If Bobby Abreu accepts the one year, $8 million deal from the White Sox, then the White Sox will have some flexibility.
Bobby Abreu is an above average player, poor defensively, but solid offensively. At this point in his career, Abreu is not to be built around, as he could have been in his earlier days. So if a team understands that Abreu is now a solid role-player–and they definitely seem to understand that given his lack of contract offers–then the team will be acquiring a helpful piece of the puzzle.
Bobby Abreu was a great player for some time. His defense must have been overrated, because I find it hard to believe that he was a legitimate Gold Glover. But his offense, was very, very good for a period of time. Ten of Abreu’s last eleven seasons have been of OPS+’s 120 or greater. There was a seven year period, 1998-2004, where Abreu posted nothing lower than 136. Abreu is a career .300 hitter, with a .405 OBP, and a slugging percentage just two points short of .500. But if he does give in, and accepts a one year deal, the White Sox will be receiving a solid player, but understand that this is not the same Bobby Abreu that Phillies fans remember.
A one year deal is very good for the White Sox organization. 2009 should be Abreu’s best remaining year, definitely the best opportunity for his best remaining year, as he will only get older. And I think that Abreu could very well post an OPS+ of around 120, again, as he did in 2008.
This would also create flexibility as I mentioned. And although there is no established big league player to play center, yet, Jermaine Dye could possibly be moved in order to begin the replenishing of the farm system. Kenny Williams seems mostly bright, but there is a serious lack of quality down below. And if the White Sox want to be contenders in the future, then this will need to be addressed. Abreu won’t surrender a draft pick, and Abreu won’t tie up a bunch of money in future years. Dye probably won’t bring back any stud players, but he might bring back a few nice pieces. Dye will turn 35 this year, so the club shouldn’t count on him being a part of the future. And this could be his last season under contract (mutual option in 2010) so again, the club shouldn’t count on him being a part of the future.
They don’t have to trade Dye, even if they sign Abreu. But if they want to compete in 2009, having Abreu would allow them to make a trade, and the team wouldn’t suffer too much this season. Both Dye and Abreu are considered among the worst RF’s in the game according to Dewan’s Plus/Minus. And offensively they are pretty close, giving the edge to Dye, maybe. Jermaine had a great year in 2006, but the surrounding years are nothing special. There is no reason to think that Abreu should not be roughly what Dye is as an all-around player next season.
So signing Abreu would be wise. The White Sox would get him for a very reasonable price, no long term committment. Really, not even much short term committment. And then they could make a trade including Jermaine Dye if they wish to pursue that direction, as they have been rumored to have been interested in that route. Of course, if they do not trade Dye, then there may be a problem getting everyone their AB’s.