Bobby Abreu Rumors
Having lost five in a row and eight of their last ten games, the Angels remade their roster a bit last night by releasing Bobby Abreu and calling up top prospect Mike Trout. Trout will play everyday as the team hopes he injects some life into their season, but Abreu's situation is a little less rosy.
The 38-year-old outfielder/DH was hitting just .208/.259/.333 in 27 plate appearances before being cut loose. Although his power output has steadily declined with age, Abreu still offers one of the game's best batting eyes and has stolen at least 20 bases every year since 1998. Abreu also has a track record of durability, having played in no fewer than 140 games every season since breaking into the league full-time. His ability to hit left-handed pitching has disappeared later in his career, and defense was never his strong suit.
The Halos are on the hook for Abreu's $9MM salary, less the pro-rated portion of the league minimum if another team signs him to a Major League contract. He was vocal about his dislike for his reduced role, and the Angels were "trying feverishly" to trade him at the outset of the season. They appeared to have a taker in the Indians before the deal fell apart. Now that he's available on the open market for the most minimal of costs, what does the future hold for Abreu?
Friday Night Links..
- There doesn't seem to be any natural fit for Bobby Abreu now that the Indians have Johnny Damon, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Scouts don't think that the veteran can play in the outfield anymore and might have to start out in Triple-A.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) says that Abreu would not fit with the Dodgers or any other National League team except as a pinch hitter and he can't play defense regularly.
- The O’Malley group has signed documents to gain access to the Padres' financial information and apparently has raised sufficient equity to buy the club, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It appears that the group values the club at less than half of the Dodgers’ $2.15 billion sale price, and perhaps significantly less.
- The Nationals' promotion of Bryce Harper looks like a panic move to Keith Law of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) rather than a well thought-out developmental plan.
The Angels announced that they have released veteran Bobby Abreu. The outfielder was in the final season of his three-year contract extension with the Halos and is set to make $9MM.
The move will help pave the way for the promotion of Mike Trout, who is on his way from Triple-A, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Manager Mike Scioscia says that Trout "will play", DiGiovanna tweets, while MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets that it seems that the 20-year-old will play everyday.
The slugger has been outspoken about his reduced role with the club since the offseason and there has been a great deal of speculation that his tenure with the Angels was coming to an end. The 38-year-old was said to be warming up to his backup role at the start of the season but Jerry Dipoto & Co. were said to be "feverishly" shopping him.
The Halos appeared to have a taker for Abreu in late March when they had advanced discussions with the Indians. The deal apparently fell apart over how much of Abreu's $9MM salary would be covered by the Angels.
Earlier today, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported that MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to stop including personal services deals and milestone bonus clauses in player contracts. He offers some reaction and detail in today’s column to go along with more rumors from around the league. Here are the highlights:
- One prominent agent says the aforementioned changes more make it more difficult to add dollars to contracts without counting them against the luxury tax.
- The Nationals still want to move John Lannan, but his slow start at Triple-A (7.50 ERA in three starts) is limiting his trade value.
- The Nationals aren’t trying to trade Roger Bernadina, Stark reports. Right now Washington is thin on outfield depth, so they’re probably not in a position to trade outfielders away.
- Some teams wonder if the Angels should shop Mark Trumbo for a controllable reliever. There’s no indication the Angels are looking to trade Trumbo, but they’re “trying feverishly” to move Bobby Abreu, Stark reports.
- Scouts say the Orioles would “do anything” to trade third baseman Mark Reynolds and right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg.
Gabe Kapler and Ivan Rodriguez each hit two homers April 3, 2000 as the Rangers celebrated an Opening Day victory over the White Sox. The Rangers have another season-opening date with the White Sox on Friday when both teams open their 2012 campaigns. Here's the latest from the AL West...
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels doesn't expect his club to finalize any contract extensions before Opening Day, he told reporters (including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan), but Daniels is still hopeful since, "all it takes is one conversation to pick something up again." While the team prefers to have contract talks settled by Opening Day, Daniels said he is open to negotiating during the season, "if we are able to handle it quietly and not let it be a distraction." We heard earlier today that Texas is talking about a six-year extension with Ian Kinsler.
- An unnamed Angels player says Bobby Abreu is becoming more accepting of his backup job with the team, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Abreu has spoken out about his reduced role and the Halos are known to be shopping him, with one potential deal with the Indians falling through earlier this week.
- The Athletics released right-hander Edgar Gonzalez last week, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Gonzalez signed a minor league deal with the A's in November. Gonzalez posted a 5.00 ERA in 26 appearances (25 of them starts) for the Rays and Rockies' Triple-A affiliates last season, appearing in one Major League game with Colorado. The veteran righty has a 5.90 ERA in 107 career appearances with the Rockies, A's and Diamondbacks since 2003.
Saturday night linkage..
- Josh Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he's open to talking to the Rangers about a contract extension during the season. “If they want to talk to my agent, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said after previously indicating an unwillingness to negotiate during the season.
- Agent Barry Axelrod has been discussing employment opportunities with the Diamondbacks, reports Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (Twitter links). Axelrod and GM Kevin Towers are close friends.
- Unlike agents Jeff Moorad and Arn Tellem, Scott Boras has no desire to own a major league team, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com.
- The Angels' deal to trade Bobby Abreu to the Indians fell apart due to salary concerns, a source familiar with the talks told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Cleveland wanted the veteran slugger but the two sides couldn't agree upon how much of his $9MM salary they would assume.
- Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey was surprised to learn that his job was on the line during spring training, writes David Lennon of Newsday. The front office was kicking around the idea of releasing the 28-year-old before Opening Day to free up roughly $4MM, the non-guaranteed portion of his one-year, $5.7MM deal.
- Scouts covering the Giants say the club is getting nervous about rotation depth, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- The Orioles cut minor league pitcher Josh Banks, tweets Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. The right-hander spent most of 2011 with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate and posted a 7.27 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in twelve starts and seven relief appearances.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Dodgers have generated most of the L.A.-related news this week, but there's plenty going on with the area's second team. Here are some updates regarding the Angels...
- The Bobby Abreu trade appears to be dead or on hold, as the Angels have the veteran in today’s lineup, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears the deal fell apart (Twitter link). The Angels had discussed a trade that would have sent Abreu to the Indians.
- Jason Isringhausen has made the Angels’ Opening Day roster, DiGiovanna reports. Isringhausen, who signed a minor league deal with the Angels last month, had also seriously contemplated retirement. The Angels will pay Isringhausen $650K in 2012.
10:32pm: The trade has a "50-50" chance of happening, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. A source says the two teams are negotiating how much of Abreu's salary will be covered by the Angels.
9:43pm: Peter Greenberg, Abreu's agent, hasn't gotten confirmation that his client has been dealt, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times. Jon Heyman notes that the trade would require permission from the Commissioner's Office, given the large amount of salary the Angels are very likely covering to make the deal happen.
With Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter filling the corner outfield spots, and Mark Trumbo and a seemingly healthy Kendrys Morales slated to play DH, Abreu was the odd man out in Los Angeles. Abreu was becoming increasingly vocal about his likely lack of playing time which could well have sealed his fate as an Angel. The 38-year-old is coming off his worst full season in the majors (a .253/.353/.365 line in 585 plate appearances) and will earn $9MM in 2012 after reaching enough plate appearances for a contract option to vest.
While the Indians were known to be looking for help in left or center field, Abreu is a bit of an odd fit. It seems Abreu will platoon with Shelley Duncan in left, but Abreu played just 28 games in the field last season and has been a below-average defender for years --- he has a -8.3 lifetime UZR/150 rating. Abreu also adds yet another left-handed bat to the lefty-heavy Cleveland roster and he won't get much opportunity to play DH given Travis Hafner's presence. Still, since the Angels are undoubtedly paying most of Abreu's salary, the price is right for the Indians if Abreu is able to recapture some of his old form.
Here's the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..
- The Tigers' interest in John Lannan is only lukewarm at best and one executive told Heyman (via Twitter) that American League teams are leery of what switching leagues would do. For their part, the Nationals still seem eager to move the left-hander.
- With no real playing time likely available to Bobby Abreu, it might be for the best for the Angels to simply release the veteran, Heyman writes. Even though Abreu's agents, Peter and Edward Greenberg, said his recent comments were taken out of context, Abreu is obviously frustrated and unhappy about his situation.
- Is Barry Zito's contract the worst free agent deal ever? - Heyman believes that it is and it tops his top ten list. John Lackey, Gary Matthews, Carl Pavano, and Mike Hampton round out the top five.
- There are several theories as to why Adam Dunn wasn't able to produce last year, including the idea that his big contract got to him, writes Heyman. The 32-year-old hit .159/.292/.277 in 122 games last season.
Saturday afternoon linkage..
- The Phillies appear to be comfortable with beginning the season with Freddy Galvis at second base and are searching for a backup utility infielder via trade rather than a starter, sources tell Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
- Word is that the Yankees offered Freddy Garcia to the Marlins but Miami wasn't interested, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Garcia, who is a trade candidate following the club's signing of Andy Pettitte, is signed to a one-year deal worth $4MM plus incentives.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto met with Bobby Abreu following the outfielder's comments to Lider en Deportes. DiGiovanna writes that the team may have no choice but to release the veteran if he continues to struggle and be a distraction.
- The case of Jairo Beras and his $4.5MM contract with the Rangers is in the hands of Major League Baseball, but the club is confident that he is 17 years old, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telgram. Beras' biological father also told the paper that Beras is in fact 17.
- The Mets are facing a serious numbers crunch on the 40-man roster, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.