Abreu Off The Market

Dave · February 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

According to various reports, the Angels are fairly close to signing Bobby Abreu to a one year deal for something like $5 or $6 million. We have to assume that Abreu would have chosen the Angels over the M’s given equal offers (assuming he thinks the Angels are a much better bet to win in ’09), so you’d think that the M’s would have had to go to somewhere between $8 and $9 million to sign him. By all accounts, they just don’t have that kind of room in the budget.

It will be interesting to see how the Angels handle their roster, assuming this news is true. They now have Vlad, Abreu, Rivera, and Matthews to rotate between the RF/LF/DH spots. They’d been talking about giving Brandon Wood real playing time, too, but with Figgins locked in at third base now, that probably goes out the window. So if we assume that Vlad plays RF most of the time, and Abreu/Rivera split the LF/DH duties, then the Angels made a pretty nice move to upgrade their offense, but their outfield defense is going to be cover-your-eyes-awful.

At the price, it’s still a good move for them, and this probably adds the extra win or two that they needed to actually be favorites in what still looks like a bad AL West division, but it creates a lot of question marks as well.

For the M’s, this leaves them looking at the second tier LH bats. At this point, they might as well just sign Junior for $1 million and get it over with. He won’t make the team better, but at least it gets the whole story out of the way and everyone can just move on with their lives.


44 Responses to “Abreu Off The Market”

  1. joser on February 10th, 2009 7:29 pm

    I wonder if Vlad is healthy enough to be fulltime RF, or if they’ll be rotating him through the DH spot as well. Considering the injuries the Angels have seen the past couple of years, having an extra outfielder (whether on the bench or waiting in the minors) is probably a good thing.

    That Mathews deal looked kind of crazy at the time, but it’s an undisguised albatross now, isn’t it?

    Anyway, the M’s had probably moved on from Abreau already since there’s no real market for any of the guys they might want to move to clear salary. So it’s down the market they go.

    The interesting question is — would Jr. sign for $1M? I thought he (or at least his agent) was still holding on to hope for $4M or $5M?

    At $1M, they might as well. At more than that, there are other candidates. But the flip side of that is: those candidates will be more appealing to everybody else, too. What are Griffey’s options other than Seattle? This seeming inaction might just be Zduriencik playing a masterful game of “chicken.”

    Speaking of which, the trade deadline could get interesting. If the outfield has “rejuvenated” Washburn and there’s a team out there looking for a “proven” starter (and there almost always is)….

    But that’s months away. How long until “pitchers and catchers”? This going to be the most interesting ST in a long time.

  2. msb on February 10th, 2009 7:36 pm

    so what is the left-handed sock back-up plan when Ken sprains his newly-repaired knee on the Peoria dugout steps?

  3. msb on February 10th, 2009 7:39 pm

    sadly, the LA Times article doesn’t even mention the Ms as one of the suitors. The mlb.com article does link them to Anderson, though … sigh.

  4. decatur7 on February 10th, 2009 7:42 pm

    From eyeballing the Angels’ fielding stats at Fangraphs, every Angels outfielder – Hunter, Rivera, Vlad, Matthews, now Abreu – looks at least -10 runs in the field (in sum, a -30 to -40 outfield). Seems like the demonic counterpart to the Mariners’ angelic +30 to +40 Endy-Gutierrez-Ichiro outfield.

  5. JerBear on February 10th, 2009 7:45 pm

    Yeah, I think I’m actually moving towards the “sign Junior and get it over with” mentality.

    I’ve been against it all along for all the reasons that have been rehashed over and over. Griffey’s not the player I grew up watching anymore, he won’t make the team any better, and it’s not a good baseball move. Buuuuuut, if they were ever going to sign him for a PR move, this would be the year to do it. With mandated budget cuts, leftover albatross contracts, and only a long shot at contention they might as well give him his farewell tour and get ready for 2010.

    I’m guessing Big Z would be smart enough to sign him cheap and keep him out of the outfield. My only concern then would be if he takes playing time from Clement. But I think the move would go a long way towards helping Zduriencik build good-will with the writers and the, um, less-than-savvy fan base. Personally, I’m stoked with his shrewd off-season thus far, and I’d be willing to give him a pass on a Griffey signing.

  6. TomC on February 10th, 2009 7:47 pm

    this leaves them looking at the second tier LH bats

    Can you give some examples of the second tier bats you refer to? Is it really just Griffey or some random minor league free agent?

    If it is such a limited choice, would it really matter if we just ignored the issue for this season (i.e. no Griffey, no second tier LH bat, etc.)

  7. Bilbo on February 10th, 2009 7:51 pm

    well this just sucks. If the Ms can’t afford (aren’t willing to spend) $6-7mm to fill the gaping whole they have in their offense then just go ahead and call 09 over. Really this is inexcusable to not be willing to “extend” the budget (or not reduce by as much as it were) especially seeing how Lincstrong saddled the team in 09 with both Wash and Joh’s contracts. They may as well just play the young guys full time and see what Wlad and Clement bring to the table.

    What really blows is you know they will end up trading Wash and Beltre and pocketing the money at the deadline anyway. Finally, the extra draft picks when Abreu signs elsewhere would have been great but will end up in LA now. F*ck!

  8. decatur7 on February 10th, 2009 7:51 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head, JerBear. Perhaps the thing that impresses me the most about Z is how savvy he is with the beat writers and mainstream press while being such a stathead’s dream. He’s a magician.

  9. Mike Snow on February 10th, 2009 7:52 pm

    Can you give some examples of the second tier bats you refer to?

    One of them was discussed not that long ago.

  10. justinh on February 10th, 2009 7:56 pm

    The Angels have fast become an older and injury-plagued team. Figgins, Kendrick, Escobar, and that Vlad guy. Obviously they are the team to beat odds-wise, but Abreu for all they lost. Also referring to the fact that some of their prospects have not panned out. Saunders gets the wins, but doesn’t have “Amazing Stuff”.

    At this point I think Oakland is looking pretty scary considering they have to build a team for the new park, Beane is going to go after a top-notch SP, and they have players who can walk and hit. Their RP maybe the best in the west and one or two starters could land them atop the West. If Barton can come around, and he did the second half of the year, watch out. Giambi and Holliday with guys who can play nice defense and get on base is pretty tough 1-2. Also, Justin D was simply nasty as a starter and has wicked stuff. Chavez is supposed to be healthy, we will see. Lastly, you know Beane is not done.

    Here is their lineup as of Feb. 10 and Cust is penciled at RF but is a zoo in the OF, even though he has been working all off-season.

    1. CF Ryan Sweeney

    2. RF Jack Cust

    3. LF Matt Holliday

    4. DH Jason Giambi

    5. 3B Eric Chavez

    6. 2B Mark Ellis

    7. C Kurt Suzuki

    8. 1B Daric Barton

    9. SS Bobby Crosby

    Let’s not pay an extra 3 million for Abreu over Anderson.

  11. hub on February 10th, 2009 8:32 pm

    This brings us to a question: at what salary threshold is signing Junior considered ‘terrible’? Not just what is a ‘good’ or ‘solid’ salary for 2009…but at what point does the salary become unacceptable (and therefore a blatantly ‘bad’ move by Jack-Z)?

    A) Anything over 500k is terrible?
    B) Anything over 1mil is terrible?
    C) Anything over 2mil is terrible?
    D) Anything over 3mil is terrible?
    E) Anything over 4mil is terrible?

  12. mark s on February 10th, 2009 8:33 pm

    … and everyone can just move on with their lives.

    Well said.

  13. mymrbig on February 10th, 2009 8:43 pm

    I really don’t understand some of the anti-Griffey sentiment. I think we can all agree he shouldn’t play more than occasional OF. And he shouldn’t face more than the occasional LHP.

    But as a DH against RHP for a couple million bucks, I think he’s a really good signing. As long as he and Z have a nice, long chat about his role and Griffey is cool with it, then all should be well. He posted a .369 wOBA 2 years ago. His bat was league average last year, but at a low cost signing, I think it would be worth seeing if he could get back to a .369 wOBA.

    I mean, everyone was pooping all over themselves a couple months ago when the M’s signed Branyan for $1.4 million. Yet over the past 3 years Branyan hit .234/.336/.519 vs. RHP while Griffey hit .284/.378/.508 vs. RHP.

    If the M’s can get Griffey for $2 million guaranteed, plus some incentives, why not? And as for the argument that it will tarnish his memory or drive down attendance, I just don’t buy it. Sure, fans were probably bummed a little when Hank Aaron and Willie Mays returned “home” late in their careers and sucked. But those negative memories faded away pretty quick, as I doubt many people remember Aaron or Mays for sucking at the end of their careers. For a couple million, Griffey’s upside far outweighs his downside (with the caveats regarding his usage and attitude toward a reduced role).

  14. arbeck on February 10th, 2009 8:52 pm

    They wrote about his value on fangraphs around Christmas. They pegged his DH value at about 3 million. If you can get him for 2 million, it’s not a bad deal at all. You are probably better off finding someone young with upside, but he’s not the end of the world.

  15. That Bootleg Guy on February 10th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Wasn’t the “anti-anti-Griffey sentiment” discussed (and exhausted) a few posts ago?

    Also, Oakland GM Billy Beane is pretty much on record as saying he *is* done this offseason, save for the possible signing of O. Cabrera. He’s committed to starting the season with Duchscherer, Eveland, G. Gonzalez, Gallagher and Braden with Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson waiting in the AAA wings.

    I’m a long time A’s fan and I just don’t see how they contend with question marks on the infield corners, an absolute suckhole at SS and (best case) league-average production from 2B and CF. To say nothing of a rotation that features no one who’s ever thrown more than 140 innings in a Major League season.

  16. Slippery Elmer on February 10th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Is there really anything left worth discussing regarding Junior?

  17. Carson on February 10th, 2009 8:59 pm

    Steve Phillips just listed both the Angels and Mariners as two of the three worst off-seasons in baseball, though. So, why would Abreu choose either?

    Seriously. He ran a baseball team once.

  18. Ninja Jordan on February 10th, 2009 9:00 pm

    Fired-GM Steve Phillips of ESPN says we’ve had “one of the worst offseasons in baseball.”

  19. RaoulDuke37 on February 10th, 2009 9:08 pm

    I saw the Steve Phillips segment too. Who had the worst offseason?

    Philadelphia – Ibanez 3/30
    Tampa Bay – Burrell 2/16
    Seattle – ? 1/?

  20. Ninja Jordan on February 10th, 2009 9:23 pm

    it was something like seattle, milwaukee, LAA

  21. Sports on a Schtick on February 10th, 2009 9:30 pm

    Are we allowed to question Steve Phillip’s fandom of baseball? Because this guy time and time again demonstrates he just doesn’t get it.

  22. Jeff Nye on February 10th, 2009 9:37 pm

    Is there really anything left worth discussing regarding Junior?

    No, there’s not.

  23. jwgrandsalami on February 10th, 2009 9:38 pm

    This is disappointing. I for one really wanted to see Abreu here as I think he would be helpful to the younger Venezuelan players we have — and obviously it’s always good to add a .400 OBP guy to the lineup. When’s the last time a Mariner regular had a .400 OBP over a full season? Probably has to be Ichiro in ’04 when he set the hits record and batted .372.

    The full blame here has to go to Chuck Armstrong. Considering I can’t remember the last GOOD thing he did for the franchise (if we don’t count hiring Jack Z) I think Armstrong should be fired. He overruled the team’s general manager, who had a trade in place to get rid of Washburn’s entire contract in ’08 and ’09, substituting his “non-baseball guy” opinion that the M’s weren’t getting enough back in talent. He was even stupid enough to admit publicly that it was his doing, cause he was certain Washburn would have more value in the winter.

    Of course Washburn has no value and the M’s aren’t getting rid of him now without paying 3/4 of his $10 mil salary. And now Armstrong and Co. have decided to hamstring their new GM by cutting the payroll despite Armstrong’s blunder. Another $10 million would buy a lot in this market, perhaps Abreu and a Ray Durham-like pickup.

    I think I’m gonna head off now to see if the URL FireChuckArmstrong.com is available…

  24. wabbles on February 10th, 2009 9:45 pm

    And, trust us on this, after watching that game where BOTH Ibanez and Wilkerson FELL DOWN LIKE LITTLE LEAGUERS (excuse me, BAD Little Leaguers) chasing flyballs, we KNOW “cover-your-eyes-awful” in the outfield! But this does telescope the market a bit more. Given the greater confidence I have in the current FO, I’m not as worried. But maybe we should take the hometown discount and sign Griffey at this point. I’m assuming, of course, he’ll do what his father did and retire before further embarassing himself (if things reach that point). Griffey Sr. did retire, didn’t he? Or did we actually have to cut him?

  25. TranquilPsychosis on February 10th, 2009 10:08 pm

    I’d take junior at $1m all day long. In Safeco anyway. Granted, he’s not what he was, but how many are at his age (please leave the Bonds comments at the door where they belong)that still might be able to crank out some power in this park?

    Junior may not be as great a player as he was, but then again, he may actually be better than he has been recently. And for that price, I think it might be worth the risk.

    I told a friend 2 weeks ago that I would take jr for no more than $2m. If we could get him at half that, so much the better. But almost exclusively as a DH. Let’s be real enough to keep him out of the field except for “special” occasions.

    I know it’s a stretch but, honestly, for cheap, how bad could it be?

  26. Kazinski on February 10th, 2009 10:25 pm

    And pray tell, why should the Bonds comments be left at the door? Barry obviously should be mostly limited to DH duty, but I think his defense is likely to be better than Griffey’s. His legal troubles would be a big hurdle, but the Governments case seems to be in fair amount of trouble. If the Judge throws out all the Anderson related evidence, as she is likely to do, Barry has a pretty good chance of walking (something he’s good at). At that point he should be no more tainted than the other 104 of his fellow major leaguers.

    Then he and Bedard can keep each other company in the locker room while they’re stiffing the press. Maybe with two of them the Mariners could justify hiring Steve Carleton to handle media relations for his two fellow left handers.

  27. ThundaPC on February 10th, 2009 10:28 pm

    Fired-GM Steve Phillips of ESPN says we’ve had “one of the worst offseasons in baseball.”

    One Year Ago…

    Steve Phillips: “With the acquisition of Carlos Silva and the big trade that just went down with Erik Bedard, the Mariners are now the favorites to win the AL West…”

  28. TranquilPsychosis on February 10th, 2009 10:28 pm

    Pardon Kazinski,

    I was more referring to the snarky comments. But you do make good points.

    Let’s sign Bonds for $2m!

  29. Kazinski on February 10th, 2009 11:08 pm

    $2m, plus incentives, after his trial, and a physical of course. Here are the UZR/150 ratings for a few outfielders, everybody but Bonds the numbers are for 2006/2008, for Bonds they are 2006/2007:

    Ken Griffey Jr. -33.8/-21.7
    Manny Ramirez -26.4/-6.7
    Bobby Abreu -14.8/-25.9
    Raul Ibanez -5.3/-11.0
    Barry Bonds -1.9/-8

    And Bonds 2009 Marcel projections:
    .254/.415/.472, and 193AB (ouch).

    Needless to say I’m a huge Bonds fan, I used to watch his father and God-father play together when I was a kid.

  30. eponymous coward on February 11th, 2009 12:06 am

    Oh, God, ThundaPC, that’s funny stuff. I guess I shouldn’t make any travel plans in October, then, given Steve Phillips’ track record…

  31. Breadbaker on February 11th, 2009 12:48 am

    And Bonds 2009 Marcel projections:
    .254/.415/.472, and 193AB (ouch).

    AB isn’t a great Bonds stat. What you need is PA, which is 248 if I’m reading the chart right. So 55 walks, which would have put him second on the 2008 Mariners after Raul. Using up only 144 outs.

  32. DaveValleDrinkNight on February 11th, 2009 12:54 am


    The second most beautifull day of the year is so close. Pitchers and Catchers report in a few weeks, man it’s always great.

    Opening Day isn’t that far away, neither is warm weather. Which means it’s only a couple of months untill sunshine and ICHIRO!!!

    I’ve placed a personal moratorium on statistics untill Opening Day. I just want the season to start so I can enjoy Baseball.

  33. terry on February 11th, 2009 3:58 am

    Well if they are going to spend $1M on Jr, they might as well spend $5M on Dunn. Marcels thinks there is a 20 run difference between their bats over a full season (Dunn: wOBA=.370; J: wOBA= .330).

    That’s kind of significant….

    If the point is to get a legit bat to DH that is preferably left-handed, then Dunn is the prototype. What’s more, his price is depressed and he very well might sign for a year.

  34. Osfan on February 11th, 2009 4:44 am

    Steve Phillips: “With the acquisition of Carlos Silva and the big trade that just went down with Erik Bedard, the Mariners are now the favorites to win the AL West…”

    We will be able to enjoy Steve Phillips’ pearls of wisdom on a regular basis as he will be working with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball this year. Sometimes, I think the World Wide Leader is being deliberately antagonistic.

  35. msb on February 11th, 2009 6:53 am

    lessee, we are now about 50 hours from pitchers & catchers ….

  36. rightwingrick on February 11th, 2009 7:34 am

    If Griffey has lost the weight, his knee is repaired, and he doesn’t have to play defense, I think he does help the team. .260/.350 with 25 HR and 85 RBI is one heck of a lot better than we’ve been getting our of our DH dark hole! And his ability to bring some enthusiasm and interest back to a SafeCo crowd should not be underestimated…it’s turned into a mumbling masoleum in there. At the right price, I think it’s a no-brainer sign.

  37. dgarnett on February 11th, 2009 7:58 am

    Dave, I’m curious about your comment re: it would have taken the M’s almost 40% more money to sign Abreu away from the Angles. Has there been any statistic or research showing the perceived “negative value” of playing in the northwest?

    I understand when MLB players say “it’s about the greatest chance to win” etc, but i have a hard time believing that every player has the same motivations for signing one contract over the other. You’ve already de-bunked the travel myth, so I’m curious why the thought that it takes the M’s 40% more to sign a player is so pervasive.

    Maybe at a certain amount of money it just doesn’t matter anymore, but I’d think the 10% difference in no WA state income tax + lower cost of living would be a good incentive for most players. Can anyone pay me 3M per year so we can test this theory out? 🙂

  38. AssumedName on February 11th, 2009 8:37 am

    Is there a bright side here, in that Abreu’s deal might bring down Dunn’s asking price? I’d love to see him pound the Hit it Here Cafe windows a few times.

  39. Dave on February 11th, 2009 8:57 am

    Dunn wasn’t to play here. If you pay him 4/50 or something, he might change his mind, but if he’s taking a one year bargain deal, he’s not going to sign here. He’ll just go to Washington, play with Kearns, and still get to take the field by sticking in the NL.

  40. bakomariner on February 11th, 2009 9:08 am

    I’ve been looking at other sites and Angels fans are loving this deal…I would have loved Abreau here as the DH, but nothing more…if he plays in the outfield, they are going to have the worst outfield defense in the division by far…

    And if we now have to settle on Griffey or Anderson, I’m going to have to want Griffey…all other arguments aside (revenue, attitude, nostalgia), if they bring in Anderson, he’s going to want to play LF and that will look a lot like Raul out there…

    So now that Bobby is off the board, I’m going to have to lean to the sign Griffey camp…I’d rather them bring in a more expensive guy (Hudson or Dunn), but with the payroll what it is, Griff seems like the safest option to not handcuff the future…

  41. TranquilPsychosis on February 11th, 2009 9:57 am

    Well if they are going to spend $1M on Jr, they might as well spend $5M on Dunn.

    Who would you trade to free up that kind of money on the budget?

  42. pshmidget on February 11th, 2009 10:14 am

    Spend $5 mil on Dunn? He’s not going to play in the AL. At least, not Seattle – he said that.
    And Bonds better defensivly than Jr? I’m sorry, has anyone seen him putter around LF the last few years? His knees are worse than Jr’s.
    It’s one thing to argue stats, and another to argue a player’s desires.
    Desire = motivation.

  43. msb on February 11th, 2009 10:16 am

    Dunn wasn’t to play here. If you pay him 4/50 or something, he might change his mind, but if he’s taking a one year bargain deal, he’s not going to sign here.

    Hickey concurs:

    “Dunn is a close buddy of Griffey’s and he knows Junior wants to come back to Seattle. Even were that not the case, Dunn is said to be less than enthusiastic about playing in the Northwest. He’s got an offer on the table from the Nationals, and he apparently would do better with Washington in D.C. than in Washington with Seattle.”

  44. Omerta on February 11th, 2009 11:52 am

    Fired-GM Steve Phillips of ESPN says we’ve had “one of the worst offseasons in baseball.”

    One Year Ago…

    Steve Phillips: “With the acquisition of Carlos Silva and the big trade that just went down with Erik Bedard, the Mariners are now the favorites to win the AL West…”

    Phillips is like bizarro world Jack Zduriencik…or normal world Bill Bavasi.

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