Plummeting Abreu Market

Though it may feel ages away, Spring Training is fast approaching, and for the first time in 11 seasons, Bobby Abreu has no idea where he will be playing. Abreu’s case has been documented numerous times here: his defense is poor and his bat, though still solid, is in decline mode. Add in that he turns 35 in March and Abreu just does not seem as attractive of an asset as he once did.

Factoring in the current scope of the economy it is not terribly surprising that his asking price was scoffed at, but the issue now deals with the depths to which his asking price will sink. On top of the factors mentioned above, something else is apparently contributing to his dearth of suitors and potential landing spots: teams are getting smarter.

As Dave discussed earlier, Peter Gammons wrote that teams are learning to value defense much moreso than before, leading them to worry about the potential number of runs guys like Abreu, Adam Dunn, and Manny Ramirez give back with the glove. I don’t think each and every team has suddenly hopped on the defensive bandwagon but rather that they recognize $16 mil/yr for three seasons is excessive for a 35-yr old with a declining bat and poor glove in the current market.

Had we just listed the attributes as opposed to the attached name, eliminating all aspects of reputation, the proposed deal would, without a doubt, seem ludicrous. With Abreu gradually decreasing his expectations, the last piece of news on the matter pegged him at 1-yr/$8 mil. At such a little commitment and a drastically lower salary, one could easily reason that a wide array of suitors would line up. This is yet to be the case. Abreu has been linked to the Braves, Mariners, Dodgers, White Sox and Mets, but a Mets official apparently reported that the deal would need to be for a maximum of 1-yr/$4 mil for the Mets to pull the trigger.

I cannot speak for the validity of that statement or how the remaining interested parties value Bobby’s skills, but 1 yr/$4 mil would be the same value, with one less year, that Jeremy Affeldt received from the Giants. The deal would be half of Pat Burrell’s average annual value, which itself was largely depressed. The deal would be $250K less than Brandon Lyon received from the Tigers and equal to the amount Abreu’s former employer, the Yankees, will give to Damaso Marte. I ultimately expect Abreu to sign for a bit more than $4 mil but it has been nothing less than fascinating to watch his asking price potentially end up at 1/4 of its original total.

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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Keith P

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal believes the Angels are close to signing Abreu,-possibly-for-Abreu