Analysis: Bobby Abreu Options

In late March, the Los Angeles Angels had been looking to trade veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu and finally found somebody interested. The Cleveland Indians and Angels were discussing a trade that would send Abreu to Cleveland, but things fell apart as neither side could agree on how much of Abreu’s $9 million deal would be paid for by the Indians.

Apr 13, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Bobby Abreu (53) reaches on an infield single during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

In order to finally free top prospect Mike Trout, who is regarded by most as a future star, the Angels released Bobby Abreu. The problem for the the 38-year-old is that his biggest suitor already filled their need for a veteran outfielder by signing Johnny Damon. Although Damon is far from a good player, Abreu is even worse. His defense, even in left field, is terrible so he’s either a black hole in the outfield or a 1 WAR DH.

So you can see what the problem is for Abreu; nobody wants him. He has little value, and this is apparent when looking at how hard the Angels were trying to trade him. They were willing to do almost anything to get rid of him, but nobody wanted him except the Indians. Then Cleveland realized that it was a better idea to sign Damon than trade for Abreu, and the Angels finally figured out that their only option was to release Abreu. Sure it isn’t ideal, but at least they won’t be paying $9 million to someone whose ZiPS projection is currently at 1.2 WAR. Keeping Abreu would have been a mistake, and now Trout will presumably play every day and be a 2-3 win upgrade that will be much needed in the season long battle with the Texas Rangers.

As for Bobby Abreu, he is coming off of a 0.4 WAR season with some awful defense with his UZR ceiling being -5. Yeah, it’s that bad. He will likely get a minor league deal on a team desperate for a veteran DH who is about an average hitter overall (102 wRC+ last year).

An interesting fact dealing with Abreu is a testament to his consistency, as he has never had a wRC+ under 100 in any full season. At the age of 38, expect Abreu to latch on to some time on a minor league deal and get some at-bats at DH on the cheap. He still has value as a hitter, but that value is mitigated at DH. He can’t field, so there are only a few teams in the market for him at this point.

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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Topics: Bobby Abreu, Cleveland Indians, Johnny Damon, Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout

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