Bobby Abreu and the L.A. Angels: A Perfect Fit?

Nicky G GiammarcoContributor IFebruary 12, 2009

Bobby Abreu has reportedly reached an agreement for a one year, $5 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels plan on reporting the deal Thursday, pending Abreu’s physical results taken on Wednesday.

Over the course of his career, Abreu has been a model source for consistency -- he has a .405 career OBP --, but has he finally reached a decline due to his age?  Defensively, maybe.  Offensively?  The man can still produce.  And that is exactly what the Angels need, as they ranked 15th in baseball in runs scored last season.

Abreu won’t hit 35 home runs or pile up 120-plus RBIs, but he can still hit a modest 20 homers with 100 RBI and 100 runs scored.  Oh, and he can still move on the base paths, something the Angels are familiar with.  They ranked fifth in the majors with 129 steals. 

Bobby will without a doubt help boost that total with his incredible penchant for finding a way to get on base. 

Angel Stadium is often referred to as a pitchers park, but the park had a modest 1.90 homeruns per game in 2008, while Yankee Stadium, Abreu’s former home, wasn’t too far behind with 1.98 homeruns per game.  Players can perform there. 

The thing is, the Angels don’t have the potent offensive weapons that the Yankees do, and even Mighty Abreu might not be able to help out such an anemic offense.  Especially, since his career stats at Angel Stadium are nothing to write home about.

In 15 games, he has hit just one home run, has a sparkling average of .210, and five RBIs.  Total that with his 5/13 BB to K ratio, one can only assume that pitchers truly do dominate in LA. 

But hey, nobody can be perfect, and this time around he won’t be facing the usually strong pitching squad of the Angels.  Instead, he’ll be trying to help that rotation win another AL West Division title. 

He provides leadership and experience at the top of the lineup, and while Vladimir Guerrero is no A-Rod, it will definitely give Vlad and fellow outfielder Torii Hunter more RBI opportunities.  With Chone Figgins leading off and Abreu in the two-hole, this could be a heavily under estimated top-four in baseball. 

However, one question stands out among others.  Why do the Angels continue to sign outfielders?  Abreu isn’t a spectacular fielder and Los Angeles has enough defensive prowess in Vlad, Hunter, Gary Mathews Jr., and even Juan Rivera. 

What’s the deal with the over crowding?  Yes it’s true they needed another bat, but wouldn’t Adam Dunn, signed the same day by the Washington Nationals, have been a better fit at first base?  They lost the bid war for Mark Teixeira, so couldn’t they have shelled out that money for the next best option at first in Dunn? 

Since 2005, Dunn has hit 160 HR and knocked in 399 RBI.  That is power the Angels could have used at first base.  Abreu on the other hand has hit only 75 HR since 2005.  He does have 11 more RBI than Dunn in that span, but when it comes to straight up power, there is no comparison of who would have been the better fit.

They obviously felt positive about Abreu in order to sign him.  He’s durable, can play both sides of the outfield, runs the bases well, and is a left-handed bat they needed badly, so the upside is there.  The need for another outfielder is not.  But who’s to complain when your record is consistently at the top? 

Alas, the signings are done as the team heads to spring training.  The Angels always manage to come out as one of baseball’s premier teams year in and year out, so one can’t really question management’s thought process. 

Manager Mike Scioscia will definitely have his hands full with daily roster adjustments, but he did it last year and he’ll do it again this year. 

The 2009 season opens with an idea that the Los Angeles Angels are the front runners to win their division and top the American League.  But one can’t stop to ask questions.

Will Abreu be enough to push them deep into the playoffs?  Or will that lack of finding power in the infield, specifically at first base, come back to haunt them?  Will Abreu digress offensively in a ball park he hasn’t particularly played well at over the course of his career?  How do you make all your outfielders happy in an overcrowded scenario?

The Angels were looking to answer questions about their offense this offseason.  Instead, they’ve only created more.