How the Abreu contract affects the Yanks


Yesterday afternoon, word got out that Bobby Abreu had agreed to a contract extension with the Angels, signing on for two more years in Anaheim. After having to wait until damn near Spring Training to find a job last year, Abreu jumped all over the $19M the Halos offered him. The deal even includes a vesting option for 2012 worth $9M, when Abreu will be 38. I mentioned this yesterday, but in two years I’m sure we’ll be hearing about ways the Angels can prevent that option from vesting.

Anyway, the entire reason I brought this up is because it indirectly affects the Yankees. Now we have a blueprint for what a new contract for Johnny Damon might look like, something we didn’t have before. The similarities between the two players are obvious: both will be 36 on Opening Day 2010 yet have proven to be extremely durable, both are former All Stars with a strong pedigree within the game, and both are defensively challenged corner outfielders. Their offensive styles are different – Abreu is more of an on-base guy with gap power, Damon offers more over-the-fence power – but in the end they’re both ~.850 OPS and ~2.8 WAR players.

Bobby’s deal will pay him $9M annually, which is about as good of a deal as he could have expected. Despite all the talk about how he “transformed the Angels lineup,” Abreu simply was not going to pull in eight figures annually on the free agent market, and the same holds true for Johnny. It’s almost inconceivable that the Yankees would offer Damon arbitration even though he qualifies as a Type-A free agent, because the risk of him accepting a getting a raise over his current $13M salary is just too great, even if it’s just one year.

It’s no secret that the New Yankee Stadium somewhat helped resurrect Damon’s career in 2009. He set a new career high with a .207 IsoP, tied his career high with 24 homers, and posted the second best slugging percentage (.489) of his career. On the road he was Jorge Cantu (.284-.349-.446), but at home he was Jason Bay (.279-.382-.533). All that makes him more valuable to the Yankees than anyone else.

Timing certainly plays a huge part of it. A few weeks ago, the thought of even re-signing Damon seemed like madness because he was slumping so badly. Now, after some late inning World Series heroics, we wonder how the team could survive without him. But two guaranteed years? I can’t see how you can lock yourself into that kind of commitment. One year plus an option? Absolutely. But you’re asking for trouble, and reducing your flexibility for next year, by bringing him back for two.

As for the money, obviously $9M a year is nothing for the Yankees. It’s overpaying, but not by an absurd amount. If you could talk him down to $7M with some incentives, you’d obviously prefer that. The bottom line is that it would behoove the Yankees not to lock themselves a commitment with Damon as long as the Angels did with Abreu. Just don’t underestimate the power of Scott Boras.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. CountryClub says:

    I agree about not including a 2nd year for Damon. But he’s never going to accept a 1 yr deal with a team option for year 2.

    So it really seems like the choices are: Damon for 2 years or no Damon at all. I’m pretty sure I’d go with no Damon at all.

  2. AndrewYF says:

    I think they’ll offer him arbitration.

    If the Yankees really, really do not want Damon in Year 2, it’s worth it for them to take the risk that he’d net around $15 in arbitration. It’s likely Boras takes him to free agency, and in that case, the Yankees will get two very valuable first round draft picks.

    Boras will never, ever let Damon accept arbitration. Not after the year he had, and the playoff heroics.

    • Mike bk says:

      no way they risk 15 mil for 1 year and no way if they do with the market as is that damon declines it.

      • Camilo Gerardo - your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense says:

        last sentence of the post: Don’t underestimate the power of Scott Boras.

  3. The Evil Empire says:

    Am i the only one who prefers a yankee roster with Damon or Matsui in it?

    I love them but we need to get young, i know it’s a cliche-esque type comment but i really believe this.

    • The Evil Empire says:

      Of course that’s IF there’s no better option available.

      What are the other options via trade or FA market? Something practical and realistic.

      • CountryClub says:

        I’d like to have 1 of them back. I think matsui would be more likely to take a 1 year deal. And I think he’ll stay healthy as long as they keep him out of the field. They could sit him once a week to keep him healthy and to give Jorge or Arod a half day off on top of the full days off they’ll both be getting.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

          Bring them both back on 1 and 1 contracts.

        • Mikem says:

          Let’s not forget that the Yankees make money off the Hideki Matsui relationship oversees in Japan. The cost benefit to retain him makes fiscal sense.

        • whizkid says:

          Sign Matsui to what Andy signed this year.. 1 year at $5 M + incentives.. At $5 M, the goods sales and Japanese sponsorships/ads make it +ve cash for the Yankees.. He can always come back to Japan for Johjima numbers (he just signed 4yr $20 M) to kill time before retirement.. I don`t think he`d go to the Royals/Pirates for an extra year/cash, which I suspect isn`t necessarily the case with Damon/Boras.

      • Tampa Yankee says:

        I’d go 1/$9 with a mutual option maybe but I don’t see that being enough.

        One thing that might make this off season interesting is if Olney is right that a bunch of players will become available simply because teams can’t afford them (see Hermida, Jeremy) or don’t want to pay them what they are owed (see Dye, Jermaine). This offseason could see a lot more action because of this and you’d figure it’d aid the big market clubs.

        Are there any buy-low candidates (like Swish last offseason) the Yanks could target?

  4. Guest says:

    May I just say its wonderful that Mike wasted no time in getting to the hot stove stuff. The baseball stuff never stops at RAB.

  5. Free Mike Vick says:

    1 year…pop in an easy vesting option and lets call it a day. and if Damon says 2 guaranteed is what he needs…so be it. Give him 2 years.

    and if you don’t want Damon….then who do you suggest hits leadoff or #2 next year?? (and don’t give me this figgins crap…the guy hasn’t played regular OF in like 3 years)

  6. Jake H says:

    I would offer him a 2 year deal with a team option not a player option.

  7. Matcohen says:

    “As for the money, obviously $9M a year is nothing for the Yankees.”

    Assuming we re-sign Pettite for $12 million, the payroll will be around $190 million without Wang, Damon or Matsui.

    It is sounding like the Yanks want to keep things in the $200 million range. So statements like these are quite likely inaccurate.

    Cash may have very little money to play with this offseason.

    • Kevin M. says:

      Your numbers are just wrong. Would be around $178 million with those 2 contracts.

      Between Damon, Matsui, Nady, Wang and Molina we have about $40 million coming off the books.

      • Matcohen says:

        Kevin M There are a lot of raises – it’s not all just decreases.

        Rodriguez, Alex 33,000,000
        Jeter, Derek 22,600,000
        Teixeira, Mark 20,625,000
        Posada, Jorge 13,100,000
        Damon, Johnny 0
        Matsui, Hideki 0
        Cano, Robinson 9,000,000
        Swisher, Nick 6,850,000
        Cabrera, Melky 2,500,000
        Gardner, Brett 450,000
        Burnett, A.J. 16,500,000
        Sabathia, CC 24,259,000
        Pettitte, Andy 12,500,000
        Chamberlain, Joba 500,000
        Hughes, Phil 450,000
        Rivera, Mariano 15,000,000
        Marte, Damaso 4,000,000
        Aceves, Alfredo 450,000
        Robertson, David 450,000
        Bruney, Brian 1,750,000
        Coke, Phil 450,000
        Wang, Chien-Ming 0
        Kennedy, Ian 0
        Mitre, Sergio 1,250,000
        Gaudin, Chad 0
        Melancon, Mark 450,000
        Albaladejo, Jonathan 0
        Miranda, Juan 525,000
        Hinske, Eric 0
        Ransom, Cody 0
        Cervelli, Francisco 450,000
        Pena, Ramiro 400,000
        Brackman, Andrew 837,500

      • Matcohen says:

        Here are the raises (data Cot’s and guesstimates for arb players)
        Jeter, Derek 1,000,000
        Swisher, Nick 1,450,000
        Cabrera, Melky 1,100,000
        Sabathia, CC 8,973,286
        Bruney, Brian 500,000

  8. Muel says:

    Now that Brew crew got themselves gomez, why not just sign cameron and stick him in center or left?

  9. Thomas says:

    On, the commentators were saying they think he will get 4 years like Posada. I was like these guys are completely nuts; no way Damon gets 4 years.

  10. Brooklyn Ed says:

    lets call up the Royals to see what it takes to get Josh Fields?

  11. steve s says:

    As good a guy as Damon is and as great a moment as he had in Game 4 he seems to be one of those guys that you are better off getting rid of a year early than a year late. His ability to be even a servicable outfielder is almost gone, his legs are going and the HR’s that just went over the wall this year will be caught next year. Yanks need to get younger, more athletic and have better outfield defense. On the other hand the need to have a rotating DH is way overblown. Sign Matsui to a 2 year deal at Abreu numbers and throw the dice with a Melky/Gardener/Austin Jackson mix in left and center and then go after Carl Crawford in 2010.

    • steve s says:

      Meant 2011 for Crawford when he is a free agent.

    • JonG says:

      Austin Jackson is likely another year away, and if so, you do not want Melky and Gardner both starting everyday.

      • Mac says:

        Yep, might win another world series with Melky in CF – wouldn’t want that… I’d rather have him and Gardner there than Cameron with 160K’s

        • Mac says:

          My bad, I wouldn’t want GGBG and Melk in the OF everday either, but I definitely don’t want Cammy at any price.

          If Damon doesn’t resign, I’d go with Figgins (bad ALCS and all), bat him second and keep Melk as the primary CFer.

          Figgins should be able to move Jeter along and won’t hit into DP’s – Could bat him leadoff, but Jeter had such a great year in the leadoff spot.

          Figgy can play most of the positions as well as backup to the backup catcher – he’d be a nice weapon to have although I think Damon’s offense would be missed in spots.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      AJax is not ready yet IMO. He could use another year at AAA. Getting younger would be great but there’s no one great that could replace Damon in the FA market besides like Cameron if his option is declined and even then he’s old. Though I have no idea who the Yanks could trade for.

      • TheLastClown says:

        Cameron for next year is my pick.

        The Brew Crew’s got Gomez now, so they don’t need him. It’ll take a one year deal, and then next offseason go for Crawford.

      • Matcohen says:

        No need to replace Damon with a FA. Gardner would do fine in center with Melky in right and Swisher in left. You’d drop a bit offensively and make it up in defense.

        • dalelama says:

          Yeah no one takes a third strike as well as Brett Gardner.

          • Mac says:

            Don’t forget not being able to steal a base in a big game, or bunt or turning the wrong way on a fly ball or playing a double into a triple.

            Somewhere I’m sure Jason Tyner is telling his friends how much better he was than Grit…

      • Matcohen says:

        And Jackson struck out way too much in AAA last year. He likely got lucky with his BABIP. He doesn’t hit for power. The jury is still out on him and he should play at AAA next year.

  12. GG says:

    Bringing Matsui back should be priority regardless of his inability to play in the field….dude rakes, and was the best protection we had for Alex all year

    • jsbrendog says:

      yeah i am more than comfortable with 120-140 games out of matsui in the dh spot next year. that leaves games for joe to “rest the veterans” and gives you a solid dh.

      • Doug says:

        what about posada and the 75+ games he doesn’t start

        • Kevin M. says:

          Same shit everyone said for this year. He’ll catch 110+ games like he always does and sit the bench for most of the rest.

      • Free Mike Vick says:

        i have got to have somewhere to put posada…cause there is no way in hell he is starting 140 games at catcher next season…120 is too much for me. i look at 100 games being a reasonable amount.

        i’m sorry but 20 games free DH is not enough in my view. i need more games. thats why i have a hard time with matsui. if matsui could play the OF it would be great. You can DH him and then when you want to put a vet in the DH spot..he can go out to LF. but the fact he can’t do that is a bummer for me.

        Damon on the other hand could DH..and play the OF. thats a plus.

  13. Mr. Exceptional says:

    I’m in agreement on the rotating DH being overblown.

    If you look at the list of free agents, it’s hard to find the production both Matsui and Damon provided.

    I’m really interested to see their demands.

  14. larryf says:

    Agree with keeping Matsui. His homers easily clear the fence and don’t forget the opposite field shot in Philly and the deep center shot at the Stadium (against the Twins I think). Damon can’t reach either of those two areas. I have been disappointed at Gardner’s slow development at the plate. He takes too many strikes and hits flat footed. If KLong can help him enough, it might be worth a $hot to lead him off or bat him second for 6 weeks and see what he can do everyday. We can pick up someone during the season if he’s a bust or bring up AJ if he’s ready. Is Nady no longer a consideration???

  15. jsbrendog says:

    barring anything catastrophically bad/awesome happening this offseason i’d be mroe than fine rolling with


    as a batting order and a team. obv you’d like to have a better left fielder but if not i am fine with melky in right and cameron in cf for one yr. if they bring back one of matsui/damon i think it should be matsui

  16. Dillon says:

    Damon for 2 years. Lackey for 4-5 and we have best 1-2 in baseball. Joba and Phil are starters. Maybe one starts in AAA until needed. Both could use AAA time considering their inconsistency as starters. THATS IT for offseason moves.

    Next year we go after Crawford, Mauer, and Doc Halladay.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Lackey, Crawford, Mauer, Halladay added with A-Rod, Jeter, Teix, AJ and CC? I don’t see that happening at all.

      Lackey is not needed. He’d be nice but the Yanks need to cough up AJ money again. So that I doubt. Someone cheap would be nice. Pettitte should come back instead. And no they don’t need AAA time since they’ll probably dominate and learn nothing. Inconsistency is common. Give them time.

      Crawford I agree with.

      Mauer is staying with the Twins hopefully. He’ll also be nice to get but honestly that’s another 100M + contract. The Yankees don’t have a forest of money least to my knowledge. And hopefully one of Montero, Romine, Sanchez, and JR Murphy can become good catchers.

      Halladay will also be expensive and he’ll decline. It’s the thing the Yanks have done in recent years past. Buy overpriced and old starters. Sure it’s Doc Halladay but I think they could pass.

      Now replace Halladay with Felix and I’ll agree. He’ll be worth every penny.

  17. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    I think Cashman has to offer him arbitration. When was the last time Boras let a client accept arb?

    The risk of having Damon walk and receive nothing exceeds the risk of him accepting arbitration and earning ~ $15 mil.

  18. Justin R. says:

    Let Damon walk. Keep Matsui for a year to DH. Posada will be starting at C for at least next year anyway and that whole rotating DH thing just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

    Sign Cameron to play CF or LF (Melky manning the other spot) for a year until AJax is ready.

    I would rather have Matsui/Cameron over Damon/Rotating DH Spot.

    Move Cano to the 2 hole. He gets on base and rakes but seems to struggle a bit with RISP. I think that will level out, but he seems like he may be a better fit at the top of the order.

  19. Big Rich says:

    Melky starting every game in LF?? i mean really folks.

    just give damon the 2 years. the world is not going to crumble in 2011 with damon on the yankees.

  20. dc1874 says:

    Yanks are in a position of power in dealing with free agents once again. They are THE team to play for…thats why unless they dont want to really resign Damon/Matsui…they WILL take a fair offer if presented.

  21. Reggie C. says:

    Damon’s OF viability gives him an edge over Matsui. Replace Damon with Cameron in LF, and replace Matsui with Damon as DH. Damon’s bat is still above average (near All-Star), but Cameron represents a defensive upgrade. Melky stays a 4th OF.

    On those days that Arod DHs, the Yanks can field Damon, Cameron, Swish. If Cameron needs a respite, play Melky.

  22. Free Mike Vick says:

    having a free DH spot could do wonders for this team as well.

    i would rather not go down the jorge posada road…but needless to say his defensive skills have…ummm…regressed (no surpirse really..he was never a great catcher and now father time is getting to him.) But posada can still hit the ball. thats for damn sure.

    so it allows you to give posada a nice number of ABs at DH…mix in a johnny damon…jeter is no young lad himself. he can enjoy half days off. A-rod the same.

    a smaller move would be to get a xavier nady and/or mike cameron to play some OF. Cameron in CF. Nady can spell Damon and Swisher and get a healthy number of ABs.

    and if you really want the big hitter to replace matsui…then go out and sign a bay or holliday and plop them in LF.

  23. Grover says:

    How about a sizable discount on Haliday for taking on the worst contract in baseball named Vernon Wells and sticking him in left? I know it seems unlikely but what a coup.

    Figgins in left might be possible as he led the league in walks, bats from both sides of the plate, steals bases and is four years younger than Damon and Matsui. I know he lacks power and he has not played the outfield for a while but Damon is Roy White late in his career reincarnate.

    As for the dh I agree with Francessa and rotating the older players and picking up a couple of rentals in July to share duties during the playoffs. Duncan or Miranda could take the spot when Posada, Damon?, Arod, Swisher and Jeter are in the field?

    I’d like to see

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Figgins hasn’t played left in like 2 years or something. He might not even want to play there! So I don’t know if Chone is a good option.

      And they don’t need to having a resetting DH everyday, it hurts the offense since you have to put in a lesser offensive player when you want to do it.

  24. Am I the only Kevin? says:

    The idea above of bringing in Cameron and re-signing Damon to a short contract definitely sounds interesting. Provides some flexibility, assuming Damon’s defense doesn’t regress to Matsui’s level.

    I still think, however, based purely on hitting that Matsui will have better production over the next two.

  25. sabes says:

    You’ll all be loving on Cameron until he starts striking out at a 160K/season clip.

  26. Matcohen says:

    Swapping Damon for Melky in left and getting Gardner in center would be a wash because the offensive drop from Damon to Gardner would be roughly balanced by replacing a defensive liability (Damon) with a plus defender in center (Gardner).

    I think that Damon will want at least 2 years based on Abreau’s deal. I think that’s a bad deal for the Yanks. Matsui will take a year deal, I think.

    In 2010, Montero will be ready to split catcher and DH with Posada so you don’t need a DH. Montero could DH now and not embarrass himself – he needs another year in AAA to learn to catch.

    If the Yanks don’t have a lot of cash to play with (and it looks like they don’t if you actually look at the numbers) they may do a 1 year for a DH, get a bench 4th OF and that’s it.

    Too bad – I wish that they could get Lackey. Grade A clutch starting pitchers like him don’t come along that often.

  27. Johnny says:


    1. resign neither (potentially pursue Holliday)
    2. resign Matsui
    3. resign Damon
    4. resign both (pursue no major free agents)

    DO IT!

  28. Joseph M says:

    The Angels were nuts giving Abreu that kind of deal. I was glad to see him go and from the way I remember it he didn’t have many defenders posting on this blog. I think there was always a sense that he was less than the sum of his very good numbers. That being said the decision really comes down to Damon or Matsui you just can’t keep both. Damon would appear to have more value (he can hit and he can play left field a little). I would make a two year offer in tne neighborhood of 17 million and see if he would go for it. If he didn’t, I would try to make a deal with Matsui in the same neighborhood.

    • Matcohen says:

      Abreau giveth (offense)
      and Abreau taketh away (defense)

      Stupid deal for a guy that age.

      As smart as the Angels supposedly are, they do a bunch of dumb things (Gary Matthews).

  29. Camilo Gerardo - your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense says:

    offer arby to X and Damon, then see what happens and what FA is like

  30. Grover says:

    Sign neither and send Kei Igawa to Toronto for Haliday and Wells. The DH spot will be open as it should with an older team. There are enough aging vet dh free agents to sign one right and left to pinch hit and cover the spot if required. Patience will be the mantra this year as money will be tighter and last year’s Abreu will be the norm. We’ll hear talk of collusion for certain but patience will be rewarded.

    Mitre or Gaudin


  31. [...] the second year is guaranteed. Bobby Abreu’s recent 2-year $19 million deal with the Angels appears to be a comparable contract (he also has a $9 million option—or $1 million buyout—for 2012 that could vest with 550 [...]

  32. [...] me from two-and-a-half weeks ago: Yesterday afternoon, word got out that Bobby Abreu had agreed to a contract extension with the [...]

  33. [...] $19M contract with the Angels as the baseline for Johnny Damon’s deal. Mike over at RAB considered this market influence a few weeks ago. In case you’re wondering, Damon was worth 3 WAR in 2009, [...]

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