Dec
19

The free agency of Bobby Abreu

By

Bobby Abreu is almost 35 and with a career offensive line of .300/.400/.500. He’s been one of the steadiest and best producing outfielders in the Majors for a while, but what should be his last big payday of his career came at a terrible time. The market is flooded with corner outfielders, and teams are wary of a player like Abreu who may have already started a steep decline. Despite his pedigree, as Jerry Crasnick explains, GMs across the game see Abreu as a piece of the puzzle rather than the center piece of a team, and the former Yankee is waiting for a market to emerge.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League
  • Ryan S.

    Y’know I really would be happy to have Abreu back on a one year deal for something around $12-13 mil. In this wild and wacky economy that we’re in, it may not be an impossibility.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      But where’d he play? I mean, you could put Nady in left, Damon in center, and Bobby in right but….that’d be awful defense. And, with Bobby’s declining presence at the plate, the offense he’d bring wouldn’t be good enough to make up for the bad defense, like adding Tex, Dunn, or Manny would.

      • Bill

        Mann’s defense is far worse than anything you mentioned I’d take Abreu’s declining offense and better defense than Manny and his scumbag ways.

      • Mossa

        what declining presense at the plate?! Are you kidding me!

  • ryan

    it is a shame a productive clutch guy that fit perfectly into the yankees lineup wont’ be back with the team. a platoon of nady and abreu in right could be special. yanks dropped the ball not offering him arb. would’ve been a win win situation. a one year deal for a potent platoon in RF or a pick.

    • whozat

      Yeah, paying 18+ million for the worst defender in the league would be awesome.

      The guy’s bat is slowing. His walk rate is also slowing. He is a prime candidate to fall off a cliff.

      • gg

        but when he realized he wasnt a lock to come back, he really picked it up (after the nady trade) i think had he taken an arb offer he’d really bust his ass to play well for a deal next season which is why I’d still really like him on a 1 year deal unless we are going to land Manny, Tex is not worth his pricetag at this point, not even close actually

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          Tex is not worth his pricetag at this point, not even close actually

          I disagree, and here’s why: Right now, Boston is the most likely team Tex will sign with. If Yanks get him, it’s a twofer, as not only will we get his production, but Boston won’t, and there’s nowhere else on the FA market that their going to get it (because they sure as hell aren’t sogning Manny).

          That being said, I don’t think Boras let’s Tex sign with the Yanks, because then he can’t use them (or Boston) to drive up the price for Manny.

          • Sciorsci

            Say what you will about Boras, but at least with him you know the equation’s fairly simple… you want the player, you need to have the highest bid. Very rarely does a Boras client deviate from that concept. The idea that Boras would steer one client away from the highest bid (or even from the best fit if that’s how Boras played the game even though it isn’t) for the best interest of a different client is likely a media creation or a figment of fans’ collective imagination.

    • Thomas

      Offering arbitration though would have meant having Abreu on a one deal worth like $18 million, which the Yankees, rightly, didn’t want to pay. Also, platooning Abreu with Nady would be very costly (like $24 million) and poor defensively.

      • ryan

        Worst defender in the league is a lil extreme. The guy has average speed and an above average arm, He is wall shay but worst defender in the league seems a lil exaggerated and for 18 mill a yr it wouldn’t be worth it I guess. Hope someone picks it up next yr offensively cuz that bat will be missed.

        • whozat

          No it’s not. According to most of the defensive metrics, he or Nate McLouth was the most costly defender in the bigs, in terms of not making plays that they should have.

          Bad defense is not entirely the comical stuff that one sees on you-tube. It’s also failing to get to balls in front of you, in the gaps, and over your head. Bobby, apparently, let lots of balls elude him that an average RFer would have gotten. This isn’t saying that there were plays that a guy could lay out for and Bobby chose not to…it’s saying there were lots of balls an average RFer gets to standing up that Bobby let drop.

          I was surprised to read that he was so bad. But he cost the team in the field, and I don’t doubt that he would do so again.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Well, by the Fielding Bible’s Plus/Minus system, he was better only than Brad Hawpe in RF

          By PMR, he was the 5th worst RF in the game, at -11.64 vs average.

          By UZR, he was -25.2.

          So, yeah, that’s bad. Really, really, really bad. So, yeah, worst defender in baseball isn’t a stretch.

          • JeffG

            I think it is really hard to appreciate how bad defense can really ruin a game – unless you are a close follower of Mike Mussina. Yet, even when it is not so apparent, small things that lead to a longer innings can make your ace starter into an average starter. Can make an innings inner leave after the 5th regularly.

            • JeffG

              regularly x 2 … obviously drunk for the night – done.

              • JeffG

                really?

    • UWS

      If anything, the way the Abreu market has developed (or failed to do so thus far) shows that Yankees absolutely made the right decision not to offer arbitration. Is there any doubt he would’ve taken it? Teams are leery of signing him as it is, they’d definitely think long and hard if there was a loss of first-round pick attached as well. And the last thing this team needs is another over-priced old OFer, even if it is “just” for a year.

      • DP

        “And the last thing this team needs is another over-priced old OFer, even if it is “just” for a year.”

        Yet no one has a problem with suggesting we get Manny for 3 years…

        • Thomas

          First of all many people are against adding Manny.

          Second, Manny is a much better hitter than Abreu, while being comparable in the other aspects of the game.

          • UWS

            Thirdly, I’d imagine Manny would mostly DH, no?

            And yeah, I’m not necessarily one of people advocating for Manny.

          • ryan

            I hate the idea of manny in pinstripes…..hope someone signs him soon so i can stop having nightmares.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

              Yeah, such horrid nightmares of one of the best RH hitters in baseball. How awful…

              Now I’m not saying the Yankees should sign Manny right away, but it’d be far from a “nightmare” to have him.

              • ryan

                There’s a reason boston got rid of one of the best RH hitters in baseball….no one could question his ability in the batters box but there’s more to signing that circus show than that. He’s a disruptive force and when he wants to he can not only terrorize opposing teams but his own.

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

                  Oh please. That’s no reason not to sign him. His production far outweighs all that bullshit. This is NY. There’s going to be a media circus no matter who the player is. A player of Manny’s caliber is rare and it’s worth taking a shot at him, despite that stuff.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Manny Ramirez: one of the game’s best hitters who hasn’t started to decline much yet.

          Bobby Abreu: very consistent player who’s in his decline period already.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “If anything, the way the Abreu market has developed (or failed to do so thus far) shows that Yankees absolutely made the right decision not to offer arbitration.”

        But hold on a sec there… The development of the Abreu market (or lack thereof) TODAY has absolutely nothing to do with what the Abreu market was perceived to be when the Yankees made the decision to decline to offer him arbitration (and when he would have had to make the decision to accept/decline).

        • UWS

          This is true. However, the Yankee brass might have had an inkling this could happen when they were making their decisions on whether to offer people arbitration.

        • steve (different one)

          that doesn’t mean Abreu and his agent didn’t have a feel for what his market was.

          the season ended in October.

          the arb deadline is early december.

          there was a long time where Abreu’s agent could have been fielding at least the basic parameters of the type of offers he’d be seeing.

          so far there hasn’t been any.

          maybe his agent would have panicked that he hadn’t had any solid interest yet and told him to accept. likey? maybe not. crazy? not really.

          i think it was a tough decision and Cashman elected the conservative route. that may have been the wrong decision. but i don’t think it was obvious either way.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Oh obviously Cashman had his reasons and I don’t think it was necessarily an obvious decision, I just don’t think you can look at the apparently slow-developing Abreu market on December 19 as an indicator that Cashman made either the right or wrong decision. The issues Cashman had to consider included how badly Abreu wants a multi-year deal, how much money he thinks he’ll command on the open market and whether Abreu would settle for a one-year deal if he thought he’d get more money on that deal than he’d get in AAV on a multi-year deal. The apparent lack of interest on December 19 isn’t relevant, only Cashman’s assessment Abreu’s interests during the “arbitration decision period” is really relevant.

    • steve (different one)

      $18M to “platoon” a guy?

      seriously?

  • Manimal

    He is scared of Blue wall.

    • gg

      which makes any talk of him a cub really funny seeing as they play in front of brick walls…that would be funny to watch…

  • J.R.

    The real outfield question is what will they do next year when Damon, Matsui and Nady all go FA.

    Maybe A-jax in CF, but there are still two pretty big holes on either side.

    Anyone have an idea of the FA outfielders that will be available after 09?

    • ryan

      Matt Holliday for LF …no brainer on signing him

      • UWS

        Hold your horses and go check out the stats posted in the previous thread and today’s live chat. A year away from Coors will give us a much better idea of how good Matt Holliday is. Specifically, is he as good as the $130-140M that he and Boras will ask for.

        • ryan

          well the good thing about that is the yanks get that year to check it out but he would be the most productive name on the list of FA corner outfielders for 2010.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            Jason Bay and Carl Crawford will be there as well. But if Bay has a big full year, I think Boston will lock him down. Crawford will probably have his option picked up (I think he has one) and even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be thrilled w/him in Pinstripes. If Holliday has a big year, the Yankees will make a run at him but if he has an average or below average year, he’ll be back in the NL in 2010 and beyond.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Yeah, a no brainer on a guy who’s going from a great hitter’s park to an awful hitter’s park, in a new league nonetheless. Hold your horses buddy.

        And that’s w/o getting into home/away splits.

        • ryan

          what’s with u’s and holdin’ horses….it wasn’t a crazy to say that matt holliday is gonna be the yanks target …in fact if i were to bet right now that he’ll be a yankee next year i’d most likely be right.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            It’s crazy to say because Matt Holliday, a notorious home park hitter, is moving from a tremendous hitter’s park, arguably the best in baseball history, to a very bad hitters park with deep corners and tons of foul ground, not to mention he’s switching from the weaker league to the stronger league. So, yes, it’s crazy to think that he will just instantly be a Yankee when his free-agency starts. Whether he likes it or not, 2009 will be one big try out for Matt Holliday. If he has a strong year and proves he can hit outside of Coors consistently, then he’ll probably get a bunch of lucrative offers from AL teams. But if he pulls and Andruw Jones, it’s back to the NL.

            • ryan

              The year before a free agent hits the FA market is always a tryout for every player. ofcourse if he doesn’t do well the yanks will rethink targeting him as with any FA player. This couldn’t have happend better for the yanks…they will get to keep a tab on holliday in as u said a very bad hitters park. I never said anyone should instantly become a yankee all I stated was what everyone assumes, the yanks will be targeting him for LF. It’s pretty obvious to say that if he stinks with the A’s they probably wont aquire him.

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

                You said: “Matt Holliday for LF…no brainer signing him” when it is far from a no brainer. No free agent signing is a “no brainer” literally one calender year before it happens.

                • ryan

                  ok buddy take ur pillz …no need to hang on ever word i say …it’s a no brainer he’s going to be targeted by the yanks and yeah it’s probably a no brainer they sign him.
                  so yeah u heard it hear 1st literally one calander year before it happens he’ll be a yankee.

                • ryan

                  all your doing is stating the obvious …ofcourse if Holliday Does poorly in 09 he won’t be a no brainer …however if he continues to produce he will be a no brainer.

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

                  But the way you stated it, you implied that it should be a no brainer no matter what he does in 09. You didn’t qualify it at all.

  • gg

    2009:
    CF: AJAX
    LF: Holliday
    RF:?
    DH: Manny

    • ryan

      25 mil a yr DH is probably what we would have in 2010 if we signed manny.

      • Mike Pop

        And itd be worth every penny

        • ryan

          to some fans

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            Give me one legit baseball reason for not signing Manny Ramirez. *

            * I AM NOT ADVOCATING TO JUST SIGN MANNY WITHOUT THINKING. I’M JUST SAYING THAT YOU CANNOT DENY HIS ABILITY AS A PLAYER

            • ryan

              cuz we have a million DH corner outfield types it doesn’t make much baseball sense at all really … besides his hitting …there’s no position for him ..there’s an abundance of corner outfield types so to fill the roster up with these players would limit flexablility as far as covering the infield especially SS and 2B base if jeter or cano need a rest or have an injury

              Swisher 1b corner outfield
              Matsui DH
              Damon LF DH

              that’s pretty stiff and now you have many who isn’t good at fielding and would complete a horrible outfield group of manny damon and nady if you plan on using a 13 million a yr player named matsui.

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

                Well that’s a good argument, but allow me to retort.

                His defense may be lacking in CF (CHONE projects him at -2 in center), but Damon could play a passable CF, allowing Manny to play LF and keeping Matsui at DH. And, when Matsui’s knees start acting up, you can slot Damon back into left, have Manny DH for the day, and put Gardner (projected at +5 in CF by CHONE) in center.

                Also, a lineup including all four of Manny/Damon/Nady/Matsui would score about 925 runs over the course of the season (research done: http://actyankee.blogspot.com/.....tions.html).

                So, yeah, there are reasons not to bring in Manny (again, I think he’s a 3rd offensive FA option in my mind), but there are also a ton of good reasons.

  • Lloyd Johnson

    Does MATT remember when Manny refused to play, for several games, in Boston? And now he wants that Clubhouse Cancer in PinStripes? Sorry Matt, You don’t make any sense. And How about that comment that Abreu has an average ARM? The guy has a Rocket Arm. These Comments do make for some humorous thoughts at best. How about the guy that wants Adam Dunn as a replacement for Abreu? Just another Joke? I’ll Bet MATT thinks SWISHER will Hit .300, ha,ha. Keep on Dreaming Matt…….

    • Jack

      I like you. Will you be my friend?

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Nope, I don’t think Swisher will hit .300. He’ll probably hit about…..250-.260. But he’ll also put up an OBP of .350-.380, which is, well, fantastic, and more indicative of a good player than a batting average.

      I didn’t say anything about Abreu’s arm. His arm is his only redeeming defensive quality, but it doesn’t do ANYTHING to offset his awful defense all around.

      Manny played more games in his last month in Boston than David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and JD Drew. No one’s calling those dudes quitters. And, even when he was a “quitter” he put up numbers that were untouchable.

      And, clearly, you haven’t read anything I’ve said. I don’t think Manny should be the primary option for the Yankees. I think it should be Tex, then Dunn, then Manny.

      You know what offsets a “clubhouse cancer” mentality? Winning, which is probalby what the Yankees would do a lot of if Manny was on their team. The same would happen with Tex and Dunn, too.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob Abruzzese

    It doesn’t make sense to get Abreu. The Yankees have a LFer a RFer and a DH. He’s not going to platoon or come off the bench so there is no room for him. The reason people suggest Manny is because then it’s worth it to move Damon to center because of the extra offense he brings. A three year deal isn’t that big a deal because both Damon and Matsui are free agents after this season.

  • http://yahoo jad

    If I were a Red Sox player, I would refuse to play for them too. Just another Reason to love Mannny aside from the fact that he is the best clutch hitter and 2 strike hitter on the planet and maybe the universe. He must Dh however with Baldelli/Gardner in Center, Damon in Left, with Orlando Hudson playing 2nd base and Kemp at 1b. Cano must go! Melky full year in AAA and if great can be traded or utilized. Matsui with much regret either spots off the bench or gets traded for somebody’s best defensive SS prospect. We will need that next!!! You now have defense, Hudson/Kemp right side of infield, Baldelli CF, Damon in left. With the pitching we have and improved defense and speed, we are golden.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      First of all….I don’t think Baldelli could play CF. He’s also projected to be -9 by CHONE on defense in CF so that would just be silly.

      Second, Cano must not go. Young, relatively cheap, poised for a bounce back year, the list goes on. And, he alone wouldn’t get Kemp. And, if we got Kemp, why would we stick him at first when we just traded for Swisher?

      So, yeah, nothing you said makes sense.

      • Sciorsci

        Relatively cheap? Not for his 2008 production.

  • ortforshort

    I like Abreu. Even tho’ he’s declined a bit, he’s still a better ballplayer than the other possibilities on the team and as free agents. He’s been a solid number three hitter, he’s decent defensively and still runs reasonably well. I don’t think that the Yankees can afford to go into next season with only two decent corner outfielders in Nady and Matsui, particularly when Matsui’s legs are such a question mark. Abreu is a better player than Matsui and should start in right with Nady and Matsui platooning in left. You can also give Nady starts in right. I don’t like Swisher at all and its a good bet that he won’t even last out the season in New York. Its hard to understand how anyone could think that Swisher could come close to Abreu’s numbers this year wherever they end up, let alone think that he’ll outhit Abreu – its nuts. As far as free agents coming in – I don’t see where Burrell or Dye would be an improvement over Abreu and you won’t save any money with them. I don’t like Adam Dunn at all. He has power and draws walks. However, he doesn’t make contact enough, strikes out way too much, doesn’t drive the ball into the gaps well (his power is fly ball home runs), isn’t fast and is a big clunky one dimensional type of player. Maybe the Yankees can pick up a decent young outfielder by trading some of their pitching prospects – someone who can field, run, hit decently and with some power. If they can’t trade for someone like that, I’d re-sign Abreu.

  • ryan

    Swisher is gonna be a superior upgrade at 1B regardless of his hitting. That being said we got a guy who will hit for power and not for average al la jason Giambi minus some pop. No problem with swisher if he can get his OBP back up. Matsui I think, If kept healthy and out of LF , will have a sold year for the yanks and provid a Left handed weapon badly need in 09. I believe the key to matsui’s success this year will be if he stays a DH all year and stays far away from the outfield ( At this point he’s just a liability out there and will hurt himself and the team)

  • ortforshort

    I’m not sure where this incredible optimism comes about Swisher. Two teams have happily unloaded him the last two years and the Yankees are the schmucks holding the back right now. On top of that, I think that the reason that the Yankees have not gone after Teixeira is that Cashman actually thinks he’s snookered the White Sox out of this gem. This will probably go down as one of Cashman’s worst mistakes as Swisher has no-hit him self out of the major leagues within the next couple of years while Teixeira is spending next decade winning MVP’s for Boston.