Bobby Abreu Rumors
In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Keith Law blasted the North Carolina State coaching staff's decision to let Carlos Rodon throw 134 pitches in a start on Friday night. Rodon is expected to be one of the top picks in June's amateur draft, yet Law felt the southpaw's promising future was being risked by a coaching staff desperate to reach the NCAA tournament.
Here's some news from around the Majors...
- If Alfonso Soriano doesn't retire at season's end, he'd like to play through 2016, preferably as a member of the Yankees, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (Insider-only link). If he has a tough season this year, however, Soriano will retire. The veteran outfielder is in last year of his contract and has previously discussed retiring after 2014, as Soriano's health will also factor into his decision.
- Bobby Abreu is hitting .500 in Triple-A and is "the best hitter Las Vegas has got by far," a talent evaluator tells Mike Puma of the New York Post. Since Abreu can opt out of his minor league deal on April 30, the Mets will have to make a decision soon, and they could free up a roster spot by moving one of Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.
- The Brewers have a dozen players making the Major League minimum salary (or slightly above), and this influx of cheap, young talent helps the smaller-market club afford the six $10MM+ salaries on the payroll, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.
- Scheduling and tougher PED testing/penalities are two factors for increased injuries this season, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. Travel during both the regular season and Spring Training has become more arduous at a time when players' bodies might not be recovering as quickly due to a lack of performance enhancers.
- Baseball America's Matt Eddy recaps the week's minor league transactions.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Chris Young's tenure with the Mets isn't off to an ideal start, as the outfielder has already been placed on the disabled list with a quad injury sustained in the cold weather on Wednesday. Young called the situation a "bad dream" when talking with MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, who also spoke to manager Terry Collins about the $7.25MM man's early DL stint. More on the Amazin's as some teams wrap up their opening series...
- Manager Terry Collins told reporters earlier today that the Mets will give one first baseman a chance to prove himself beginning tomorrow, and Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that it will be Lucas Duda, not Ike Davis (Twitter links). Duda will be given a "real shot" to prove he can hold the job down, according to Martino.
- Bobby Abreu's minor league deal with the Mets is worth $800K, and he can opt out if not on the Major League roster by April 30, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Abreu signed with the Mets after his release from the Phillies late last month.
- The Mets' bullpen woes only increased today, as a variety of arms struggled once again in action against the Nationals. The focal point of that general concern, of course, is injured closer Bobby Parnell, who figures to be out for at least six weeks and possibly much longer. As Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes, replacing Parnell is a delicate balancing act. An outside addition is always possible, of course, but the options are limited. And while the team may well look to some young arms to bolster the MLB relief corps before long, it will need to be careful not to stunt the development of the team's key prospects.
- Martino also examined Bartolo Colon's importance to the Mets, and in doing so revealed that the Mets were the only club to offer Colon a multi-year deal. The Mets knew they needed to overpay after five losing seasons, according to Martino, who adds that Tim Hudson was willing to pitch for the Mets earlier in the offseason prior to signing a two-year, $23MM deal with the Giants.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The Mets have signed Bobby Abreu to a minor league deal, the club announced. It was reported earlier today that New York was considering the move.
Abreu, 40, will start off in Triple-A Las Vegas, and his path to a MLB role with the Mets is less than clear. After a strong run through the Venezuelan Winter League in which he showed power that had waned in recent big league seasons, Abreu put up a .244/.404/.366 line over the spring with the Phillies. He returned to the open market, however, rather than accepting a minor league slot in the Philadelphia organization.
Though Bobby Abreu was released by the Phillies after failing to make their 25-man roster, he may not have to stray from the NL East to find his next job. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Mets are interested in adding the veteran outfielder on a minor league deal to serve as outfield depth.
ESPN's Jayson Stark reported recently that Abreu would seek a Major League deal with another club upon learning that he hadn't made the Phils' big league squad, but it's unclear if such an opportunity will present itself. The 40-year-old Abreu slashed .244/.404/.366 in Spring Training with Philadelphia and is coming off a big season in the Venezuelan Winter League in which he batted .322/.416/.461 in the league's regular season. He then went on a more impressive tear in the league's postseason, clubbing eight home runs in 15 games.
Abreu has a career .873 OPS in 9926 plate appearances at the Major League level, and he last appeared in the bigs with the Dodgers in 2012, batting .246/.361/.344 in 230 trips to the plate.
The 40-year-old joined the Phillies on a minor league deal after a strong run through the Venezuelan Winter League. He had agreed to push back the date on his opt-out clause with the team to Sunday, but the Phils decided to let him pursue an alternative opportunity after deciding that he would not make the Opening Day roster. Abreu has a .244/.404/.366 line in 52 spring plate appearances, his first in a big league uniform since 2012.
Here's the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love...
- Bobby Abreu is looking for a Major League opportunity with another team, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports. Abreu was told earlier today that he wasn't going to make the Phillies' Opening Day roster and thus it seems like just a matter of time before Abreu opts out of his minor league deal with the team. The veteran outfielder has until Sunday to do so, as Abreu and the Phils agreed to push his opt-out date to the 31st.
- The Phillies aren't in on Cesar Izturis, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports (via Twitter). Izturis opted out of his minor league deal with the Astros on Monday after being told he wasn't going to make Houston's Opening Day roster. Philadelphia is in the market for a utility infielder who can play shortstop, as Freddy Galvis to a MRSA infection, Kevin Frandsen opted out of his contract after being outrighted and the club released Ronny Cedeno.
- With so many talented young arms filling the major and minor league rotations of the other four NL East teams, "one wonders if the Phillies aren’t years from serious contention," Peter Gammons writes in his latest piece for GammonsDaily.com. The Phillies' thin farm system has put them behind their division rivals in terms of developing young talent, and Gammons feels it will be "a far, far more difficult climb for the Phillies than when they were assembling that extraordinary 2007-2012 team."
When the Rangers face the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican League in Texas Thursday night, former Yankees hurler Amauri Sanit will be the opposing pitcher. As Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News notes, the 34-year-old left Cuba in 2006, then spent two years in Central America before signing with the Yankees. He signed with the Yankees in 2008, then spent several years making his way through the minors, partially as a closer, before pitching in four games with the Yankees in 2011. He ended up with Quintana Roo in 2012, and after two seasons there, he'll be back in the United States, pitching against a big-league team. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.
- The Phillies have announced that veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu will not make their team out of spring training. GM Ruben Amaro says that Abreu is still with the Phillies organization and is "weighing his options," MLB.com's Todd Zolecki tweets. Abreu, 40, hit .263/.429/.395 this spring, but he struggled defensively, and he hasn't appeared in the big leagues since 2012 with the Angels and Dodgers.
- Infielder Jamey Carroll was released by the Nationals yesterday, but the veteran infielder would like to keep playing, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Carroll, 40, hit .211/.267/.251 in 249 plate appearances with the Twins and Royals last season.
The Phillies have agreed with outfielder Bobby Abreu to push back his opt-out date from tomorrow until this coming Sunday, reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury (via Twitter). The move, of course, was designed to give the team more time to evaluate its options with regard to Abreu, who has been out with shoulder soreness.
Abreu, 40, has posted a .257/.422/.400 triple-slash in 45 plate appearances this spring. With multiple injury situations and several players who can play the infield or outfield, the Phillies' roster situation is somewhat difficult to pin down. But it appears that, at this point, it could come down to either Abreu or Tony Gwynn Jr. as the team's left-handed-hitting outfield reserve.
9:05pm: Abreu can opt out of the deal if he is not placed on the MLB roster by March 26th, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. That early date, of course, will pressure the Phillies to carry Abreu on the Opening Day roster or risk losing him.
Abreu's deal calls for him to earn a $50K bonus if he is named Comeback Player of the Year, Sherman adds.
2:07pm: The Phillies have officially signed outfielder Bobby Abreu, the club announced. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported the deal (Twitter links). Abreu will return to Philadelphia on a minor league contract, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick tweets, with Heyman adding that he would earn $800K if he breaks camp with the club.
Abreu, who will turn 40 before the start of the year, did not play in the bigs last year. He has 17 MLB seasons under his belt, including nine with the Phils. In 2012, Abreu posted a .246/.361/.344 line in 257 plate appearances, most of them coming with the Dodgers. His last full season came in 2011. Fading power and declining defense left him at a replacement level in that campaign, though Abreu never lost his ability to reach base. (Across nearly 10,000 career plate appearances, he carried a lifetime .396 OBP and never fell below the .350 mark after he broke in as a full-time player.)
So, why the interest from Philadelphia? Abreu has been tearing up the Venezuelan Winter League with a .322/.416/.461 triple-slash in 180 regular season plate appearances. And as impressive as Abreu was during the winter league's regular season, his postseason stats were even more eye-opening. Abreu slashed .464/.549/1.214 (with eight home runs) in 56 playoff at-bats, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.
As CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reported earlier, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had heard "decent reports on [Abreu]" coming out of Venezuela, leading to the club's interest. According to Amaro, the club was "looking at all the left-handed bats still out there and he's one of them." It remains to be seen, of course, whether the Phils will nevertheless look to add another left-handed bench option in addition to Abreu.
The Phillies apparently had competition in landing Abreu. As Crasnick reports, the Mets and Indians were both interested in the veteran's services, as was a Japanese club.
Earlier this morning, I asked MLBTR readers about the Braves' upcoming arb hearings and how each situation would pan out (player wins, team wins, or agreement is reached prior to hearing). To this point, MLBTR readers think that Craig Kimbrel (63%) and Freddie Freeman (57%) will win their hearings, while about 46 percent think the Braves will win a hearing against Jason Heyward. Here's more on the Braves and the rest of the NL East...
- The Braves have not had any recent discussions with lefty Eric O'Flaherty, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The Braves were once expected to re-sign their longtime setup man, who underwent Tommy John surgery early last season, but recent reports suggest he could be headed elsewhere.
- As things stand, Atlanta GM Frank Wren and manager Fredi Gonzalez both stand to enter the season on expiring contracts, notes David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O'Brien writes a lengthy breakdown of the merits of each key organizational figure.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets' stance on Stephen Drew hasn't changed; they still like Drew but aren't hot on his trail and are content to wait in order to see if his price drops. Agent Scott Boras has said that he and Drew can wait as well, Martino reminds.
- New York is still looking for bullpen help, and the team is "somewhat" interested in Mitchell Boggs, a source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter link).
- The Phillies made a notable minor league signing today, bringing back one-time club cornerstone Bobby Abreu. "The purpose of this signing is to see if he has anything left," said GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. "We've seen him in [Venezuela]. He's in shape and swinging the bat well, and he's motivated to play. If he performs, great. If he doesn't, we have no obligation to keep him. But he will be given every opportunity to make [the] club." (Links to Twitter.) As Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com argues, players like Abreu and fellow minor league signee Chad Gaudin fill important depth roles at minimal cost.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.