For all of the home runs disappearing into the night during the Derby this year, Bobby Abreu may be one of the most underrated or at least underappreciated players in the Majors right now. And it seems that his current employers, the Philadelphia Phillies, are looking to ship him away.
Abreu, who will be 32 come Opening Day 2006, holds impressive career stats. He has a batting line of .303/.411/.512. His .411 OBP is eighth highest among all active players. Furthermore, he presents a great combination of speed and power. He has two 30-30 seasons under his belt, and the 2005 campaign was his seventh straight 20-20 season. Only two players in Major League history – Barry and Bobby Bonds – have accomplished this feat.
But for all his reliability, Abreu did not come to fame until this 41-home runs spectacle in Detroit this All Star break. Now, his name is one of the hottest names on the trade market, and the Phillies’ attempts at trading him are quickly becoming among the worst guarded secrets in the game.
So far, over the last few weeks, the rumors have Bobby Abreu going…
…to the Yankees with catcher Mike Lieberthal in exchange for Carl Pavano, Jorge Posada, and third base prospect Eric Duncan (courtesy of The Morning Call Online).
…to the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells (courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer).
…to the Red Sox in a mega-blockbuster in exchange for Manny Ramirez (courtesy of The New York Post).
…to the Giants for Jason Schmidt (a rumor shot down by The Philadelphia Inquirer).
…to the Cardinals for Jason Marquis and Anthony Reyes (a rumor spread only through word-of-mouth on blogs, courtesy of Viva El Birdos).
With all of these names and teams swirling around the rumor mill, I wouldn’t be surprised frankly to see Abreu stay put in St. Louis. However, the Phillies recognize that now would be a good time to send Abreu away in exchange for some younger talent.
Abreu as a hitter though age 31 compares favorable to Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, according to Abreu’s Baseball Reference page. Bernie last had a good year at age 33. At age 34, his numbers declined precipitously with a 70-point drop in average and an 82-point drop in slugging the most drastic.
The Phillies have Abreu locked up through his age 32 and age 33 seasons. They hold a $16-million option for his age 34 year. But if comparables and a late-season power slump by Abreu are harbingers of things to come, this Phillies team may want to move one of their most popular players before it’s too late to get anything in return.