Acquiescing Abreu

Our thoughts here on Bobby Abreu are not exactly news. At this stage in his career, Abreu is a solid hitter on the decline who plays poor defense at a corner outfield position. There are several players who fit this description still available on the market, which supply and demand in economic theory suggests will drive down their price. Add onto that how teams are seemingly becoming more fiscally responsible this winter and it comes as no surprise that Abreu’s desired 4-yr/$60 mil or whatever deal is terribly unrealistic.

Jerry Crasnick reported yesterday that Abreu would “be willing to settle” for deals similar to Raul Ibanez and Milton Bradley. The latter two signed deals hovering around 3-yr/$30 mil. Ibanez, though perhaps lesser of a hitter, is a solid comp for Abreu, as both are getting up there in age, losing offensive value, and watching their defensive values drop from bad to awful.

When Adam Dunn, six years younger and more productive offensively, is struggling to land a multi-year deal, the likelihood of Abreu signing an Ibanez/Bradley deal again is very unrealistic. Then, today, reports surfaced that Abreu would be willing to accept a 1-yr deal. I’m not sure how this qualifies as a conscious decision from Abreu. He has to accept a 1-yr deal if he wants to play baseball in the major leagues this season. Nobody is going to sign him to a multi-year deal in this climate.

Perhaps he and his agent can feel better about themselves since taking the initiative makes it appear as if they have arrived at this conclusion, but they were forced to accept a 1-yr deal. As a rightfielder, Abreu projects to around +1.45 wins. As a DH, closer to +1.9 wins. The positional adjustment for DH is stiffer than it is for corner outfielders, but Abreu’s terrible defense added onto the adjustment comes out worse than the DH adjustment.

As a corner outfielder, his fair market value for a 1-yr deal is $6.5 mil. At DH, $8.6 mil. I can see him signing a 1-yr/$10 mil contract, but things could easily go the other way based on what happens with Dunn, Manny Ramirez, Garrett Anderson, and Ken Griffey, Jr. No matter how one chooses to dissect Abreu’s eventual signing, if he signs for anything more than $6.5 mil as a corner outfielder, he better exceed his projection for the sake of the team. The best bet for any interested parties is to put him at the DH spot where his lack of defensive ability can be hidden.

Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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15 years ago

Finally, someone came up with an adjustment to take into account a poor defender that actually hurts his team on defense. Abreu as a DH is a better option than Abreu in RF. I like it.