Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bobby's Slide

Around these parts Bobby Abreu's name still comes up when fans want to debate some of Pat Gillick's biggest moves. Far be it for me to recapitulate the arguments in all of their glorious details; suffice it to say I am with the camp whose chief complaint is over what the Phils got in return rather than the decision to move Bobby in the first place.

Despite hitting .330 for the 2006 Yankees over the last 58 games of the season, Abreu's power production continued to decline after he left Philadelphia and more telling, his OBP fell as well as he drew fewer walks. A quick glance at the current stats for Abreu would certainly support those who felt his career was already headed south when the Phils decided to part company with him. Abreu is batting an anemic .228 through yesterday (72 points below his career average) with a paltry 2 home runs and 22 RBI's. Worse, his OBP is .313, his SLG is .289 and he has walked 24 times in 50 games. The Yankees certainly didn't pick him up for his glove.

Abreu's decline dated from the Home Run Derby contest he won at the 2005 All-Star game but no matter what that dubious spectacle did to his swing, if anything, it shouldn't have affected his eyes. Abreu could always be counted on to walk 90 - 100 times a season but he is unlikely to reach that level at the current pace. Only 33 years old, the rate of Abreu's decline has begun to accelerate rapidly.

1 comment:

David said...

How can a hitter as solid as Abreu has always been be hitting .228 after 2 full months? It's mind-boggling. I can't believe that rate of unproductivity will continue forever. Abreu still has some good baseball left in him. One wonders if the Yankees will be patient enough to see if it will happen under their watch; wouldn't it be the ultimate irony if they ended up trading him for minor-leaguers?

As it stands, it's pretty certain that the decision to acquire Abreu and move Sheffield is a hugely unpopular move in NY, probably even more unpopular than it was in Philadelphia at the time of the trade. And in fact, it was a hideous misjudgment on the part of Brian Cashman. Sheffield is five times the player and presence that Abreu is.