Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Should Mets have signed Bobby Abreu?

Jon Heyman of SI reports that Bobby Abreu has signed with the Angels for $5 million, plus incentives. Seems like a real bargain for a player who batted third in the Yankees' powerful lineup and hit .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBI last year. And, since the Yankees did not offer him arbitration, Abreu won't even cost the Angels a draft pick.

It's one thing to balk at paying Manny Ramirez money. But the Mets will lose more money than they are saving by not signing Abreu if they miss the playoffs as a result.

Can Ryan Church play like he did at the start of last season? Can Daniel Murphy continue to build on his impressive debut? If so, the Mets will be better off not signing another left-handed outfielder.

There are a couple of other reasons it might be good not to have Abreu on the team. The Yankees made no effort to keep him even though he was still productive. Do they know something? The market for Abreu did turn out to be remarkably bad. If the Mets had signed Abreu, it would have meant signing a Yankee castoff.

And speaking of the Phillies, they were also quite happy to get rid of Abreu, getting almost nothing in return when they sent him to the Yankees in the middle of 2006. And in the following two seasons, the Phillies made the playoffs both times and won the World Series. Meanwhile, with Abreu on the team, the Yankees saw their postseason streak end in 2008.

Could Abreu be a "cooler," as A-Rod has been accused of being? So far, the worst thing anyone has said about Abreu is that he doesn't like to go near the wall. But after what happened to Ryan Church last year, Met fans might reasonably hope that the team's current right fielder avoids the wall and steers clear of potential collisions that could trigger another concussion.

The Mets badly needed K-Rod and a starter like Oliver Perez. They were not cheap when they had to fill these positions (unless you feel that they should have spent $24 million more to get Derek Lowe). But the need for another left-handed outfielder was not as great, even if it's likely that Abreu has a better year than Church or Murphy. If the Mets had a certain amount money to spend as they claim, they spent it in the right places.

And the way these signings of players in their mid-thirties often work out for the Mets, Abreu could get hurt or suddenly lose his skills. Look at what happened to Roberto Alomar (who is in the news today for much more troubling reasons). Imagine how Met fans would turn on Abreu if he could not replicate his star performances with the Mets' biggest rivals - the Yankees and Phillies.

So passing on Abreu does not seem so bad as of now. But the pressure on Church and Murphy just went up.

Once his price went down, should the Mets have signed Bobby Abreu? Tell us what you think.


mhochman said...

No, i just can't see him fitting in with the Mets, I would really like to have seen us pick up an outfielder. but not just for the sake of having a new warm body out there.

At this point however, i think Omar should make Manny an offer, even if its high money for a short deal, 2 years $50-60 mil.

Uncle Mike said...

Citi Field (or whatever name it ends up having) is going to have a 330-foot right-field pole and a 383-foot right-center power alley. That's not the short porch at Yankee Stadium or Citizens Bank Park, although hitting at Veterans Stadium before it closed didn't seem to hurt Abreu much.

But it looks like the Mets want Citi Field to be as much of a pitcher's park as Shea Stadium was, and Abreu wouldn't have been happy with that.

Just look at the stats for both Bobby Murcer and Graig Nettles in 1973 and '74, when they went from the pre-renovation Stadium and its 296 to the pole and 344 to straightaway right, to Shea with its then 341 to the pole and 358 to straightaway right. (Of course, when Murcer went to San Francisco the next season, Shea seemed like a dream to him, compared to Candlestick Park.)

I've never known Abreu to have a bad attitude. But neither has he been much of a hustling player. Put him in that mix with Reyes and Beltran, and the talk of "Los Mets, no hay prisa" (The Mets, there is no hustle) will start up again.

And there is no escaping it: 1998 to 2005, the Phillies with Abreu don't come close to the postseason; 2006, the Phils trade him and just miss, the Yanks get him and are knocked out in the Division Series; 2007, the Phils just miss and the Yanks get knocked out in the Division Series; 2008, the Yanks miss the Playoffs completely and the Phils go all the way. "Addition by subtraction," anyone?

I've always liked Abreu, even in Philly, but the results speak for themselves. And if there's one thing the Mets don't need for 2009, it's someone with a proven record of disappointing.

Ryan O said...

Abreu is one of those players that puts up great stats but somehow doesn't make the team better. I was never scared of him in clutch situations when he was on the Phillies. He would either walk of make an out.

I think we have enough hitting, its basically up to the starting pitching. Good starting pitching takes the pressure off of everything.


1)Johan - i think will be better after getting the first year in NY under his belt.

2)Pelfrey - Hopefully he will continue the growth he experienced from last year. No limit to his innings this year.

3)Perez - Pitches great against good teams...pitches bad against crappy teams. Cut down the walks please.

4)Maine - No idea what to expect after surgery.

5)Redding / Garcia / Niese - I would sign up right now to win 50% of their combined starts.

Anonymous said...

not upset/disappointed about abreu. the one that intrigued me was Dunn though. probably would've taken less to play in NY too.

Ryan O said...

We don't want Dunn....way too many strikeouts and definately not known as a clutch hitter or solid defender.

Whats the lineup now?

Anonymous said...

tatis and murphy are both known for their stellar defense and clutch hitting, right? oh and their 5 yrs of 40 hr's and 4 of 5 years of 100+ rbi's? I forgot.

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