A few weeks ago, I jokingly put an entry in the inaugural edition of the ‘Four-for-Four’ titled ‘Bobby Abreu Update’. The former Phillie and veteran outfielder had made some noise in the Venezuelan Winter League and found it astounding that his name could still garner any type of buzz. Apparently, the buzz around Abreu was real, at least when it came to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Bobby abreu is headed back the phillies after agreeing to deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 21, 2014
Abreu, 39, last played in the MLB in the 2012 season where he split 100 games between the Dodgers and Angels. After failing to garner a deal in free agency during the 2012 offseason, Abreu returned to his native Venezuela and in, 50 games this winter, has posted a .322/.416/.461 slash line with three home runs in 28 RBIs.
Abreu was a prominent member of the Phillies organization from 1998-2006 (.303 average, 195 home runs, 814 RBIs). The longtime outfielder, who turns 40 in March, also won a Gold Glove in 2005 and was the winner of the Home Run Derby that same season. After he was traded to the Yankees during the 2006 season, Abreu spent the better part of three seasons in the Bronx followed by a four-year run in Anaheim before finally landing with the Dodgers for the end of the 2012 season.
In 17 seasons as a pro, Abreu posted a career batting average of .292 with a .396 on-base percentage and averaged 20 home runs a season. While Domonic Brown is entrenched in his corner outfield position and Ben Revere, after his arbitration case is settled, should hold down the center field spot; there are now a handful of names vouching for the last outfield position. Between recently acquired Marlon Byrd, Darin Ruf, and now Abreu the Phillies will have to find out how to round out an outfield group that has been one of the sore spots on the team as they have slipped from contention.
At this point, the deal is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Abreu will reportedly only be making $800,000 if he makes the Phillies out of spring training. That said, it is very interesting that the team is bringing back a player they traded away because they felt he was holding back the team’s young core from taking the steps to the championship-caliber team they became. Nevertheless, if Abreu can provide any sort of offensive help from the outfield and solidify what has become a revolving door since the departure of Jayson Werth, I suppose it’s a cheap opportunity to try to get lucky. Yes, Phillies fans, it has come to this. The team is grasping at straws hoping one of their questionable signings turns out in their favor and they can look smart for giving an aging veteran a shot to prove he could still contribute.
Unfortunately, I will ultimately have to break a promise I made in the ‘Four-for-Four’, as this will be the second of what should be multiple Bobby Abreu updates throughout the offseason and into the future. My apologies, Philadelphia.