Bobby Abreu Rumors
39-year-old on-base artist Bobby Abreu plans to "play winter ball for the Leones del Caracas starting in October as a prelude to a comeback attempt in 2014," writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. A few teams kicked the tires on Abreu during the offseason, but after coming up empty he plans to take this season off.
"Bobby still thinks he has something left to offer. He still thinks he can help somebody, and he has some personal milestones that would probably be nice to cross," agent Peter Greenberg told Crasnick. While Abreu's power seems all but gone, and he's more of a pinch-hitter or part-time designated hitter, it does appear he can still get on base at a .350 clip. Those 13 home runs needed to reach 300 will be hard to come by, however.
The Yankees, who are hunting for a corner infielder to replace the injured Mark Teixeira, have asked Derrek Lee if he would be interested in returning to baseball, David Waldstein of the New York Times reports. Waldstein reports that Lee did show interest, although no deal is in place. Lee last played in 2011 for the Orioles and Pirates, hitting .267/.325/.446. Here are more notes from the American League:
- Fewer scouts watched Rick Porcello's start on Sunday with the Tigers than the dozen or so who watched his last one, MLB.com's Jason Beck reports. Beck notes, however, that scouts generally don't watch the same players over and over in the spring. Porcello has been the subject of trade rumors for the past several weeks, and the Rangers have reportedly shown interest.
- Signing Jim Thome or Bobby Abreu might be options for the Red Sox as they attempt to replace the injured David Ortiz, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Abraham suggests, however, that the Sox's in-house options, which include using Mauro Gomez, Ryan Lavarnway or J.C. Linares at DH or moving Mike Napoli or Jonny Gomes to DH in order to create a lineup spot for Lyle Overbay or Jackie Bradley Jr., might be more appealing. That makes sense, since it isn't yet certain that Ortiz's injured heels will cause him to miss more than a few weeks of the regular season.
Here's a look at the latest out of the American League East..
- Despite having six candidates for five rotation spots, the Yankees are keeping tabs on former ace Chien-Ming Wang, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Wang threw off a mound for Yanks spring training pitching instructor Billy Connors at his Tampa area home recently and put on an impressive performance.
- The Orioles may consider signing outfielder Bobby Abreu, but first plan to “see what they have in camp,”tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman previously reported that theMarlins and Rays could be in the mix for the 38-year-old Abreu.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon plans to provide right-hander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher previously known as Fausto Carmona, with an opportunity to earn a spot in the starting rotation, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. As Maddon explained, the Rays will“treat [Hernandez] as a starter and then revert back” to a relief role should he fail to beat out other starting options, including Jeff Niemann and Chris Archer. Also of note, Maddon said that righty Alex Cobb is “pretty much ensconced” as the Rays’ fourth starter.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links)...
- The Marlins and Rays are among the possibilities for Bobby Abreu, Heyman reports. Abreu, 38 in March, hopes to extend his career following an unremarkable offensive season in 2012.
- The Blue Jays are still in the bullpen market along with the Mets, Heyman reports. The Marlins, Astros and Dodgers might also be involved in pursuit of relievers, Heyman adds. Here are the details on the Mets’ bullpen targets.
- The Rays will likely officially announce their deals with Kyle Farnsworth, Luke Scott and Kelly Johnson next week, Heyman reports.
There were baseball people this winter who pleaded with their teams to go after B.J. Upton as a free agent and to trade for his younger brother, Justin Upton. However, there also were those who said “over my dead body” would they have either, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. In fact, officials in one AL East organization were nearly unanimous in the opinion that neither Upton was a fit for them. The Braves obviously didn't share that view and will now enter 2013 with a remarkably athletic lineup thanks to the Upton brothers. Here's more from today's column..
- While Cafardo hears that the Mets' interest in Michael Bourn is minimal, that might be enough for them to land him eventually. Many baseball people are amazed that Bourn is the odd man out in free agency. The Mets, Mariners, and possibly Orioles are waiting for a bargain deal and one AL manager reasoned that if a team can get him on a one-year deal, they might juggle things around to make it happen.
- The Red Sox were among the teams that tried out Bobby Abreu. but sources say the Red Sox are unlikely to pursue him as the backup first baseman/outfielder that they’re looking for.
- Left-hander Ron Mahay has decided to call it a career. The 41-year-old says that he's now looking to get into coaching or managing. Mahay last appeared in the majors with the Twins in 2010. For his career, the reliever posted a 3.83 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 across 14 seasons.
- The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano is on the trading block and could still be moved before spring training, as teams like the Orioles and Rangers look to make last-minute upgrades.
- The Angels had some hope that Vernon Wells could be moved this winter, but those odds decreased after the Phillies signed Delmon Young. “I think people will look back on his career and wonder, how could a guy who came into the league with so much ability let this happen?” said an American League scout who once saw Wells as one of the most talented players in baseball.
MLBTradeRumors readers will be sure to note that longtime MLBTR writer Mike Axisa has become the newest contributor to the Eye on Baseball blog at CBSSports.com. Congrats to Mike, who started things off today with a look at the Yankees’ core pieces. As always, Mike’s latest piece is worth your time. Mike’s by-line won’t be appearing at MLBTR anymore, but Zach Links has become a full-time writer and he’ll be taking over the site’s Baseball Blogs Weigh In feature from now on. You can reach Zach here with your submissions: ZachBBWI@gmail.com.
Here are some links from around MLB...
- Carlos Beltran's preference is to return to the Cardinals following the 2013 season, writes MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. However, the presence of Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and top prospect Oscar Taveras might leave Beltran without a spot on St. Louis' roster.
- In a piece at River Ave. Blues, Mike previews a potential extension for Yankees right-hander David Robertson, suggesting a three-year, $15MM deal could work for both sides. That said, cost certainty isn't a huge priority for the Yankees, so "working out a multi-year contract with Robertson probably isn’t worth the hassle" from the standpoint of the club.
- The Marlins are hearing from the agents for several veteran free agents who would love to play in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. Freddy Garcia and Bobby Abreu are among the players who would like to join the Marlins, Jackson writes.
- Agent Scott Boras expects increased interest in free agent right-hander Jose Valverde now that Rafael Soriano has signed with the Nationals, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. The Tigers, Valverde's most recent team, seem confident in the ability of 22-year-old Bruce Rondon.
TUESDAY, 3:58pm: A major league source somewhat dismissively labeled the trip as "background work" and "nothing more than a scouting assignment" in a conversation with Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Abreu would be a possible fit as another left-handed-hitting outfielder to split time with Jonny Gomes in left field, but he turns 39 in March and hit just .242/.350/.342 in 257 PAs for the Angels and Dodgers.
The Red Sox also expressed some interest in fellow available veteran Lance Berkman, but they are not believed to still be considering him. Recently, a team official said the Sox would be "comfortable" with either Ryan Kalish or Daniel Nava splitting time with Gomes, but cautioned that a move for another outfielder couldn't be ruled out.
MONDAY, 4:07pm: The Red Sox have worked out Bobby Abreu in Venezuela, including putting the veteran outfielder through drills at first base, reports Rafael Tejera (WEEI.com's Alex Speier confirms it through a Major League source). Speier notes that the workout may have been a case of "due diligence" for both Abreu and the Sox as Abreu has no professional experience as a first baseman and may not even be interested in playing the position.
After being released by the Angels and designated for assignment by the Dodgers in 2012, however, Abreu may have little room to argue a position change if he wants another contract with a Major League team. Abreu hit three home runs and had a slash line of .242/.350/.342 in 257 PAs for the two Los Angeles teams last season, with the .693 OPS standing as a career-low for the 17-year veteran.
Abreu, 38, is a below-average defender in the outfield and wouldn't see much time at DH in Boston with David Ortiz in the fold, so first base might be his only opportunity for even semi-regular playing time as part of a platoon. The Red Sox still have a tentative agreement with Mike Napoli though that deal has been under renegotiation for weeks due to concerns about Napoli's hip, and the Sox have also talked to free agent Adam LaRoche about filling their hole at first base.
The latest from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com...
- Both the Dodgers and Red Sox have interest in Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, reports Heyman. He hears Los Angeles could also make a play for Indians closer Chris Perez or Mets right-hander Bobby Parnell as well.
- The Rangers were interested in Anibal Sanchez and Russell Martin before they signed elsewhere, Knobler reports. Now Texas is pursuing Edwin Jackson, A.J. Pierzynski and Cody Ross. Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse aren't thought to be "front-burner" items for the Rangers now, Knobler reports. Knobler suggests the Rangers are interested in a relatively short-term deal for Jackson, who's also drawing serious interest from the Cubs.
- The Dodgers have talked about trading Andre Ethier and signing Bourn to replace him, reports Knobler. Los Angeles is looking for a leadoff hitter. Earlier this week we heard they've considered trading Ethier and signing Nick Swisher.
- The Rangers may be the best bet for Pierzynski since the Yankees still can’t get excited about the backstop, Heyman reports (on Twitter). Instead, New York is looking to go with Austin Romine.
- The Braves continue eyeing a left fielder and would prefer to add a leadoff type, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- Bobby Abreu, who is now playing winter ball, hopes to play for two or three more years, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
2:45pm: Abreu has accepted the Triple-A assignment, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
10:36am: Bobby Abreu has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment by the Dodgers, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports (Twitter links). The outfielder must decide by this afternoon whether to accept the minor league assignment, and he is leaning toward accepting it, Crasnick writes.
Though Abreu's power has disappeared, he continues to get on base at an above-average rate. The 38-year-old has posted a .246/.347/.340 batting line in 236 total plate appearances for the Angels and Dodgers this year. The 17-year MLB veteran earns a $9MM salary, but any team could sign him for a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum if he elects free agency instead of accepting the minor league assignment.
The Angels released Abreu in April after a disappointing opening month, and the Dodgers signed him to a minor league deal a week later. Though Abreu's power has disappeared, he continues to get on base at an above-average rate. The 38-year-old has posted a .246/.347/.340 batting line in 236 total plate appearances this year. The 17-year MLB veteran earns a $9MM salary, but any team can sign him for a pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum if he reaches free agency.