• What To Do With Bobby Abreu?

    Posted by on September 21st, 2007 · Comments (6)

    From Peter Abraham

    The Yankees were off yesterday and many of his fellow high-salaried teammates used the time to take private jets to their homes in other states. But Bobby Abreu stayed in New York.

    He honored a commitment to visit some sick children at a hospital in New Jersey in the afternoon, then spent some time “just hanging out” at his apartment in Manhattan. Abreu lives in a spot downtown where, he says, it’s a little less frenzied than in other parts of the city.

    “New York is cool. I love it,” he said. “It fits my personality.”

    It also fits his skills as a baseball player. As the Yankees climb to what could be a first-place finish, Abreu is hitting .285 with 111 runs scored and 98 RBI. After a rocky spring, he now walks into the clubhouse every day knowing he will hit third between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

    “The best spot in baseball,” Abreu said. “You have to be careful with Derek and nobody wants to pitch to Alex. So you have to pitch to me. I’m in a great position.”

    But as this season comes to an end, there are no guarantees for 2008. When the Yankees traded for Abreu in 2006, he came with a $16 million team option for 2008. The deadline to pick up that option comes after the World Series. If the Yankees pass, Abreu would become a free agent.

    “It’s not a decision I can make. Somebody else has to make it,” Abreu said. “But I want to play here. I really do like it. This has been perfect for me.”

    General manager Brian Cashman has given no indication to Abreu or agent Peter Greenberg what his plans will be.

    If you would have asked me in May, I would have said that the Yankees should let Abreu walk after this season. At that time, he was not hitting – and, he’s never been a good outfielder.

    But, Abreu has turned it on since then with the bat. Look at his splits, below, with September being to date:

    April	23	111	.253	.360	.308	.668
    May	28	116	.208	.267	.274	.541
    June	27	121	.287	.405	.465	.870
    July	26	112	.353	.384	.588	.972
    August	28	117	.324	.410	.559	.969
    Sept.	17	 73	.288	.356	.545	.902

    Since June, Abreu has been a force with the bat for New York. That’s the reason why he’s their #3 hitter. Of course, if he left next year, you could bat Damon first, Melky second, and Jeter third…as all those guys could handle those spots.

    However, if A-Rod opts out, and Giambi continues to regress, that leaves the Yankees short in terms of guys who should hit in the middle of the line-up. Posada, Matsui and Cano are all run-producers. But, they’re not in the level of A-Rod…or even Abreu when he’s going well.

    At this stage, since the Yankees have no control on A-Rod, if he really wants to walk, I think you have to pick up that option on Abreu for 2008 – and just hope that he comes into camp in shape and ready to play. Since it will be a walk year for him, I think the incentive is there for him to put up a monster season next year.

    Comments on What To Do With Bobby Abreu?

    1. baileywalk
      September 21st, 2007 | 11:51 am

      I think it’s almost a lock they’ll bring him back. Is there anyone other there available who would fit as a replacement?

      Earlier this year it really looked like Bobby would just be holding down rightfield until 2009 when Jose Tabata would be out there. But he got hurt again. The guy who ended up emerging last year was one of my favorite prospects, Austin Jackson. After a middling start repeating low-A, he got moved to Tampa and absolutely murdered the ball for the rest of the year. He played with Trenton in their playoffs and held his own. He’ll probably start the year with Trenton in ’08 with a possible ticket for the big leagues in ’09. So who knows — maybe it will be Melky over in right with Jackson in center.

      Or let us dream of a Jackson-center, Tabata-right, Melky-left outfield alignment…

    2. SteveB
      September 21st, 2007 | 12:00 pm

      To me, picking up his option is almost a no-brainer. He gets on base a lot (even though this is a down year for him) and he has some pop. He’s not a good outfielder but he does have a plus arm and plus speed.

    3. September 21st, 2007 | 12:15 pm

      Yeah, FWIW, I am always impressed in the way Bobby runs the bases. He does hustle his butt down the line too on DP attempts. His baserunning is nothing to be ashamed about.

    4. Razor
      September 21st, 2007 | 1:07 pm

      I don’t think the Yanks should sign him. I agree he’s played much better and with more enthusiasm for much of the season, but he’s too inconsistent (especially for that kind of money) and old. i think the team is better off spending that kind of money with someone with more upside – either younger and/or cheaper (Rowand?), or spending it towards Sp and RP help. Priorities should be pitching and then 1b as OF is always easier to fill. Of course we have to get a-rod back – the arguments advanced towards keeping abreu apply moreso toward Alex.

    5. Santino53
      September 21st, 2007 | 2:55 pm

      Always thought i would say no way on this guy.
      While i would not invest in a multiple year contract, I do believe in the motivation of the walk year and would spend the $16m for one. It does not appear to be a big offseason for corner OFs and he does fill the three hole fairly well. The minor league options are at least two years away. Plus, he seems comfortable.

    6. snowball003
      September 21st, 2007 | 3:09 pm

      Maybe it’s just because he’s not slumping anymore, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Bobby Abreu beats out SO many ground balls that would be automatic outs for so many others, and he beats out so many routine GIDP balls. It makes me so happy. And it’s surprising, because he doesn’t have the build of a speedster like Jose Reyes.

      Makes me happy.

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