The Abreu Rumors

Dave · January 30, 2009 at 10:51 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Larry Stone has all the info in the piece he did about the Mike Sweeney signing. Lots of interesting stuff in there. Go read it.

Essentially, the M’s have told Abreu that they’re interested in a one year deal with him, but don’t have the money in the budget to meet his asking price right now. They’d have to move some salary in order to bring him in. The obvious candidate to move would be Jarrod Washburn, as you’re not going to be able to get anyone to take any real part of the salaries due to Batista or Silva. You’ll have to eat some of Washburn’s salary to move him, but not all of it, so he’s almost certainly the guy they’re trying to move.

Realistically, though, in this environment, the M’s aren’t going to be able to free up more than about $5 to $7 million by moving Washburn. Jon Garland, a better pitcher in just about every regard (not that that’s high praise), just signed for $8.75 million with Arizona. With guys like Randy Wolf still on the market and likely having to settle for one year deals at less than $10 million, the M’s just won’t be able to move Washburn without eating some salary or giving up a valuable asset along with Washburn that would make some other team value the package at $10 million.

So, to be honest, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Abreu. There are teams interested in him that don’t have to trade a a non-asset in order to clear room for him, and I can’t imagine that the M’s offer will be so much better than the offers he already has on the table that he’ll sit around and wait for the M’s to make the necessary move to get him.

It’s clear, however, that the M’s are pursuing a LH OF/DH bat, and that they’re not going to settle for Ken Griffey Jr unless they have to. That, in and of itself, is good news.


122 Responses to “The Abreu Rumors”

  1. Faceplant on January 30th, 2009 6:19 pm

    With the bottom falling out of the power hitting “I shouldn’t even own a glove” corner outfield market how brilliant does Raul Ibanez look for signing early?

  2. djw on January 30th, 2009 6:36 pm

    Yeah, Raul should buy his agent a whole case of good scotch.

  3. skipj on January 30th, 2009 7:56 pm

    As this pertains to MrMailblog, and not the Abreu rumors, this is technically not on topic according to the site rules, and may be deleted, which I understand…[deleted, off-topic]

  4. BurkeForPres on January 30th, 2009 8:20 pm

    Abreu would be a nice fit for Safeco, and I think really could push the team into contention. Should we really be ready to throw a bunch of money at him for 1 year? Probably not. In the event we don’t contend, it’s money wasted; in that case a Clement/Joh/whoever split in DH is fine with me.

    Also, I think you guys are arguing apples and oranges. Are HR and RBI’s important things that need to happen for a team to win? Yeah. Are they particularly useful statistics when looking at players actual talent level? No. They are not meaningless to the game, but they are near meaningless stats. Important distinction, and one I really had to get over to start to come over to the sabermetric dark side, and boy does it feel good to be here. Join the party Mailblog

  5. Johnny Slick on January 30th, 2009 8:42 pm

    I really think that it’s only fair that since Chuck Armstrong refused to allow the Washburn trade last summer, he should accept Washburn’s salary as sunk cost and let Z do what he wants with Abreu. Then again, it’s also possible that the Mariners are taking the stance they’re taking in part to get Abreu to lower his salary demands. It’s definitely a buyer’s market this year.

    As for RBIs… what do you mean, they’re useless!? They measure clutch! It has scientifically been shown that clutch exists! In automotive science. Therefore, baseball. ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT JOE CARTER IS NOT A HALL OF FAMER????

  6. Johnny Slick on January 30th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Are HR and RBI’s important things that need to happen for a team to win? Yeah.

    HRs, yes, but RBIs? Not so much. I think it’s best to look at RBIs and for that matter individual runs scored as events that are tallied on a scoresheet rather than actual individual statistics.

    The etymology of the run batted in is basically that in the early days of baseball everybody knew that the single that scored the man from second was almost as important as the single that got the man to first (and, since it was early baseball, the error that got him into scoring position) but they had no way to measure just how important that second single was. Hence, the run batted in was born to offset the run scored as the pre-eminent statistic in the game. I haven’t done a study but I’m pretty sure that in an environment where teams score lots and lots of runs – not 6 a game like in the 90s, I’m talking 9 or 10 a game – who scores and to a lesser extent who drives in the runs can be a valuable individual stat in and of itself. There’s very little building up to score a run that doesn’t result in an R or an RBI tally in those games the way there is in the modern game, and in addition when your league fields at a .920 rate the debate over how much credit a batter should get for a hit vs. an error vs. a hit and an error makes it tough to assign a straight value to a hit the way we can do nowadays.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that RBIs are interesting in a cool relic of the past way, the same way that batting average is interesting. But useful or important? Not as individual numbers, no.

  7. Breadbaker on January 30th, 2009 9:50 pm

    Of course RBIs are valuable, at the level of a game. In an actual game of baseball, actually driving in the runs that are available to be driven in is important in just the same sense that, say, wasting a pitch can be important. In the context of a single game, actually driving in those runs matters; that is how an individual game is won.

    Over time, however, it is the elements that make up hybrid statistics like wOBA that indicate if a player is going to do the things that lead to runs being scored and driven in, not the raw RBI stat.

    If Zduriencik is using the hard cap as a negotiating tactic, all the more power to him. If we can get Abreu as DH on one-year contract for a reasonable rate, or if he can flog one of the overpriced starters and free up some space, that would be all to the good. Of course, best would be to do both: sign Abreu within the cap and then trade Washburn.

  8. Venezuelan Fan on January 30th, 2009 10:30 pm

    Adding Booby Abreu would give use 9 Venezuelans on our roster: Ceasar, Jose, Franklin, Endy, King Felix, Wlad, Ronny, Carlos, and, of course, Bobby.

    Is it just me or do others think this is pretty cool. We have to have more players from Venezuela than any other team. Woohoo!

  9. BurkeForPres on January 30th, 2009 10:35 pm

    Johnny and Breadbaker- you both made my point in different ways. This is the epitome of the apples vs. oranges thing; RBIs are only valuable in that it requires someone to get an RBI for a run to be scored (no smart ass exceptions please). The actual event itself is not really correlated to a player’s ability, but is largely contextual. SO, it is not meaningful to judge a player’s ability on RBIs.

    But yeah, what you guys said. Keeping this mildly on topic, if this trade means getting rid of any young talent I am absolutely against it, and I don’t see Abreu signing within the cap, so that will likely be the case. Trading young talent in an attempt to aquire Abreu, and with a side goal of getting draft picks in return, seems a bit backwards. In the case of a WS title, yes. Otherwise, no.

    Also, can I ask a question about why the edit function is on a timer? Is that too OT?

  10. Omerta on January 31st, 2009 11:18 am

    I hope Armstrong thinks Washburn is still worth it.

    Also, can I ask a question about why the edit function is on a timer? Is that too OT?

    Well, I don’t know exactly why the function is there, but I appreciate that it prevents people from backtracking and editing their posts after the fact.

  11. BurkeForPres on January 31st, 2009 12:09 pm

    I see, so it’s an integrity thing.

  12. terry on January 31st, 2009 2:58 pm

    If I was Abreu’s agent, I’d strongly counsel him to pull an Andre Dawson. 🙂

  13. terry on January 31st, 2009 3:07 pm

    Much like college, an opinion without evidence isn’t worth much here.

    I agree with the sentiment but really, these days, college is much more: “I paid at the door-where is my A?”.

  14. terry on January 31st, 2009 3:20 pm


  15. BurkeForPres on January 31st, 2009 5:34 pm


  16. Garton on February 1st, 2009 8:21 am

    Joser, great insight on the M’s budget and what they’re paying per ticket. This is why I come here, as I had no idea. Makes more sense now why they can’t or won’t just sign Abreu. Let’s hope the M’s can find a taker for Washburn and soon.

  17. et_blankenship on February 1st, 2009 10:42 am

    Latest Hot Stove Rumor, from ESPN News Services:

    The Mariners appear to be exploring a trade that would land lefthander Rich Hill from the Cubs and clear some payroll for free agent Bobby Abreu, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

    The newspaper reported that the Orioles may have the inside track on Hill, who was a top prospect before battling control issues. He won 11 games and had a 3.92 ERA in 2007 in making 32 starts, but he walked 18 batters in his first 19.2 innings and was sent to the minors.

    The Mariners just completed a trade with the Cubs that landed them infielder Ronny Cedeno and lefty Garrett Olson.

    If Seattle could tempt the Cubs with one of their best-paid pitchers – Miguel Batista ($9 million in 2009), Jarrod Washburn ($10.3 million) or Carlos Silva ($11) – in exchange for Hill, that would probably clear the way toward the club making Abreu, who made $16 million last year, a legitimate offer.

  18. terry on February 1st, 2009 11:28 am

    It would frankly blow my mind if the Cubs traded Hill for Washburn. Ignore the salary issues. Hill is better than Washburn.

    Knowing it would be to make an Abreu signing possible, I just don’t see how Zduriencik could have any leverage at all when trying to dump salary.

  19. joser on February 1st, 2009 11:44 am

    That sounds strange to bordering-on-bogus to me. I don’t understand how the Cubs would give up a good or at least still-salvageable prospect and take on payroll just to obtain the questionable services of any of the M’s overpaid starters. Heck, the expectation was that the Cubs would be more interested in a deal that got Abreau for themselves than in doing a deal for pitching that enabled someone else to get him (though of course they got Bradley instead). I mean, the M’s getting anything at all for Washburn/Silva/Batista? We’d be happy to see any of those guys off the book as pure salary dump. Getting out from under enough of their salary to make room for Abreau? Getting back a prospect? Both? That’s in the land of the “garbage for gold” fantasies that we see in Rosterbation posts.

    So I just don’t believe it, unless the M’s are giving up something too. And that would be painful, because whatever they’d be giving up would be big. Clement? (No, they have Soto) Bah, I don’t even want to think about it. Incomprehensible.

  20. fermorules on February 1st, 2009 12:05 pm

    I’ll believe the Abreu signing when I see it.
    Mister Z reminds me of Dan O’Brien, the Mariners’ GM in the early 80s. That is, a pretty sound judge of talent, but somebody ultimately done in by interference from above and a tight payroll. Does anybody remember Pat Putnam, Todd Cruz and Ron Roenicke?

  21. joser on February 1st, 2009 1:51 pm

    The difference is that there’s no evidence so far of interference from above (unless you count the “don’t trade Washburn for nothing” rule in place before Zduriencik even got here, which was supposedly, if misguidedly, intended to help him). And even at $93M the M’s remain well above the median of the 30 teams. So the interference remains (so far) a phenomena of previous seasons, and the currently (and temporarily) “tight” payroll is a consequence of past years’ mistakes as well. Nobody believed this team would be turned around in a single year, so already to be heralding Zduriencik as a man “done in” is more than premature. In fact he’s already done more than most people expected, especially given the constraints he inherited. Rather than being “done in” by these factors, we ultimately may be marveling at how well he succeeded in spite of them.

  22. tangotiger on February 3rd, 2009 8:12 am

    You have to ask yourself what do RBIs represent. They are a combination of: a player’s hitting talent, the number of runners he has on base, and the timing to match these two.

    wOBA, EqA, Linear Weights (LWTS), etc, all give you the player’s hitting talent. The number of runners a hitter sees on base has nothing at all to do with his talent level. So, you try to remove that aspect, and you get RE24 (which you can find at Fangraphs), which is Linear Weights by the 24 base/out states.

    So, if you have RE24, then RBIs now become useless, as they contain no information at all, that you cannot find in RE24, insofar as the player’s hitting talent and his timing. RBIs are a subset of RE24.

    The question then comes LWTS or RE24. You can make a case for either.

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