There are a number of things the Indians can do in the wake of Grady Sizemore’s injury.  As I pointed out in my post earlier today, this could give a young player or a minor league invite a chance to step forward and claim a spot in the outfield.

Is that a good idea?  Should the Indians stand pat and just hope that they’re able to solve this problem internally, or should they take action?

I’d like to propose one possible scenario, and perhaps consider other options as they present themselves.

The current scenario: acquire Bobby Abreu.

Now as it’s already been established, the Angels have a surplus (BINGO).  Abreu looks to get pushed from a full-time role to a part-time role and is not happy about that.  It was rumored that the Yankees and Angels considered an Abreu-A.J. Burnett deal, but that Burnett did not want to pitch on the west coast.  It’s obvious that the Angels are looking to offload Abreu, especially since he’s already made it very clear that he does not want to play part-time.

Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives of an Abreu deal:

- He’s in the final year of a three year, $27 million deal, so he’s set to make $9 million this season.  While that’s a little steep for an aging outfielder, perhaps the Angels can be enticed to pay some of that salary.

- He’s 37, so it’s entirely possible that he’s past his prime.  His stats took a slide over the past two seasons, so it could be the result of a decline.

- Abreu is a left-handed bat, of which the Indians already have plenty.

- While a career .293/.397.481 hitter, in 2011 he hit .253/.353/.365 with 8 home runs and a 1.3 WAR.  He managed to steal 21 bases and had a good walk rate.

- Since 2007, he’s at 500+ at-bats a season, which means he’s pretty durable.

- Abreu has always had great plate discipline.

- Even though he only hit 8 home runs last year, he hit 20 in 2010, 15 in 2009, 20 in 2008 and 16 in 2007.  Again, this could be a sign of a power decline, or he could’ve just had a bad year last season (or some combination of both).

- A veteran like Abreu would be able to provide guidance to young players.

So as you can see, it’s kind of a toss up.  He’s pricey and may be in a decline, but he still may have enough left to help the team.  If it looks like he may not get a full-time position as Spring Training progresses, the Angels may get desperate to move him (since he’s made it clear he prefers a trade to a role on the bench).  I’m not sure if I’d panic and run out and start grabbing players tomorrow, as the Indians did when trying to fill the void left by Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia, but I’d definitely keep an eye on the Abreu situation.  If all of the players in the mix for the Angels remain healthy, the Indians may be able to get a great deal on Abreu (the odd man out).  I’ve always been in Abreu fan (back to his days with the Phillies) and wouldn’t mind seeing him with the Tribe.

4 Comments

  • jigboy says:

    I too am an Abreu fan as his OBP and high BB rate were always sought after. Like you mentioned though, he’s old, and has been declining over the past 3 years. Yes he could provide that mentorship like OCAB did with ACAB so its interesting to consider that aspect. The Angels would have to eat a lot of that contract and I don’t know who we’d trade for him. Probably some AA SP with moderate upside. And what happens when Grady gets back? Granted that is a big if, but I was under the belief that if he’s healthy, he’ll be playing, and I doubt we send Brantley down to AAA or use him in a OF utility capacity. Depth is good but Abreu may look at it from an aspect that when Grady gets back he may be the odd man out.

  • Will McIlroy says:

    Too many negatives on Abreu (contract, age, declining production). Agree with Jigboy, our outfield is already crowded and this idea smacks of a short short term band aid. Brantley is capable and needs room to develop as the next CF (we have no one else anyway).

    Save the money for a more timely deal later, if needed.

  • medfest says:

    If they can get Abreu for next to nothing and pay him less than 4.5 million a year I’d say he’s worth a shot.

    What about a A.J. Burnett type of deal for Vernon Wells?
    That would take some stones to pull off and he’s a better fit,but oy that contract!

    I’m souring rapidly on Brantley,he’s looking like a #4 outfielder and nothing more.

  • jigboy says:

    If Brantley were horrible in the field I too would be “souring” on him but he can more than hold his own with his speed and glove. But yes, his bat is a #4 OF on most ML teams. Maybe if he stole around 30 bags and his OBP was a little better, but as of now he would be risky as a leadoff option. That could all change if it starts to click and transfer his minor league numbers to the big leagues. This will be a big year for him in the sense that last year was for Laporta. If Brantley can’t bring it this year then 2 of our big chips for C.C. significantly lose their value.