Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where to Now, Bobby Abreu

Talk about running out of options.

With Milton Bradley and Pat Burrell signing with the Rays and Cubs respectively, one has to wonder where Abreu will wind up. Like many free agents, the market for Abreu has not developed and teams appear to be shying away from his high price tag.

Remember, it was just two months ago that Yankees GM Brian Cashman decided not to offer Abreu salary arbitration, which probably would have guaranteed Abreu a $16 million dollar salary in 2009. Now Abreu will be lucky to get $10 million.

So what's next for Abreu? With so few teams looking for corner outfielders and even fewer looking to spend money, Abreu could have a tough time finding a suitor, at his price.

Here are some of Abreu's potential destinations (that make sense):

Angels: The Angels are in dire need of another impact bat to hit in front of Vladimir Guerrero and Abreu would be a good fit. However, GM Tony Reagins has previously stated that the Angels will give their younger players a chance to fill the voids left by Garret Anderson and Mark Teixeira. If Reagins comes to his senses, the Angels could become serious competitors in the American League.

Braves: Right now, the Braves have no defined center fielder or left fielder. Unless they want to go with a combination of Josh Anderson, Gregor Blanco, and Matt Diaz; it might suit them well to give Abreu a look. He would give them some much needed depth to their lineup and a professional hitter to go along with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann. I'm not certain how the Braves would align their outfield, but how Abreu adjust to center or left has to be a concern.

Dodgers: If the Dodgers ultimately part ways with Manny Ramirez, Abreu could become an attractive option here. Abreu would give the Dodgers a professional hitter to mesh along with their abundance of young hitters. I think the Dodgers would prefer Adam Dunn to Bobby Abreu because of the light tower power that Dunn brings, but Abreu could become a lower cost option.

Mets: If by some long shot the Mets miss out on both Derek Lowe and Oliver Perez, then I could possibly see them making a run at Abreu...if his price comes down significantly. However, the Mets are very high on Daniel Murphy and the Mets need to remain focused on pitching. Abreu would be a luxury for the Mets, not a necessity.

Nationals: If the Nationals are serious about letting Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes compete for the center field spot, then they might actually have room for Abreu. And what a good fit he would be. Abreu would provide some stability and protection for Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson, if he's healthy. If Abreu wants a long term deal for 2010, his best bet might be taking a one year deal with the Nationals and putting up big numbers.

As you can see, it's slim pickings for Abreu. He'll find someplace to play, but I highly doubt that Abreu will come anywhere close to the 3 years/$48 million that he was looking for when free agency began. His price tag should come way down, in the one year range so he could potentially cash in as a free agent in 2010.

It's amazing to me that a guy who hit .296 with 20 HR and 100 RBI last season is struggling so mightily to find a job. Hell, this isn't a washed up Ken Griffey Jr. we're talking about here! But with the economy in such bad shape, someone had to pay the price. And right now, Bobby Abreu is paying a heavy price.

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