Bobby Abreu Rumors
The Phillies are interested in bringing back one of their cornerstones from the late 90s and early 2000s, as they're taking a look at Bobby Abreu, according to a report from CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick adds that the two sides are currently in discussions on a minor league deal (Twitter link).
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. did not deny the fact that the Phillies were gathering intel on the 40-year-old Abreu, who has had a monster season in winter ball down in Venezuela and is looking to make a comeback. Amaro tells Salisbury that the Phillies are looking at all of the remaining left-handed bats on the market.
Abreu played in 1353 games as a member of the Phillies from 1998-2006, slashing a healthy .303/.416/.513 with 195 homers in his time in Philadelphia. He did not appear in a Major League or Minor League game last season but has drawn attention from multiple teams with his winter ball performance, including the Indians.
The Indians have signed a couple of notable names to minor league deals this week, picking up right-hander Scott Atchison and outfielder Jeff Francoeur. They were also one of the two finalists on infielder Jamey Carroll. Here's the latest out of Cleveland (All courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes)...
- Hoynes writes that the Indians have been in contact with Masahiro Tanaka's agent, Casey Close, and could meet with him and his client in the coming days. The Indians "are in the game" and could make a lucrative multiyear offer, but Hoynes calls the chances of a deal "slim," noting that Cleveland isn't likely to outbid big spenders like the Yankees and possibly the Diamondbacks.
- From that same piece, Hoynes writes that if they do not land Tanaka, they're content to wait for a starter to come to them at their price. Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo could all be of interest and could all sign after Tanaka. Hoynes writes that Cleveland has long coveted Garza, and also adds that they may be able to sign Jimenez if he's the last man standing from the remaining free agent starters. At that point, they could get Jimenez at their price and would have an advantage over other teams due to draft pick compensation. Cleveland is also content to let Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Shaun Marcum and Josh Tomlin battle for the fifth spot if they can't find a starter at the right price.
- In a mailbag piece, Hoynes tells readers that while the Indians have spoken to Johan Santana's agents, his sense is that the team is focused on adding healthier, more dependable arms if it makes further pitching additions.
- Cleveland isn't likely to sign Bobby Abreu because Jason Giambi is already in the fold, Hoynes reports. However, the Indians are impressed by Abreu's swing and improved conditioning. If it becomes clear that Giambi cannot fill the role he did for the Indians in 2013, then Abreu would be a candidate to do so.
4:59pm: Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer hears that the Indians are "not all that interested" in Abreu (Twitter link).
2:10pm: The Indians are interested in Bobby Abreu, who is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and attempting a Major League comeback, according to Tony Lastoria of Indians Baseball Insider (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports adds that the Indians have spoken to Abreu's agents at the Legacy Agency but have yet to make an offer (Twitter link).
Abreu has played in 50 games in the Venezuelan Winter League, hoping to catch the eye of a Major League club, and his stats are certainly impressive. The two-time All-Star has batted .322/.416/.461 with three homers, 10 doubles and three triple in Venezuela.
Abreu hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2012 with the Angels and Dodgers, when he posted the worst full-season OPS of his career (.693). His offense had been in a steady decline since 2008 -- his final year with the Yankees.
A lifetime .292/.396/.477 hitter between the Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers, Abreu will turn 40 years old in March. He has parts of 17 Major League seasons under his belt and has already earned more than $124MM in his playing career.
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.