitimate players to consider in this type of deal, is that they are one-trick ponies. Bukauskas profiles as a late-inning reliever or closer while Beer is a lumbering first baseman without much added value. If Beer doesn’t hit and hit well, he’s bench player that bounces around the majors. For Bukauskas, it’s a question of where he profiles. The Astros believe he can remain a starter, but with the White Sox stable of flamethrowing starters, Bukauskas might be a bullpen option.

But let’s get real. There’s no way the White Sox will trade Jose Abreu for anything less than both Beer and Bukauskas as well as one other role player. In fact, my gut tells me the White Sox will extend Abreu before making a deal. Maybe Abreu’s agent won’t let that happen, but with the talent around the league at that position at quite a high level, Abreu would be wise to cut a long-term deal to take him into the golden years of his career.