Were the Yankees holding Abreu back on the basepaths?
Entering Monday, Bobby Abreu has successfully stolen eight bases. And just as important, Abreu has not been caught once this season.
I am not asking whether or not the Angels or Yankees run more, because it seems obvious that the Angels do. Although in terms of stolen bases, it is much closer than we might think.
The Angels are all about manufacturing runs, obviously. It seems as though the Yankees would like to get a little closer to doing that, but not at the expense of decreasing their odds of scoring.
A mixture of getting on base, hitting for power, and stealing bases–while not getting caught too much–is the way to go. But not every team will succeed at all of these.
But in the case of Abreu…maybe he wasn’t as aggressive as he could have been under the watch of the Yankees?
Who knows why exactly, they stole a lot of bases each year that Abreu was there. And Bobby did have 25 and 22 steals in each full year he spent in New York. Though in 2008, his final year with the Yankees, Abreu was caught way more than one would like (successful only 67% of the time).
But so far, Abreu is making me think that maybe, just maybe, he can still be a threat on the basepaths.
In 2004, Abreu stole 40 bases, while only being caught 11% of the time. Which is crazy good. But after that season, Abreu never attempted that many stolen bases again (45 attempts).
I don’t watch the Angels much, just on occasion. So I am not sure if Abreu has free reign on the bases, or if he simply going when instructed.
And I am not sure of the variables either. Maybe the high stolen base total is only because the right situations have occured more often than they normally do. Maybe he has faced more weak-throwing catchers so far, or pitchers that don’t control the running game well.
I really don’t know.
But for a guy that is supposed to be declining, it seems strange that he is as good as ever as a basestealer.
…or maybe he is simply trying to maximize his talents in order to get some real money this offseason.
Link, not Zelda.
- Bobby Abreu was found near the bottom of baseball’s bargain bin. And the Angels received someone who can actually take a few pitches. Keith Law explains it well, if you wish to review what he wrote. The thing about Abreu is that he doesn’t fit in with the Angels philosophy, really at all, other than hitting for average. Abreu is patient, something the Angels sorely lack. Abreu is a poor defender, something the Angels shy away from. If he DH’s, as Fangraphs has pointed out, then the team will be better off. But Law also makes another great point, about how if he does spell Vlad in right, how Vlad may swing the bat better with a little less time in the field, and a little more time slotted int he DH spot. But the Angels took a step in the right direction. They don’t have to have nine guys who can see close to 4 pitches per AB, but having a few of those guys is a good thing. Abreu may not fit in well, but he makes the team better.
- I don’t mean to link to Keith “The KLAW” Law all the time, but he is my “go to” analyst. My Lebron James in these situations. And I like to link to whomever’s articles I have read beforehand, giving them credit in case anything has built a home in my subconscious. Anyway, Law’s take. But how do I feel? Similar to he does. Adam Dunn makes the Nationals better, maybe puts a few fans in the seats who want to see a few 480-foot home runs. It isn’t a bad signing. Dunn is a pretty good player. But the team still isn’t even close to competing for a playoff spot. And it is highly unlikely that Dunn will be there when they are competitive, unless they re-sign him when his contract is up.
If Abreu Accepts…
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.
In Flighto-Saito (To Boston)
According to Mike, via my blog’s comment section, the Red Sox have signed Takashi Saito. Hadn’t been aware of that, and actually had to do a little more research then I normally do just to find confirmation. Another low risk, high reward signing…and I like it. I feel that I must defend my position on these signings though, as they do not seem like much to the naked eye, or casual fan, or whatever. But I definitely believe that these moves collectively, are good moves. Saito in three seasons in the Majors, has 245 K’s in 189 innings pitched, versus only 52 walks. Saito is going to be 39, so maybe it is better to look a little more at last season, which was his worst, but he was still pretty good, and note as well that he too, is coming off an injury. No one is asking him to step in and shut down 45 games this season, they are simply hoping that Saito can give some effective innings out of the pen.
The overall age of the team may be going up, yet they aren’t getting any older in their long term plans. The Red Sox brought in four players, on one year deals, for only money, and no draft picks. What they get out of these players is in question. But even if they all fail, and give the team little to nothing, then 2010 rolls around and all of them are gone. That’s the thing, it isn’t always about the money, it is a lot of times, about the years. Especially when dealing with players in there late thirties. This is why I believe it was a mistake to not offer arbitration to Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, and Bobby Abreu. And those three names came from the mouth of Keith Law, but I agreed before and after I read what he said (Just nice to have “experts” agree I guess, because if I am the only one in the world that believes something, it may not be right 🙂 .
Only 2 of 24 players accepted arbitration this season, and each one of those guys were probably going to seek something with a longer commitment then what they would have received with one year of arbitration, had they accepted. And look at the moves since then: Wouldn’t Philly have been much better off with Burrell for one year rather than the aging Ibanez for three? And had Burrell left, a draft pick would have been compensation. Don’t the Diamondbacks need Adam Dunn’s bat for 2009? Yes, indeed, they do. And if Dunn left, the Diamondbacks receive a draft pick. Bobby Abreu, maybe a little different, because the Yankees didn’t need him, but rather than offsetting the draft pick that they lost, they lost each of their first three picks next season. And the likelihood that any one of them would have accepted wasn’t all that high. And if any one of them actually did accept, each orgainzation would have been retaining an above average player.
The point is that a one year deal is very low risk. So bringing in four older, injury prone players (or ones coming off injury), and adding to the depth in the clubhouse is wise. The Red Sox want to rely on pitching from within, and pitching from outside the organization, on short term contracts, because signing a pitcher long term is so risky (especially when they have their core). They probably would have little problem locking up a position player long term if A) the player is good-great B) there is not an appealing solution from within. Because as we know, the likelihood that a position player blows something out and is finished for a few years, isn’t as likely.
In sum, the Red Sox are making low risk moves to give themselves a better chance in an incredibly tough division.
NFL Divisional Playoff Picks:
Tennessee 19 Baltimore 16
Carolina 31 Arizona 20
Steelers 24 Chargers 19