3:06pm: Abreu has officially announced his retirement to reporters, including Mike Puma of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
2:59pm: Outfielder Bobby Abreu, who made a surprising Major League comeback with the Mets this season, is expected to announce his retirement tonight, countryman and former big leaguer Omar Vizquel tweeted last night. Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily news hears the same and adds that the Mets have not spoken to Abreu about a future coaching position (Twitter link).
Abreu, 40, played winter ball last season in hopes of making a comeback to the big leagues, and a strong performance gave him an opportunity to do just that. He inked a minor league deal with one of his former teams, the Phillies, but failed to crack their roster in Spring Training. In search of a minor league deal with a better opportunity to get to the bigs, Abreu signed with the Mets, and his big numbers through 15 games earned him a promotion.
Abreu homered in just his fourth game back in the Majors, but that would prove to be his only big fly of the season. He was at one point designated for assignment and released, but he quickly signed a new minor league deal with the Mets and has since been placed back on the 40-man roster. Despite the lack of pop he showed this year, Abreu has posted a .246/.338/.338 batting line (96 OPS+) that is more than respectable for a 40-year-old coming back from a year-long absence from Major League Baseball.
Somewhat surprisingly, Abreu was named to only two All-Star teams over the course of his 18 seasons in the Majors. While he may not have gotten the recognition he deserved in that sense, Abreu’s excellent offensive reputation is well known. He has a lifetime .291/.395/.475 batting line to go along with 288 homers and an even 400 stolen bases. He authored nine 20-homer seasons, including seven in a row from 1999-2005, and he twice crossed the 30-homer threshold, maxing out at 31 in 2001. Abreu also stole at least 20 bases in 12 consecutive seasons (1999-2011), six of which included 30+ steals and one of which included 40 swipes (2004). Abreu put on an absolute spectacle in the 2005 Home Run Derby, winning the contest with 41 homers overall and belting an incredible 24 in the first round alone.
Fangraphs values Abreu’s career at 58 wins above replacement, while Baseball-Reference is more optimistic, pegging him at 59.9 WAR. Abreu will finish his Major League career with roughly $124MM in earnings, according to B-Ref and will undoubtedly generate some Hall of Fame discussion once he is eligible. Congratulations to Abreu on an outstanding Major League career.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.