From the beginning of the off-season we knew that Bobby Abreu’s preference was to remain a Yankee. That was not the team’s preference, though. The acquisitions of Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira essentially spell the end of any reunion talks, giving Abreu even less leverage in a free agent market saturated with corner outfielders. That three-year, $48 million pipe-dream he was seeking earlier this winter? Gone, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (h/t MLBTR). Instead, he’ll seek a deal more in line with Raul Ibanez and Milton Bradley.
Sadly to say, I don’t think any teams are going to bite even at that price. There are just too many teams that can’t afford him at that price. The Angels could, but why would they pay $30 million for Abreu when there don’t seem to be any other offers? A week ago Chico Harlan of the Washington Post quoted an executive who thought Adam Dunn “will get a max of $5 million per year.” I’m surprised the same wasn’t said about Bobby Abreu.
This was just a bad time for Bobby to become a free agent. It’s not only the market in general. It’s hitting free agency at the same time as five other corner outfielders. It’s the fact that he’s 35 years old and has seen a diminished OBP and walk rate over the past two years. It’s the recent and prominent criticisms of his defense. It’s all come together at once and it’s working against Bobby getting anything more than a one-year deal.
Before long Bobby will find a new home, and it will probably be a one-year layover until he has to do this all over again next off-season. Maybe then he’ll find a few takers at a price more in line with how he values himself. Seeing as he’ll be another year older, I don’t think that will be the case.