Phillies Sign Bobby Abreu to a Minor League Deal

The depth signings continued as the Phillies and Bobby Abreu agreed on a Minor League deal earlier today, Todd Zolecki reports. Abreu, who turns 40 in March, had been on fire in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .322 with a .416 on-base percentage and a 35-to-30 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 180 at-bats.

Abreu didn’t play in pro ball last season, and it looked like his career might have been over, but the Phillies are still in need of a left-handed outfield bat off the bench. Aside from Abreu, the remaining LH OF bats were Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Brennan Boesch, Sam Fuld, Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre, Grady Sizemore, and Dewayne Wise. The Phillies have had experience with four names on that rather unexciting list — Bernadina, Nix, Pierre, and Wise. It’s easy to see why the Phillies were enamored with Abreu, who posted a .361 on-base percentage in 2012 between the Angels and Dodgers.

As with all of these depth signings, they represent no risk to the Phillies and a non-zero amount of upside, which makes the deal a win. The Phillies would have preferred it if their left-handed outfield bat also had the ability to play center field, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Abreu isn’t likely to hit for much power. In the VWL, he had a .139 ISO and he posted a .100 ISO in 2012 and .112 in 2011.Should Abreu make the 25-man roster, his ability to work the count and get on base will have value for the Phillies late in games when they attempt to score a crucial run.

This is, of course, Abreu’s second stint with the Phillies. He spent the 1998-2006 seasons with them when he was consistently one of baseball’s best hitters. By adjusted OPS, he is tied as the fifth-best hitter in Phillies history (min. 3,000 plate appearances).

Player OPS+ PA From To Age
Dick Allen 153 4511 1963 1976 21-34
Gavvy Cravath 152 4237 1912 1920 31-39
Mike Schmidt 147 10062 1972 1989 22-39
Sherry Magee 142 6314 1904 1914 19-29
Bobby Abreu 139 5885 1998 2006 24-32
Chuck Klein 139 5772 1928 1944 23-39
John Kruk 138 3001 1989 1994 28-33
Ryan Howard 134 5018 2004 2013 24-33
Greg Luzinski 133 5321 1970 1980 19-29
Cy Williams 131 5786 1918 1930 30-42
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/21/2014.

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22 comments

  1. Brian

    January 21, 2014 05:02 PM

    “It’s easy to see why the Phillies were enamored with Abreu, who posted a .361 on-base percentage in 2012 between the Angels and Dodgers.”

    • ITP

      January 21, 2014 05:09 PM

      Abreu has 8 home runs and 5 doubles in 15 games in the Venezuelan League post season. Victor Conte loves the climate down there this time of year.

  2. SJHaack

    January 21, 2014 05:41 PM

    Welcome back, Bobby.

    Hopefully we can remember (or teach people) that he was maybe the best Phillies outfielder in modern history.

  3. Tim

    January 21, 2014 05:48 PM

    Before the whiners weigh in, Abreu is the only player on that list whom you would like to see take a high leverage AB in a real game.

    CF depth is sorry on this team. Cesar Hernandez is it (barring a return to CF from Marlon Byrd). For RF, we have Ben Revere (opps). Maybe Brown can move the circus over there, if needed. We’ll see if he gets some reps in the Spring.

    • Just Bob

      January 23, 2014 07:30 PM

      They signed both Tony Gwynn Jr and Dave Sappelt to minor league deals and both play CF. It doesn’t mean they have much depth in CF but those 2 guys will get their share of ABs especially early on.

  4. larry morris

    January 21, 2014 06:05 PM

    cough
    billyhamiltonops+154
    cough
    eddelahantyops+153
    cough
    sam thompsonops+144
    cough

    • SJHaack

      January 21, 2014 07:09 PM

      Literally none of those guys played in the modern era, thus my qualifier. I also said maybe.

      If you wanted to be a snide asshole, you could have said Chuck Klein or Richie Ashburn!

      • Trent Phloog

        January 22, 2014 08:51 AM

        Maybe he was referring to the omission of those guys from the above table, which does seem to be an oversight. Looks like Bill used the default “1901 to present” setting on the play index, and thus missed those 19th century guys.

  5. dejesus54

    January 21, 2014 06:05 PM

    a. Odds he retires by May 31?, and
    b. still ends up leading the team in walks & OBP?

    • Josh G

      January 23, 2014 06:21 PM

      a. 1 : 7
      b. 2.5 : 1

      Any takers?

  6. Bob

    January 21, 2014 09:24 PM

    I don’t think Abreu can play in the field anymore. He’s more along the lines of a DH. With the injuries that have racked this club for years, lack of even an average backup CF, and their overall age thereby necessitating days off, I believe that the Phils would’ve been better served if they got a better defensive player.

  7. schufan

    January 22, 2014 01:55 AM

    It seems like the only way Abreu makes the roster is at the expense of Ruf. Unless they’re willing to go with just one IF (Galvis) and dump Frandsen, which seems unlikely.

  8. Robby Bonfire

    January 22, 2014 07:30 AM

    I have already emphatically predicted, elsewhere, that the New York Geriatrics, a.k.a. “Yankees” will finish sixth and last in their five-team division this coming season. I have much higher hopes for the Phillies, this year. along the lines of their over-achieving by finishing fifth in their five-team division.

  9. jonny 5

    January 22, 2014 09:38 AM

    Lol… @ thinking about him actually playing in the outfield. His purpose if he makes it, will be a bat and a bat only. He can move base runners home late in close games and that’s about it.

  10. derekcarstairs

    January 22, 2014 09:58 AM

    What’s the track record of ballplayers who take a year off and then return to play at age 40?

  11. Robby Bonfire

    January 22, 2014 11:45 AM

    I love how so many act as though ballplayers are “ageless.” Abreu was 38 two years ago. So as a 40-year old he is supposed to duplicate his OBA of 2012, especially after being inactive all of 2013?

    A man who resurrects Charlie Manuel’s fossilized bones and frazzled brain pan, and tries to kick-start Bobby Abreu’s career corpse in the same week isn’t fit to be a ball girl, let alone run a major league baseball team. RAJ is a crack-pot with ZERO aptitude for the position he holds. That’s the real story, here. Eagles kicked off their 2014 new season yet?

  12. mark66

    January 22, 2014 01:14 PM

    I understand the Phils are going to start a Senior Baseball League !!

  13. Duane

    January 22, 2014 05:28 PM

    man………I wish you guys would stop crying. You act like he made the team already. We all know Bobby Abreu does just enough to be useful on a baseball team. You saw it with the Angels, you saw it with the Dodgers. You saw it at the end of his tenure with the Phillies. He steals bases at the most useless time, because he likes to stuff his stat sheet. BUT he has been a tremendous player, at times, over the course of his Career, and as stated above, he is the most qualified player to offer a shot at filling the needs the team currently has. BUT he still has to make it through Spring Training. So stop acting like Amaro has actually put him on the team. He’s just giving him a shot. Geez.

    • Scott G

      January 23, 2014 04:25 PM

      What’s a useless steal?

      Doesn’t stealing help you score more runs? Doesn’t each additional run help you in some way? Maybe it takes the game from a “save” situation to a 4 run lead and you can “save” your closer for the next day. Maybe it goes from 4-5 runs. And the setup man can be saved. So on and so forth.

      Maybe you’re losing and it helps you get closer to coming back.

      Maybe it takes away a double play, or an easier force out.

      I’ve never understood the argument against a guy stealing a base unless it’s actually detrimental to the team.

    • hk

      January 23, 2014 06:13 PM

      Is there documentation that he stole bases at the most useless times or is that all anecdotal?

      • Scott G

        January 23, 2014 11:01 PM

        Before I was leaving work today I started going through his 2005 season. It was his last full year with the phillies (part of Duane’s sample). He had 31 stolen bases. I made it through his first 5. And that’s when I realized that I would almost never call a stolen base useless.

        Maybe I’ll go through them all tomorrow.

  14. Josh G

    January 23, 2014 06:19 PM

    I thought this was some sort of joke at first glance

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