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.