Much Ado About Abreu

This weeks hot trade rumor is centered on Bobby Abreu. Lynn Henning has been chasing the story and wrote up the case for it today. But with the articles came the denials. Pat Gillick says that he’s not interested in trading hitting right now, but that there is legitimate buzz about the Tigers interest.

Dombrowski didn’t confirm or deny rumors, citing MLB tampering rules, but he definitely didn’t give it a no. It may be some gamesmanship on his part, but he didn’t dismiss the Abreu possiblity when given the chance. Meanwhile, in today’s pregame interview Jim Leyland didn’t hesitate to extinguish the rumors like the butt of Marlboro.

But back to what Henning was tracking. He’s speculating a pitching prospect and a right handed bat, like say Miner/Tata and Monroe/Thames. If that sounds like a good deal to you, then we’re on the same page. I guess it would depend on how important it would be for Philly to dump salary. A half season of Abreu this year (~ $6.5 million), plus $15 million for Abreu’s 2007 salary and that is a considerable sum. The Tigers would also be on the hook for a minimum of the $2 million buyout on Abreu’s option in 2008.

But then there is that pesky no trade clause. Abreu would have some leverage here. Like say in exchange for waving the clause the Tigers have to guarantee that third year, which would cost $16 million. Illitch has said he would spend, but $40 million over 2.5 years is a ton. It would also mean that the Tigers would have $31 million committed to 2 34 year old corner outfielders. Just something to keep in mind.

As for the merits of Abreu, the guy is an offensive force and adds 3 things that the Tigers need: a lefty bat, a high on base percentage, and some speed. For his career he’s one of those 3/4/5 guys with 303/411/512 line coming into 2006. He’s also stolen 20 or more bases each year since 1999 and has a career stolen base percentage of 76%.

And of course we all remember his ridiculous record setting display in the home run derby last year. Just don’t let that sway your opinion of Abreu too much. Since that exhibition, he’s hit only 14 homers and slugged at a 445 clip. Is it decline or a fluke? At least his he’s maintained a 412 OBP over the same period.

Now I’ve written much more about Bobby Abreu than I did when dispelling the Smoltz rumors. I think that’s because this deal seems more appealing, especially if the price isn’t too high in a salary dumping situation. I still think it would take someone more on the Humberto Sanchez level to make the deal work for the Phillies. And even under those circumstances, the Phillies are still a wild card contender so I don’t think anything would be happening before the All Star break.


  1. Rob

    June 26, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    Yes, the Phillies are technically a wildcard contender. However, they are 35-40 and on pace to finish with a record of 76-86.

  2. Adam

    June 26, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    “We are not getting Bobby Abreu,” Leyland said. “Nor are we pursuing him. End of the conversation.”

    Much Ado About Nothing

  3. Joey C.

    June 26, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    This is an exciting roomer to be sure. I’m with you Billfer. If we could pick him up on a Philly’s salary dump, I think it would be a great move. Abreu is 32 years old and due to make a ton of dough, but even if we had to guarantee the third year, I think it would be money well spent.

    Looking further into his slowdown this year we see that he only has 8 HR and his average is “down” to .290. However he has 51 RBI and is sluggling .482. His OPS is 932 which is higher than every Tiger other than Marcus and he has 15 stolen bases.

    Abreu costs a lot but when you compare him to Maggs–who is due to make more money than Abreu–I can’t help but feel he’s a far better value.

    Barring injury, I can’t foresee Abreu’s ability taking so much of a nosedive to really turn such a deal into a catastrophe. If Illitch is willing to spend the cash to make this team a bonified contender, I don’t see a much better fit than Abreu.

  4. Kurt

    June 26, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    PECOTA projects Abreu well for the next few years, very little depreciation. i’d take him. I agree with pretty much everything Bilfer said though. It wouldn’t happen til later in July if it happened, but he’d be great to have a Tiger unless they wanted Sanchez.

  5. Chris

    June 26, 2006 at 11:51 pm

    It’s amazing how often his name has come up for some many teams in trade rumors. This would be a great addition for the Tigers but it appears the Phillies always want too much in return.

  6. Steve

    June 27, 2006 at 6:48 am

    Lets look at this another way. Lets say Miner and Monroe. We have good depth in pitching (and more on the farm) and Abreu would get the fielding spot of Monroe. So its Monroe for Abreu with a pitcher, one of which we have many to give. Its Mikes money and he wants to spend it. That outfield would look good with Abreu/Granderson/Maggs. We have seen the out pouring of fan support with a decent team. The move would come close to paying for itself.
    Lets see what happens……….

  7. Kyle J

    June 27, 2006 at 7:57 am

    Larry Bowa says Abreu wants a change of scenery. Abreu apparently doesn’t remembering telling Bowa this.

  8. Lou

    June 27, 2006 at 11:44 am

    I love the the first big realistic trade rumor of the summer where a contender would take on a huge salary isn’t about the Yankees. It always seemed like Illitch spent money on the Wings like they were the Yankees of hockey, it would be awesome if he starts to do the same thing for the Tigers.

  9. Mark

    June 28, 2006 at 1:21 am

    forgeddabout it.

    Abreau is 32.
    His best years(except for the large salary increases
    are behind him).

    There are better, younger alternatives out there.

    Build a contender for a decade, not a one or two year wonder
    where you decimate your farm system and your young players
    go on to haunt you for a decade or longer(See Doyle Alexander
    for John Smoltz–it gave Tigers one more division title in 1987
    before the wheels came off the franchise for more than
    a decade).