Jason Giambi signed a one-year, $5-million contract with the Oakland Athletics. Pat Burrell signed a two-year, $16-million deal with the Rays. These signings by two of Abreu's teammates indicate that Abreu must seriously come down from his reported asking price of three years, $45 million to $48 million.
Bobby Abreu for many years was a very underrated outfielder. Originally drafted by the Houston Astros, Abreu was selected by Tampa Bay in the expansion draft, and subsequently traded to Philadelphia for Kevin Stocker. Abreu seemed to fly under the radar constantly in Philadelphia, until he made the All-Star team in 2006 and set a first-round record for home runs in the Home Run Derby.
In Philadelphia, Abreu hit over .300 six different seasons, the only misses being .289 in 2001 and .286 in 2006 before he was handed over to the Yankees. After the trade in 2006, Abreu hit .330 for the Yankees the rest of the way, and hit .283 and .296 in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
As far as power is concerned, Abreu has seven 100-plus RBI seasons, and is usually good for 20 home runs, peaking with 30 in 2001, and 31 in 2004.
Defensively, though, is where Abreu has the eye of critics. The Bleacher Report contributor John Mulhern recently observed, "The fact that he was awarded a Gold Glove in 2005 is a complete sham. A total disgrace. Never has this award been abused to this degree."
Mulhurn continues, "One of the best things about Abreu was watching him go back on a deep fly ball, only to see him shy away once the wall came into view. Since he was traded the Phillies have been playing a new brand of baseball. They are playing the game the way it should be played."
Abreu has received similar criticism in New York. It was no surprise to Yankee fans when Abreu was not offered arbitration by New York. Brian Cashman realized that $16-million players are supposed to be the elite players of the game, and Abreu does not fit that profile anymore with his defense.
If the published reports are true, and Abreu really is insisting on getting his 2008 salary of $16 million for three more years, he is badly mistaken. In today's economic climate, Abreu must swallow his pride and meet the reality that teams are not willing to pay big bucks for a corner outfielder in his late 30's.
Get a grip.
If Pat Burrell and Jason Giambi are wise enough to find financial security and a chance to win, Abreu could easily do the same. The Mets could stand to improve their corner outfielder situation, and if the price is right, they could bite. Abreu could comfortably live in his New York condo.
The longer Abreu waits, the longer it is for any opportunities to dry up. Do yourself a favor: take the Burrell contract, Bobby.