In the fourth inning of the Yankees-Twins game on June 1, Bobby Abreu lined a ball off Nathan Blackburn’s face. Blackburn left the game but ended up being OK. Since then, however, Bobby Abreu has struggled. He was 0 for 1in his final at-bat of the day, and since June 2, he’s hitting .189/.241/.284 over 79 plate appearances. He’s struck out just nine times. So perhaps he’s just been unlucky. It’s scary to see a pitcher get knocked out by a ball, and it could be impacting the Yanks’ number three hitter.
Via PeteAbe comes the news that two more Yankees have lent their visages to Longball Cellars line of Charity Wines. Bobby Abreu and Jorge Posada are the latest two to have their faces immortalized in wine.
Abreu’s Finest is a 2006 Merlot from California. Money from the sale of this wines to the Police Athletic League, the charity of New York’s Finest. The Jorge Cabernet supports The Jorge Posada Foundation.
Also in this latest release is a Schilling Schardonnay. This is an over-the-hill bottle of wine that was once good but now just sits around pretending to be the be-all and end-all of baseball wines.
Is it just me, or has the first few days of Spring Training set the expectations for the Yankees rather high? Sure, many of us can see through the media spin on the events of the past week or so. But even at that point, we’re seeing players do things, rather than just saying them. It’s a careful balance that the Yankees have executed perfectly so far. And I have to say, it has me more excited about this season than I have been in any year I can remember — though I’m fairly certain I say that every year.
First, we heard about the pitchers who showed up early. Joba, Phil, and IPK in particular were there before they required to, which is always reassuring. We also heard about Shelley Duncan showing up to work on his first base skills with Tino Martinez. And, Cap’n Jetes was there early, too. But he resides in Tampa, so it only makes sense for him to be around.
Then we heard about Brian Bruney losing weight. Good news, for sure. If anything, it shows that he’s at least a bit motivated. It’s certainly better than him showing up in the same physical shape as last year, and spouting off lines about his determination to make the team. PeteAbe also noted that Mike Mussina checked in lighter, which spoke to his off-season conditioning. We also heard about Kyle Farnsworth being less bulky, but then it was revealed that he dealt with a rather nasty staph infection last month.
Well, actually, there’s no trouble. Just a cheesy reference to a 1963 song. In other news, Ed Price reports that the Yankees have decided to exercise the $16-million, one-year option they hold on Bob Kelly Abreu. The Yanks’ right fielder – whom they acquired in 2006 for a whole lotta nothing – will be 34 on Opening Day and, considering what else is out there, is a fine, fine choice for the 3 hole in the Yankee lineup.
In our younger and more vulnerable days, we were not too kind to Bobby Abreu. Now, despite our early trangressions, we did apologize to Mr. Abreu in June. Let’s take a look at where things ended up with the presumptive 2008 right fielder this year.
During today’s game, as he hustled down the line early on, Bobby Abreu beat out a potential double play ball to secure his 100th RBI of the season. Abreu would later walk to drive in run number 101 on the season, thus completing a remarkable turnaround. Abreu ended the season with a whopping 123 runs scored, 40 doubles, 16 HR, 101 RBI and a batting line of .283/.369/.445. While those rate stats aren’t in line with his career numbers, those are some impressive counting stats.
Now, let’s jump back in time a bit to see how Abreu got there. The journey makes his final number seem all the better. At the end of May in Toronto, Joe Torre opted to bench Bobby Abreu. The former All Star was hitting .228/.313/.289 and needed to refocus. Whatever happened that day sure did work. Over the next 106 games (not yet counting Sunday’s), Abreu hit at a pace even with his career line. He turned in a .312/.397/.525 line with 34 doubles, 14 home runs and 77 RBIs.
That’s some turn around. Not coincidentally, Abreu’s turnaround came with the Yankees’ turnaround. It’s really that simple. When Abreu hits, pitchers have to face Jeter-Abreu-Rodriguez in the heart of a fearsome order. There’s no letting up, and Abreu, in effect, put up MVP numbers for the reason of the season. Furthermore, had Abreu avoided his early season slump, I bet the Yanks would have won the division.
To bolster that claim, let’s see what Abreu’s final line would have looked yet if we take those stellar 106 games and extend them over 162. He would have hit .312/.397/.525, significantly higher than his final 2007 numbers. He could have ended the year with 21 HR, 117 RBI (!) and 52 doubles. His numbers through 106 games also would have put him on pace to score 137 runs. If that’s not an MVP candidate, I don’t know what is.
With those extra runs and extra hitting, the Yanks would have been able to win two games — any two games really — during their 21-29 stretch. We can blame the Devil Rays all we want, but the truth is that the Yankees did themselves in with a slow start, injuries and poor pitching.
Now, let’s jump ahead to this week. On Thursday, the numbers are all reset to 0 — or is that .000/.000/.000? When Johnny Damon digs in against C.C. Sabathia on Thursday, we’ll have to hope that Bobby Abreu can help lead the Yanks to 11 more victories this year. In May, I wouldn’t have believed it, but after the last 107 games, I think he can.
To exercise or not to exercise. That is the Yankees’ question. And with regards to Bobby Abreu, it looks like the Yanks are going to exercise.
Bobby Abreu has had one roller coaster ride of a season. One of the main culprits behind the Yankees’ early-season struggles, Abreu really turned it around this season to become a steady number three hitter in the Yanks’ potent lineup.
Through April and May, Abreu was awful. In over 200 plate appearances, he was hitting .228 with a measly .313 OBP and a wimpy .289 slugging percentage. He had 2 HR, 22 RBI and 42 strike outs, and we were writing him off left and right.
Well, one apology and three-and-a-half months later, Abreu has turned in one hell of a season. Since June 1, Abreu has around 400 plate appearances. He’s hit .320/.398/.548 in that span with 14 HR, 27 2B and 72 RBI. When Abreu broke out of his two-month slump, the Yanks started winning. His turnaround was just as responsible for the Yanks’ playoff push as his struggles were for their terrible start.
Now, comes the word on the street via MLB Trade Rumors that the Yanks plan on picking up Abreu’s 2008 option. As Tyler Kepner and Buster Olney both noted yesterday, it’s almost a definite certainty that Abreu will remain with the Yanks in 2008.
I personally like this move. The Yanks have recognized that the 2007-2008 free agent class of outfielders isn’t a particularly deep one. They see that Abreu’s .300/.400/.500 line from June 1 on is more indicative of his perfromance that his .200/.300/.300 line from April and May, and they know they would be hard-pressed to replace Abreu’s production. With Alex Rodriguez’s future in pinstripes fairly uncertain, keeping Abreu’s bat around is a must.
There’s a reason why Gary Sheffield has been on 7 teams in his borderline Hall of Fame career. This is it.
Just shut the fuck up already Sheff, no one’s listening, and no oneÂ gives a shit aboutÂ what you have to say.