Bobby Abreu: The Real Reason for Phillies Recent Success

John MulhernContributor IAugust 13, 2008

A day before the 2006 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies made the move that set up their 2007 Playoff appearance and the playoff push that they are currently making in 2008. While the four minor league players they acquired have played sparingly since the trade is an inconsequential fact.

This trade goes far deeper than just the movement of a few players. To truly understand what this trade has accomplished, we must look at the Phillies before this deal was completed.

While it is impossible to deny that Bob Abreu has put up some impressive statistics, any true baseball fan can tell that these statistics do in fact lie. Abreu loves to pride him self on having a long streak of consecutive 20-20 seasons, if you watched him play with the Phillies it was obvious that he at times, was out there to get his statistics and just that.

For example Abreu thrived in ninth inning situations when the Phillies were already down by eight runs. In these circumstances our man Bobby would come up and proceed to get a single and then steal second.

During the last three years he was in Philadelphia he must have done this or something very similar at least twenty five times. He was able to bloat his numbers to All-Star caliber, on paper he appeared to be one of the best five tool guys in recent memory. In reality, Abreu is more of a three maybe four tool guy. 

Alas the one thing that could not be stomached: his defense. 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. Bobby played the field with the tenacity of Mother Teresa. A few outfield assists does not qualify you for the most prestigious defensive awards in baseball.

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.

Trading Bobby Abreu ushered in a new era of Phillies baseball. With former veterans Jim Thome, Placido Polanco, Kevin Millwood, and Bobby Abreu gone players like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels could step up and become the leaders of the team.

With these young guys leading the team a whole new attitude was adopted. A never say die attitude, this team was filled with scrappy talented players who were ready to fight for a win everyday. With this young core of blue collar guys the Phillies made the 2007 playoffs and look like they will make it again in 2008.