MLB: LF Bobby Abreu Steadily Becoming Valuable Asset for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Matt WagnerCorrespondent IIMay 17, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 13:  A.J. Ellis #17, James Loney #7, and Bobby Abreu #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after they score on Ellis' three run home run in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 13, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers have returned to earth following their record-approaching 9-1 start, posting a rather pedestrian 15-12 mark since that promising beginning. However, their overall record of 24-13 is good enough for a lead of 5.5 games over the rest of the otherwise struggling National League West division. 

The Dodgers were in need of help at left field with the struggles of Juan Rivera and Tony Gwynn Jr. at the position, so the team decided to acquire 38-year-old veteran left fielder Bobby Abreu mere days after he was released by the slumping Los Angeles Angels.

When Abreu became the newest member of the Dodgers on May 4 via a one-year contract, I considered him to be more of a depth chart filler, rather than an actual contributor. However, I, and I am almost certain the rest of the MLB community and fans, are pleasantly surprised with the Venezuelan left fielder's progress.

Abreu is batting .255 with nine runs batted in since he signed on the dotted line less than two weeks ago, and he has provided much needed improvement at the position since his arrival in Los Angeles. Abreu has been a steady contributor for the team both in the batters box as well as on the field, which was an area in need of improvement with the inconsistencies of SS Dee Gordon, 3B Juan Uribe and reserve LF Tony Gwynn Jr. 

Since his Dodgers debut on May 4, Los Angeles has posted a record of 7-5 in series against the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, and the team has seemed to right the ship concerning fielding fundamentals. Abreu has been playing a large role in that recent improvement. As of this writing, the Dodgers are beating the San Diego Padres in the series finale 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

There is definitely reason for continued optimism in Los Angeles regarding the Boys in Blue, and Bobby Abreu is yet another unexpected surprise in the Dodgers' 2012 season.