Tag: Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu Announces Retirement After 18-Year MLB Career

After quietly returning to the big leagues in 2014 after a one-year hiatus, New York Mets outfielder Bobby Abreu has officially called it a career.  

According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Abreu made the announcement Friday with a simple, quiet message:

You could be forgiven if you forgot Abreu was still a Major League Baseball player. He has only appeared in 76 games for the Mets this season, posting a .246/.338/.338 line with 10 extra-base hits in 130 at-bats. That doesn’t take away from the incredible talent he was at his peak. 

Paul Boye of Crashburn Alley and ESPN tweeted this stat about Abreu’s career numbers that puts him in some very elite company:

Joe Morgan and Rickey Henderson are Hall of Famers while Barry Bonds should be but probably won’t get in for obvious reasons. You likely won’t hear much about Abreu when he becomes a candidate for Cooperstown in five years.

The overall numbers are fantastic, and he had some terrific individual seasons, including three consecutive years (1998-2000) with more than six FanGraphs wins above replacement, but he was more of a compiler than someone who was ever in the conversation as best player in the game. 

Abreu also spent the bulk of his career in Philadelphia before the Phillies became a championship contender. He was traded to the Yankees in 2006 and left there to sign with the Los Angeles Angels after the 2008 season, one year before the Yankees would win their most recent World Series. 

For someone who was never the best player in baseball and never finished higher than 12th in MVP voting, Abreu was an incredible hitter. His .395 career on-base percentage is 78th all time, ahead of Gary Sheffield, Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew. 

That’s good company for a guy whose resume is likely to fall short of a Hall of Famer. 


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Mets’ Bobby Abreu Records 400th Career Stolen Base

New York Mets outfielder Bobby Abreu recorded his 400th career stolen base in last Friday’s 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, per the Mets’ official Twitter account

The 40-year-old outfielder, who was out of baseball in 2013, is just the 74th player in major league history to reach the 400-steal plateau. Prior to Friday, his most recent stolen base came Sept. 27, 2012 while he was playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers during what many believed to be his final season.

Known for his plate discipline more so than his speed, Abreu was a well-rounded offensive machine in his prime and has subsequently used his trademark batting eye to hang on for a few more seasons. Despite playing late into the decline phase of his career, the Venezuelan outfielder owns a tremendous lifetime .292/.396/.477 slash line.

Looking back on Abreu’s underrated career—spent with six different teams—his peak essentially lasted from 1998 to 2006. During that nine-year span, he posted an on-base percentage above .400 in eight seasons, with a batting average above .300 six separate times. What’s more, he recorded at least 20 steals and 20 homers in seven consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2005. 

In that aforementioned peak of 1998 to 2006, Abreu accumulated 48.9 wins above replacement (WAR), according to Baseball-Reference’s measure of the metric. While his average of 5.43 WAR per season over that time isn’t overwhelming, the stat includes defensive value, which has never been Abreu’s strength. In an era dominated by 40-homer sluggers, Abreu was one of the elite offensive players, despite never topping 31 long balls in a single season.


All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference unless otherwise noted.

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Bobby Abreu Making It Tough for Philadelphia Phillies to Cut Him

The phrase “age before beauty” can be applied to the decision that the Philadelphia Phillies will have to make on veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu. The former All-Star has an opt-out clause in his minor league contract that allows Abreu to be granted his release if he is not placed on the Phillies’ MLB roster by March 26.

Abreu spent nine of his 17 major league seasons with Philadelphia. Before sitting out last season, he spent time with the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.

Abreu, 39, hit .322 with three homers, 28 RBI and a .877 OPS in 50 games in the Venezuelan League this winter, which was a big reason why Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. wanted to take a look at him.

Early on in spring training, Abreu is hitting .133 in 21 plate appearances. A veteran with two hits this spring doesn’t look like a good option to have on the bench heading into 2014. However, Abreu still does one thing very well, which he’s done his entire career—he gets on base.

Abreu currently has five walks in those 21 plate appearances, giving him a .381 on-base percentage. The veteran outfielder is a .292 career hitter but is also the owner of a .396 career OBP, which ranks among the top 100 all time, according to Baseball Reference.

Philadelphia has struggled getting guys on base over the last couple of seasons, which is part of the reason the Phillies have struggled so much offensively. This is why Abreu made it past the team’s first cuts of the spring. Knowing this, manager Ryne Sandberg will be able to get more looks at Abreu as the spring progresses.

In fact, Abreu is making an impression on the Hall of Fame player, now manager.

“He’s having quality at-bats,” Sandberg said to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury. “He’s battling pitchers. He’s been a base runner quite often.”

Abreu is replicating on the field what Sandberg has been preaching since he was given the managerial job. Getting on base as well as running the bases effectively are important parts of the game. From day one, Sandberg preached this method.

Now Abreu, a proven veteran, is proving why Sandberg‘s message makes sense for the Phillies.

“Working counts and getting on base is a big part of the game,” he said in the same interview with CSN Philly. “I just try to put the ball in play and if they don’t throw me a strike, I don’t swing.”

So what should Phillies fans look for from Abreu until a decision needs to be made?

Expect him to go out and have quality at-bats. Be sure to not put an emphasis on the batting average. Instead, look at the amount of pitches he is seeing per at-bat. Look at his OBP, see if he still has a keen eye at the plate.

If Abreu can play acceptable defense and continue to have a consistent arm in the outfield, then the coaching staff will need to put Abreu on the MLB roster. He would likely be their go-to, left-handed bat off of the bench as well as a designated hitter during interleague play.

Abreu is making it tough for the Phillies to cut him, which is not a bad thing for a determined ballclub. 

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Bobby Abreu Agrees to Deal with Philadelphia Phillies

Veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu reportedly will return to the Philadelphia Phillies for the upcoming MLB season.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “El Comedulce,” who turns 40 years old in March, is headed back to the City of Brotherly Love, where he spent eight-and-a-half seasons early in his career:

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman initially reported the news:

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick added that Abreu will sign a minor league contract:

During his stint with Philly, Abreu was a two-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger award in 2004 when he hit .301/.428/.544 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI. He slugged over .500 five times. 

While he enjoyed a nice career with the Phils and went on to have some productive seasons with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels, he last played in the majors in 2012, when he hit .242 with three home runs in 100 games with the Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers.    

He was unable to land a contract in 2013. 

Nevertheless, according to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, Abreu hit .322 with three homers, 28 RBI and an .877 OPS in the Venezuelan League this winter, leading to this quote from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.:

“Bobby has had a nice winter season. We have decent reports on him.”

The chances of Abreu making a significant impact for the Phillies in 2014 aren’t good. But at the same time, he’s a low-risk signing and will potentially provide a decent left-handed bat off the bench.

If he struggles in spring training, then that will likely signal the end of his playing career. If he proves that he can still hit a little bit, though, then perhaps he can play a small role for Philadelphia.   

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San Francisco Giants: 5 Offseason Moves Team Should Have Made

The San Francisco Giants should have made five moves this offseason in addition to re-signing free agents Jeremy Affeldt, Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, and extending the contract of Santiago Casilla.

A big splash for a free agent like Josh Hamilton or Nick Swisher to improve left field would have made sense. However, once the Giants completed the task of bringing back their key free agents, the budget did not allow for another big ticket item.

Thus, the additional moves that the Giants should have made are not as exciting as signing a marquee free agent, but they still would have significantly improved the team.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of the moves the Giants should have made in order of their significance for the 2013 team.

(All contractual data in this article is taken from Cot’s Contracts and all statistics are from ESPN.)

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2013 Boston Red Sox: Why Bobby Abreu Is Not the Team’s Answer at First Base

Although the Boston Red Sox are apparently exploring all options in an attempt to find a first baseman for next season, the answer is not aging free agent Bobby Abreu.

According to WEEI’s Alex Speier (via a tweet by Venezuelan journalist Rafael Tejera), the Red Sox recently worked out Abreu, an outfielder, in Venezuela. Part of the session included him taking ground balls at first base.

Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with free agent Mike Napoli. However, because of concern over his hip, Boston started renegotiating, so no deal has been finalized.

The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported that signing Napoli remains a priority for the Red Sox, but they have also started exploring alternatives.

Boston has been in contact with Adam LaRoche, the top remaining first baseman on the free-agent market. However, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo wrote that the team isn’t keen on signing him because of the high draft pick they’d have to surrender to the Washington Nationals under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Boston has apparently turned to an approach of leaving no stone unturned in trying to identify additional candidates to play first base.

Speier believes the workout was mutual due diligence by both team and player. However, signing the 38-year-old Abreu would be an ill-advised move of desperation for the Red Sox.

The first problem in considering Abreu to play first base is that he has never done so professionally. In 2,347 games during a 17-year major league career, he has never played anything but outfield or DH.

Once considered a good defensive outfielder, Abreu severely declined in the field in recent years. He accrued a combined dWAR of minus-6.8 over the past five seasons, displaying a noticeable lack of range according to advanced defensive metrics from BaseballReference.com.

The left-handed hitting Abreu has batted .292 for his career, with 287 home runs, 1,349 RBI and 399 stolen bases. However, saying his production has slipped in recent years would be an understatement.

Abreu’s OPS has declined every year since 2008, reaching a low of .693 last season. The last time he hit better than .255 was in 2009.

Abreu was cut after playing eight games with the Los Angeles Angels last season in order to make room for eventual Rookie of the Year Mike Trout.

Although he went out to play 92 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Abreu’s .246 batting average and three home runs made it look like he had very little left in the tank. He especially struggled down the stretch, batting just .209 after May 31.

In a recent article, Abraham wrote how he likes Abreu’s left-handed bat as a potential option off Boston’s bench if they could get him on a minor league deal. However, having the veteran take infield grounders during his tryout suggests he was auditioning for a larger role.

The Red Sox may still need a first baseman, but should avoid taking foolish risks. Even if they can’t sign Napoli, they are better off looking at the other limited, alternate options to taking on Abreu, who is in the twilight of his career.


Statistics via BaseballReference

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Why Matt Kemp’s DL Stint Will Not Derail the Dodgers’ Magical Season

What had been a dream season for the Los Angeles Dodgers thus far took a major blow on Monday, with news that MVP favorite Matt Kemp would be put on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring. 

Going into Tuesday’s play, the Dodgers had the best record in baseball at 24-11 and the largest first-place margin among the six division leaders. Perhaps that six-game lead over an increasingly weak-looking NL West is enough of a cushion for the Dodgers to withstand two weeks without their best player.

However, even without that cushion, the Dodgers should be able to get by without Kemp in the lineup temporarily. Obviously, they’re a lesser team without him, and no club can enjoy sustained success with their best player on the DL. 

Several things have to go right for the Dodgers to continue winning games while Kemp is out. But these three factors are working in their favor and should keep Don Mattingly’s club on the right path until their MVP returns. 


Pitching’s Been the Key

The Dodgers have been winning on the strength of their starting pitching all season long. Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Clayton Kershaw are currently among the top 15 in ERA in the National League. And Chad Billingsley’s 3.32 ERA certainly isn’t bad either. 

In their first game without Kemp on Monday night, Kershaw pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts, holding the Arizona Diamondbacks to four hits.

Asking for that kind of performance every night is a bit much (though maybe not from the defending NL Cy Young Award winner). But with that kind of pitching, the Dodgers can still win some games even with a Kemp-less lineup.

Look at the other games in which Kemp hadn’t gotten a hit while trying to play with a sore hamstring.

Billingsley allowed two runs against the San Francisco Giants. In a three-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies, Capuano and Harang each gave up one run. Lilly gave up five (four earned) in his start, but the Dodgers were able to put 11 runs on the board to give him a win.


Teammates Are Picking It Up

No one is suggesting that Bobby Abreu is a suitable replacement for Kemp in the Dodgers’ lineup. But picking him up after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels is looking like a savvy move right now. 

Since joining the Dodgers, Abreu is batting .296/.345/.444 in 29 plate appearances with four doubles and four RBI. When Kemp was taken out of Sunday’s game versus the Rockies, Abreu came in and gave the Dodgers a lead with a three-run double. 

But the batters who were already regulars in the lineup have picked up their game while Kemp struggled.

In the five games during which Kemp was either hitless or out with injury, Andre Ethier hit 9-for-18 with three doubles, two homers and three RBI. Catcher A.J. Ellis went 6-for-13 with a triple, home run and four RBI. James Loney hit 7-for-16. 

Can the other batters in the Dodgers’ lineup keep up that kind of production? Their history says no, but if they can do so while Kemp is out, his absence won’t be quite so glaring. 


Schedule is Favorable

There don’t appear to be many great teams in the NL, so the Dodgers may not have run into one over the next couple of weeks anyway. But the schedule looks pretty kind to them while Kemp is out. After finishing a two-game set with the D-Backs, the Dodgers play a pair against the last-place Padres.

A weekend series versus the St. Louis Cardinals will be a test, but the defending World Series champs have lost four of their past five games and haven’t played much outside the NL Central. Going out west will be a challenged for them, as well. 

Next week, the Dodgers have three more games against the skidding D-Backs, a trio versus the Houston Astros and a four-game series with a Milwaukee Brewers team that’s still trying to find its footing. 

Looking ahead to June, the schedule gets tougher with a 10-game road trip that includes a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. But Kemp should be back in the lineup by then. 


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Bobby Abreu Release, Mike Trout Call-Up Will Pay Off for LA Angels

The Los Angeles Angels (6-14) released slumping veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, opening up a spot in the lineup for 20-year-old prospect Mike Trout.

Regardless of how the highly-touted Trout turns out in only his second stint under the bright lights of the big leagues, cutting Abreu will still be the right move.

Los Angeles had made attempts to move the 38-year-old before the season began, and after the team’s brutal start to the year (the Angels’ worst since 2002), Abreu’s .208 batting average became a liability.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia addressed the club’s move Friday night. Via Zack Meisel of MLB.com:

Right now, there are some parts of our club that we need to get moving forward. I don’t think this is going to be a cure-all, because I think there are things that we definitely need to come into play.

[Trout] is a young, exciting player that’s going to come up and hopefully start to contribute to things that we need to move forward with in our team. He’s going to play. He’s got versatility.

Abreu’s release means that the Angels can attempt to improve their 17th-ranked team batting average of .245 and make their way out of the basement in the AL West standings.

Where Abreu is proven and experienced, Trout is young and motivated. The speedster played in 40 games for LA in 2011, batting .220 with five home runs and 16 RBI.

Trout also brings an athletic dimension to the diamond, something that Abreu did not. Trout can steal bases and get to balls anywhere in center field; he had four stolen bases with the Angels last season and stole 108 bases in 286 career minor league games.

There is also the element of familiarity that both the Angels and Trout share. This obviously won’t be Trout’s first trip to The Show, and perhaps fans should expect even better from him this time around.

With so many of the expectations in Los Angeles already having been thrown out the window, there is little pressure to fail left on players, outside Albert Pujols at least.

The Angels have lost five straight and are already nine games back of the reigning AL champion Texas Rangers. Los Angeles is tied with the Kansas City Royals for the second-worst record in the majors.

Trout brings the Angels exactly what they need—a young slugger to provide a spark, and hopefully consistency, to their offense. LA’s 74 runs in 20 games rank it second to last in the AL, while it is tied for fifth in the AL in fewest runs allowed with 86.

Abreu was costing the Halos at the plate, and this move will pay off in the long run.


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MLB Power Rankings: Cliff Lee and the 13 Most Lopsided Trades Since 1990

As the MLB season heads into the dog days of summer, we all sit in anticipation to see what big names will be moved at the deadline.

Will the New York Yankees get their top of the line pitcher? Will the Milwaukee Brewers make another surprising splash like they did in acquiring C.C. Sabathia in 2008?

We will find out soon.

At this point, we can just sit back and hold out hope that our respective teams can keep winning ballgames—pleading that they are in position to make a bold move at the deadline.

On the other hand, it doesn’t always work out as planned—as no one wants to be on the losing end of a bad deal.

We’ve seen many lopsided deals over the last 20 years—although in most cases it takes years to determine the winner.

Here are the 13 Most Lopsided Deals Since 1990.

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Jayson Werth Isn’t the First OF the Philadelphia Phillies Have Had to Replace

Jayson Werth became a fan favorite in his four seasons with the Phillies, be it because of his great production on the field, his blue-collar attitude and hard work, or his beard.

Werth his 95 home runs, batted in 300 runs, and stole 60 bases. He was the power right-handed bat that balanced a lefty-dominated middle of the lineup. He also was very good defensively, both with his fielding and his arm.

He was very productive for the Phillies. So productive, in fact, he became too pricey to keep.

A free agent, Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals, numbers the Phillies were in no way going to compete with.

While the fan base is disappointed they won’t be keeping their bearded right-fielder, they must remember that the team has lost fan-favorite outfielders before, replaced them without missing a step, and watched the decline of the by-gone outfielder’s career.

It all started in 2006, when the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees. Abreu was the Phillies star player, hitting as many as 31 home runs in a season and batting as high as .335. In seven full seasons with the Phillies, Abreu hit .300 or better in six of them.

In the four seasons after the trade, he hasn’t hit over .300 and has averaged 17.8 home runs a season.

Not terrible numbers, but the Phillies did a good job of replacing him with Shane Victorino.

In the four seasons Victorino has been a full-time starter, the Phillies have made the playoffs each year. He’s won three Gold Glove awards, and has been selected to one All-Star game. He’s got tremendous speed on the basepaths and in the outfield, and he provides a ton of energy.

Aaron Rowand was the team’s center-fielder in 2006 and 2007 and he cemented himself in Phillies’ lore by running into a fence to make a catch against the Mets. He suffered a broken nose, but he made the catch, saved at least one run, and the Phillies went on to win the game 2-0.

His contract year of 2007, he finished career highs in home runs (27) and RBI (89). He signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the San Francisco Giants that offseason.

Rowand has not hit more than 15 home runs, batted in more than 70 runs, or hit higher than .271. In August of this previous season, he became a platoon player.

While he has fallen off the radar in San Francisco, the Phillies moved Victorino to center field and put Werth in right field.

And then there is Pat Burrell. Even though his last three seasons in Philly he couldn’t hit higher than .258, he still had a lot of pop in his bat, hitting 29, 30, and 33 home runs. After finally winning a World Series after nine seasons with the franchise that drafted him first overall, he was not brought back and he moved on to Tampa Bay.

Burrell continues to struggle with his average, finishing 2009 with a .221 average and 2010 (with both Tampa and San Francisco) with a .252 average, and he also doesn’t have the power numbers he used to put up, hitting 14 and 20 home runs with only 64 RBI both seasons.

The Phillies replaced Burrell with Raul Ibanez, who in his first season in Philadelphia hit 34 home runs, 93 RBI, and had a .272 batting average, along with being named to his first All-Star game. His home run total dramatically dropped last season to only 16, but he still drove in 83 runs and hit .275.

Maybe the change in ballpark goes into these players’ numbers dropping once they leave Philly, but none of those players were more popular on a national scene then when they were a Phillie. And when they left, their replacement rose to stardom.

So with Werth gone, who will take his place?

It could very well be an in-house candidate—most likely Ben Francsico, who came over from Cleveland in the Cliff Lee trade, or farmhand Domonic Brown.

Francisco has been a solid contributor off the bench for Philadelphia, and he could, like Werth, get even better if he became an everyday player. Brown was named Major League Baseball’s top prospect by Baseball America in 2010, and like Werth, is considered a five-tool player.

So while it may be disappointing to see Werth leave, the fans should trust that the organization will properly fill his spot in the lineup.

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