Veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu will make a comeback attempt, returning to the city he spent the bulk of his career in after signing a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the deal, adding that Abreu will earn $800,000 if he’s able to make the Phillies roster.
A .292/.396/.477 hitter across a 17 year career, Abreu was once one of the more consistent hitters in the Major Leagues and a largely underrated (though not spectacular) defender in right field for much of his career. His power and range declined in recent years, but he was still able to work himself into the lineup on a regular basis through the 2011 season.
With the 2012 season being the final year on his contract, the Los Angeles Angels elected to part ways with him by the end of April, instead putting younger options into an already crowded outfield. He’d latch onto the Los Angeles Dodgers a week later. Combined on the year he’d get into 100 games, hitting .242/.350/.342 in 257 PA. He’d add just 3 home runs, 11 doubles, and an OPS+ of 94 (the first year he’d been under 100 since 1997).
It’s tough to say what Philadelphia is hoping to get out of Abreu at this point. He’ll turn 40 in early March and sat out the entire 2013 season following a pair of subpar campaigns. Philadelphia is looking at a starting outfield of Domonic Brown, Ben Revere, and Marlon Byrd with John Mayberry Jr. and Darin Ruf coming off the bench. Abreu’s veteran presence could be a boost, but on a team already loaded with established players it’s tough to see that being a true addition.
Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors relays word that Abreu has been hitting extraordinarily well in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .322/.416/.461 in 180 PA during the regular season and then .464/.549/1.214 in 56 playoff at bats. Perhaps there could be something of value left in Abreu for one more season. He’d likely be more of a depth option off the bench for the Phillies, rather than challenge for a starting role.