With an off day today, Tiger rumors are rampant with most centering on Alfonso Soriano and Bobby Abreu. While I’ve touched on both of these players in the past, given the recent fervor and the Tigers continued stature as the best record in baseball it is probably worth exploring.
For a long time Bobby Abreu was damn near close to the perfect player. His career line coming into this year is 303/411/512 and he routinely steals 30 bases a year at a 75% success rate. The only knock was that he was a slightly below average right fielder (despite winning a gold glove in 2005).
This year his line is 286/442/455. His OBP is still outstanding despite a slight dip in his batting average. At their current rates Abreu would make 16 fewer outs per 100 plate appearances than Craig Monroe is. He hits just as well on the road as he does at home and isn’t fazed by southpaws (310/437/490 this year).
The only disturbing thing about Abreu is the dip in slugging percentage. Of course we remember him obliterating the right field fence during the 2005 Home Run Derby, but he only stands at 8 homers this year. That so much isn’t the problem (at least in my mind). What concerns me is the trend in his slugging percentage.
Mon Slugging APR .550 MAY .471 JUN .404 JUL .342
What is reassuring is that the types of balls he’s hitting are in line with his career numbers. Looking at the graphs at Fangraphs, his line drive percentage is inline with this career numbers, if not a little higher. The difference is he is hitting fewer flyballs, and thus fewer homers.
The other concern with Abreu, and really it may be part of what makes him available to the Tigers, is the contract. In addition to the $15 million he’s owed next year, he has a $16 million dollar option. According to his agent that would need to be picked up, or and extension worked out, for Abreu to waive his no trade clause.
This is the one that has the national folks buzzing. Ken Rosenthal has been touting this trade for 2 weeks. Soriano brings considerable power and considerable speed to the lineup. He also seems to be a better version of many of the types of hitters the Tigers currently have. In fact over their careers Soriano and Monroe have posted similar OBP rates (at least at ages 27 and 28) and similar walk to strikeout ratios. Of course Soriano has done it with much more power.
Where Abreu would become a fixture for the next 3 years, Soriano would most likely be a 2 month rental. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. With Abreu you get a player for several years, and a hefty price tag. With Soriano you get help in the short term, with nothing beyond this year, but no contract beyond this year either. The Tigers would also receive 2 compensatory draft picks if Soriano were to leave as well. Both cases should help to keep the trade demands reasonable…or so you’d hope.
In addition to the contract costs, the Tigers of course will need to give something up. Humberto Sanchez will more than likely be part of either deal. He represents the team’s top pitching prospect and is coming off an impressive performance at the Future’s game.
The Free Press reports today that the cost would be Jair Jurrjens, Humberto Sanchez, and Brent Clevlen. That is too much, especially in the case of a rent a player. Jurrjens is 20 years old and having success at AA. Sanchez is enjoying a breakout that started late last year and continued in the Arizona Fall League and many think he is big league ready now. There is no way I’d part with both guys. The Tigers system isn’t that deep that they could stand to lose their top 2 pitching prospects.
If it came down to Abreu, that price seems steep if the Tigers were to assume Abreu’s full contract.
So do you guys want one of these 2, or should the Tigers hope with Dmitri Young, or pursue a David Dellucci type player, or should they stand pat?