When the free agent frenzy begins, Bobby Abreu will be front and center among the Yankee free agents. He’s done very well in New York, and he’s coming off a 20-20 season in which he yet again drove in 100 runs and hit .296/.371/.471. It is not easy to replace a player who puts up Bobby Abreu-like numbers.
But Bobby Abreu is no spring chicken. He’ll turn 35 prior to Opening Day and doesn’t fit the Yanks’ purported youth movement. The Yanks, however, still have to field a team of nine viable starters, and in that regard, a short-term solution involving Bobby Abreu wouldn’t be bad. It certainly would be a better and safer move than allowing Xavier Nady to claim the right field job uncontested.
Abreu, however, has different plans in mind. He, according to Mark Feinsand, wants a three-year deal from the Yanks.
Abreu has said several times that he would like to remain with the Yankees, having enjoyed his 2-1/2-year stint in pinstripes. But the 34-year-old also is seeking at least a three year-contract, leading most baseball insiders to believe the outfielder will wind up in a new uniform this winter.
According to a source, Abreu has been upset by some recent media reports and speculation suggesting that his days in the Bronx are over. Abreu is vacationing with his family in the Bahamas and is expected to return to the area this weekend, although his situation won’t be settled until next month at the earliest, as he figures to test the free agent market.
GM Brian Cashman said he has not discussed any contract issues with Abreu or his representatives, so he wasn’t in a position to say how many years Abreu is seeking. But Cashman…stressed that he is “a big fan” of the outfielder. “I thought he was a welcome addition,” Cashman said. “He solidified right field, was an offensive force and has been a steady performer. He’s a professional, and his demeanor is outstanding. He’s done a great job.”
There are a few things going on here. First, this is the standard “negotiate through the media” technique. Abreu’s reps — or whoever this anonymous source is — now claim he wants “at least” a three-year contract, but 35-year-old Bobby Abreu would probably not get any more than three years on the open market.
The Yankees meanwhile have something of the upper hand here. They like Abreu, but the team also seems content to let him walk. They also hold the arbitration trump card. The Yanks could offer him arbitration and then re-sign him for a year. They can also offer him arbitration, let him walk and claim a draft pick. It’s a win-win for the team.
I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Abreu. I know his defense isn’t all that, but replacing his bat would not be an easy task. Xavier Nady had a terrible September after his red-hot August, and his career line of .280/.335/.458 is a far, far cry from Abreu’s .300/.400/.500 line. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two split the difference, and the Yanks bring Abreu for two years. If they let Bobby go, I wouldn’t be too shocked either if Manny Ramirez then ended up pinstripes.
Ah, the machinations of the off-season.
What a perfect little article for a boring baseball Saturday (until later, of course). The Daily News’s Anthony McCarron catches up with Kevin Maas, he of the record-breaking home run pace. I know I have that Topps Record Breaker card sitting around somewhere. Anyway, Maas is back at home in California, raising a son and daughter by himself, working at Charles Schwabb. He talks to McCarron about life during and after baseball, including the Maas top girls in right field and his being in attendance for Aaron Boone’s home run. Oh, and he mentions that he never did steroids. · (1) ·
Allow me to interrupt coverage of the world’s most boring Division Series playoff round to opine for a minute on attendance. Maury Brown over at the Biz of Baseball analyzing the 2008 attendance numbers, and the findings, at least to me, are interesting.
The 2008 Major League Baseball regular season is the second highest attendance mark in history, drawing 78,624,324, falling just 1.14 percent below last year’s record of 79,502,524 in paid attendance, a sign that baseball’s popularity remains exceptionally strong. While the figure is the second best ever, forecasts at the beginning of the season were for a total attendance in excess of 80 million. Still, the strong attendance figure comes at a time when the economy has been hit exceptionally hard, gas prices impacted travel, and the weather wreaked havoc at open-air stadiums, lowering walk-up ticket purchases…
Next season, MLB will most likely not reach this year’s attendance figure. With both the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets’ Citi Field coming online with reduced seating capacities than the outgoing facilities, attendance for the two strongest attended teams will drop.
Still, MLB has always focused on revenues, and next year should be no exception. While attendance dropped sllightly this year, revenues were up from $6.075 billion to $6.5 billion this year. Even with the expected 2009 decrease in attendance, and concerns about the economy prevailing into next year, expect revenues to remain flat or slightly above this year’s figure.
It’s remarkable that baseball has managed to sustain such lofty attendance numbers over the last few seasons. With the economy in the tank, people are seemingly finding solace in the 81-game home schedule.
What’s interesting about this year’s attendance numbers, as Brown notes, is that they mostly follow team success. While the two Florida teams both enjoyed good seasons, they were the outliers, drawing relatively fewer fans than other good teams. But in general, the teams that won drew more fans that the teams that didn’t win.
No where was this more evident than in Washington, DC. While the Nationals moved into a new stadium — once a guarantee of lofty attendance figures — the team lost 102 games. They enjoyed an attendance increase over their final 2007 numbers at the RFK Stadium pit, but they had the smallest home attendance for a team in a new ballpark since Camden Yards ushered in a Golden Age of stadiums. People just don’t want to see bad teams play.
Next year, attendance numbers are bound to go down. Neither the Yankees nor the Mets can actually meet their 2008 attendance numbers. The Yanks will probably draw around 4.238 million fans next year, which would be capacity for the new stadium and a few thousand fewer than this year’s totals. The Mets, on the other hand, decided to cut the size of their new stadium by over 12,000 seats. The most the Mets can draw is 3.645 million fans. Why a team in a metropolitan area the size of New York’s would opt to cut capacity by so much is well beyond me.
In the end, though, baseball is alive and well. Fans are flocking to games, and no one is predicting the demise of our National Pastime.
HWB Waikiki (3-1 win over North Shore)
Damon Sublett: 1 for 3, 1 RBI, 2 K – 5 RBI in 3 games since returning from injury
Andrew Brackman: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 6-4 GB/FB – 42 of 63 pitches were strikes (66.7%) … threw first pitch strikes to 13 of the 18 batters he faced … but he’s already a bust, so why do I bother
The Arizona Fall League starts on Monday. Most of the various Caribbean winter leagues start their seasons in a week, except for the Puerto Rican League, which starts in November. So far the only Caribbean team to post its roster is the Caracas Lions of the Venezuelan Winter League. No Yankees on that squad; it’s your typical mix of prospects and journeyman.
The other night I decided upon the catch-22 of playoff baseball: I dislike the Red Sox. So I can’t root for them. As the night wore on, I couldn’t decide, however, which team I disliked more: Do I dislike the Angels because they can’t beat the Red Sox more than I dislike the Red Sox? In the end, probably not, but it sure would be nice for the Angels to win a game.
The last time the Angels defeated the Red Sox in the postseason was on October 11, 1986 when they took a 3-1 Championship Series lead. They’ve now lost a whopping 10 in a row in October to the Red Sox.
Red Sox Lineup
Santana P – It’s interesting to see the Angels turn to Santana at home. He was 5-5 with a 4.02 ERA in Anaheim and 11-2 with a 3.02 ERA on the road
First pitch is set for 9:37 p.m.
These aren’t your grandpa’s Devil Rays anymore. There’s something special brewin’ on Florida’s left coast.
1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
2. Nick Swisher, LF
3. Jermaine Dye, RF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Alexei Ramirez, 2B
7. AJ Pierzynski, C
8. Juan Uribe, 3B
9. Brian Anderson, CF
- Mark Buehrle, SP (15-12, 3.79)
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. BJ Upton, CF
3. Carl Crawford, LF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Willy Aybar, 1B
6. Rocco Baldelli, DH
7. Dioner Navarro, C
8. Fernando Perez, RF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS
- Scott Kazmir, P (12-8, 3.49)
In an otherwise laughable column about the precarious state of the Yankees — does anyone really think the Dodgers would trade Matt Kemp for “the regressing Melky Cabrera and the unphenomenal phenom Ian Kennedy”? — Portfolio writer Franz Lidz drops something of a Mike Mussina bombshell on an unsuspecting fan base.
Relying an an anonymous official who works for one of the current playoff teams, Lidz reports:
Whether the New York Yankees resign Mike Mussina depends almost entirely on his wife, Jana.
The rejuvenated free agent—who, at 39, won 20 games for the first time in his 18-year career—wants to play next season in the new Yankee Stadium and possibly beyond, which would enable him to make a run at 300 career victories. (He’s 30 shy).
But Jana has been adamant that he retire to life on their spread in tiny Montoursville, Pennsylvania, where the family compound is a half-dozen Ruthian clouts from the road and Mike can walk into Elery W. Nau Hardware on Broad Street without having to sign an autograph.
This nugget seems to contradict everything we’ve heard about Moose’s talks about hanging it up. The beat writers all seem to think Moose wants to go out on his own terms and of his own volition. If his wife is involved in the decision — and that’s certainly not an unreasonable or unacceptable proposition — the picture changes a bit.
The Yankees could really use Mike Mussina’s presence in 2009 both on the field and in the clubhouse. If this report is true and accurate, perhaps they can work out a Roger Clemens-type agreement with Mussina that would allow him some leeway on days during which he isn’t scheduled to pitch. For what it’s worth, this injects a new element into an issue I had thought rested on the shoulders of Moose and only Moose.
Last year, in attempting to nab a press pass to see Phil Hughes pitch for the Trenton Thunder, I encountered Bill Cook, the team’s director of public relations. I have to say, the man went above and beyond the call of duty by reserving me a seat in the press box. Today, Hugging Harold Reynolds sits down with Cook to discuss his experience working in sports. There are some good stories in there, including one in which the Thunder drew more fans to Waterfront Park while the team was away than the home team did. Check it out, and leave HHR some love. No, not that kind of love. · (0) ·
HWB Waikiki (11-2 in over West Oahu) you know, just typing the names of these teams makes me jealous … can you imagine being so lucky that you play baseball for a living AND get to play in paradise?
Damon Sublett: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB – like he never missed a game, eh?
Austin Romine: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB – gunned down a runner trying to steal second
Andrew Brackman takes the mound for his second start tonight at 7pm local time, 1am EDT. Remember that site that supposedly lets you watch/listen to these games? Turns out that was for the 2007 season. No wonder it didn’t work, my bad yo.
The Arizona Fall League starts Monday. Here’s the Javelinas’ roster.