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September 19, 2008 at 6:00 am ET
Bobby Abreu: Keep him or ditch him?

Bobby AbreuWhat should the New York Yankees do with Bobby Abreu? That is, quite possibly, the most agonizing in an off-season sure to be filled with difficult decisions.

Considering that he had what might be his best night as a Yankee Thursday, homering twice and driving in six runs, now is as good a time as any to discuss it.

Abreu is a free agent at the end of this season, and the decision on whether or not to bring Abreu back will go a long way toward shaping what the Yankee lineup looks like in 2009.

Let’s lay out the pros and cons.

Keep him

The guy can still hit. He has 95 RBIs and likely will end the season with at least 100 RBI for the sixth consecutive season. He is a guy who produces runs without the home run. He runs decently — one more stolen base will give him 11 years of 20 or more stolen bases. He still works counts as well as anybody and draws walks, even though his on-base percentage has been below his career average in each of the last two seasons.

Offense has been an issue for the Yankees this season, and it seems counter-productive to let a terrific offensive player leave.

Who would replace him? There won’t be any young, athletic outfielders on the free-agent market who can match his offensive production. Manny Ramirez could, but that’s another discussion.

Ditch him

Abreu will be 35 next season. He is still good, but his declining OBP (.370 before last night vs. a .405 career mark) indicates that he isn’t quite what he used to be. The Yankees need to find players with futures, instead of those trying to hold on to their pasts.

Abreu is a terrible defensive outfielder. The only regular right fielders with worse Revised Zone Ratings are Magglio Ordonez of Detroit, and the Yankees own Xavier Nady. Plus, he doesn’t throw nearly as well as his reputation would have you believe.

The Yankees need to get better defensively, and an outfield with both Nady and Abreu in it will be awful, no matter who is in center field. The Yanks are committed to Nady for next season, and will still also have Johnny Damon, whose defensive skills are also abominable.

Their only hope for getting more athletic and better defensively is to let Abreu go.

The decision

I think the Yankees have to let Abreu go. They have to get a little younger, a little more athletic, a little more flexible and a lot better defensively. They can’t do that with an outfield of Abreu, Nady and Damon. They have been about offense for too many years, and that hasn’t worked. So, to me it has to be bye-bye, Bobby.

Your thoughts?

Peter Abraham Fact of the Day

Did you really have to go here, Pete, pointing out that Joe Torre’s Dodgers have won 15 of 18 (the kind of streak the Yankees needed weeks ago) and are headed to the playoffs?

Final Game

I will most likely live blog the final game at Yankee Stadium Sunday night, so be sure to stop by.

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17 Responses to “Bobby Abreu: Keep him or ditch him?”
  1. Domed says:


    This year you have a good selection of power hitting bad fielding outfielders. Chances are you get someone other than Abreu. But if Yankees don’t want to look like the oldest team in the big leagues, they should pass on older free agents and go younger.

    As far as Joe Torre goes, his Dodgers still play in the worst division in baseball and he’s winning against the worst teams that any team could possibly play against. I guess going 15 of 18 is an achievement. But then what about those 8 losses in a row just before this streak? Those losses count too.

  2. Ed Valentine says:

    Torre. What it comes down to is he is going to the playoffs and the Yankees aren’t.

  3. B.E. Earl says:

    I hate to say it, but ditch.

    I love Bobby’s bat, but is there a worse OFer in baseball going back to the wall? You would think it was electrified or something. And I don’t recall seeing him dive for a ball. Ever. Bye, bye.

  4. coops2001 says:

    I’m torn. His OBP is down, .371 from his career .404, as well as his slugging – .476 from his career .498. Plus he is a poor fielder and at 35 won’t be getting better.

    That said, our biggest problem is scorring runs and he’s second in RBIs after Arod, and third is Giambi. So if Giambi goes, do we want to give up that run production? I haven’t seen recent numbers, but as of Aug 20, his RISP was .291, so I don’t think he’s part of the problem.

    I guess I would go with a 2 year contract, below the $15M he makes today. I’d basically count on him as a stop gap, unless we can get someone younger/better.

  5. coops2001 says:

    Can’t resist commenting on Chalk’s desperate attempt to get someone to read his latest post on Evan Longoria’s intro music:

    “Down And Out” by Tantric [according to wikipedia] [WARNING: hot scantily clad chick in video]

    If smart, insightful commentary on baseball doesn’t work, go with what has worked for Madison avenue..

  6. BAKMAN says:

    Post #4 lays out the real problem. I agree we don’t need to built everything around offense. That plan is a failure however losing your #2,and #3 RBI guy’s will be a lot to overcome. At the end of the day I think the Yankees are going to be forced to keep either Giambi or Abreu. The real question is which one? I;m not crazy about the choice but unless something better is available then Abreu should stay and Giambi should go.

  7. Jeff says:

    Bakman put it quite nicely. They can’t just get rid of all the older guys that are driving in runs unless they find comparable replacements.

  8. Ed Valentine says:

    When it comes to older guys driving in runs, remember two older guys who drive in runs — Matsui and Posada — barely played this year. There have to be places for them. Just tossing this out there — no idea if I even like it — but what about letting Abreu go and having Nady in right, Damon in left, signing Juan Rivera to caddy for both of them and going out and finding a center fielder? If you can’t find one, give Gardner a full shot. You have Matsui to DH and Posada to catch. In that scenario, I don’t think you really miss Abreu.

  9. coops2001 says:

    The scarey thing is the dependencies that are building:
    – We need Posada to be healthy and catch (e.g., not DH full time)
    – We need Matsui to stay healty as a DH
    – We need to find a CFer
    – Gardner needs to be capable as a backup

    This may all happen, but I remember back to spring when we depended on IPK and Hughes, and that didn’t work (at least this year). We also need a dependable bench, something that was a strengh for the Yankees in the last 90s and wasn’t this year. Lots of work needed.

  10. Jeff says:

    Good point Ed. If you get a healthy Matsui and Posada and they can each drive in 80-90 runs, you can axe Abreu without too much concern. I’m still up in the air about Giambi, though. If you have Matsui as DH, and assuming the Yanks pick up a first baseman (someone like Teixeira), I don’t see the need for the Stache.

  11. coops2001 says:

    If it’s a choice between Stache and Abreu, I’d go with Abreu. I like Giambi, seems like an okay guy, but Abreau’s stats are more consistant and he’s got better speed.

  12. Ed Valentine says:

    No, trash the ‘stache (where have I heard that before?). DH probably needs to be left to Matsui, and they need to find a guy who can handle first base both offensively and defensively. Gotta get away from these one-dimensional players. It’s the same reason I favor getting rid of Abreu.

  13. FrankDiscussion says:

    I’d sign Abreu, but it would have to be a very club friendly deal. 2 years maximum.

  14. Anarchist Accountant says:

    Who cares? Aren’t there any important players or important teams to talk about?

  15. Ed Valentine says:

    Like it or not AA, my function here is to write about the Yankees, and I do it for YANKEES FANS. I really don’t care what non-Yankee fans think. Abreu’s status is one Yankee fans care about.

  16. coops2001 says:

    Anarchist: Maybe there are more important teams, but no one seems to care. Just look at the site and do the math. It’s pretty obvious. At least Yankee fans care about their team. And if you are correct, why haven’t you been posting on those posts??? Balls in your court, put your money and your words where your mouth is. Your presense on Ed’s post proves you wrong.

  17. Anarchist Accountant says:

    You can call it whatever you want, Coops…but you have 7 bitter and boring myopic non-baseball fans talking about meaningless players and teams.

    I’m talking about the playoffs, to which all of this crap is worthless.



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