Since it remains to be seen whether the Curtis Granderson deal will work out for the Yankees, this writer will withhold criticism on that deal, although there is still a chance it may be a bust.
So in considering the worst mistake Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman has made in the past two years, focus will be on the one he let get away.
Bobby Abreu was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies and at the end of the 2008 season he became a free agent.
In 2008 he had slugged 30 home runs and had 100 RBI. But the Yankees chose not to re-sign him and let him go in the free agent market. He was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels for an unbelievable bargain price of $5 million for the 2009 season.
In 2009, playing for the Western Division champs, Abreu hit .293 with an on base percentage of .390, an OPS of .825, an OPS+ of 116. He scored 96 runs, drove in 103 and stole 30 bases. He also struck out 113 times.
Instead of trying to bring Abreu back, Cashman traded for Nick Swisher.
When the trade was first made, Mark Teixeira had not yet been signed by the Yanks and Swisher was being brought over to take Jason Giambi's place at first base.
But Swisher had hit only .219 in 2008 with the White Sox and was known for striking out far too much.
Swisher started the 2009 season in a reserve role. But when Xavier Nady went down with an elbow injury, Swisher became the regular right fielder.
Swisher hit .249 for New York last year. He had an OBP of .371, an OPS of .869 and an OPS+ of 129. He scored 84 runs and drove in 82. And he struck out 126 times.
Cashman should have tried to keep Abreu in the Bronx. He would have been a bargain at $5 million or even something above that. As the 2010 season starts, Bobby will turn 36. But he still has speed.
He is not the best defensive right fielder, but he is certainly equal to Swisher there, if not better.
Abreu was an important cog in the lineup of the Yankees and he could still be a great tool if Cashman had not let him go without even trying to keep him.
In this one fan's opinion, letting Bobby Abreu go is the biggest mistake Brian Cashman has made in the last two years. Curtis Granderson could change my mind. We will wait and see.
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