June 2, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Bobby Abreu (23) hits a home run during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Dodgers won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Any Chance the Rays Sign Bobby Abreu?

After quite an eventful offseason, the Tampa Bay Rays are likely done making major moves. That being said, things will inevitably happen over the course of spring training and of course the season and it’s going to be very important for the Rays to have sufficient depth on their team for when everything inevitably happens. Could a player they could target in that type of role be Bobby Abreu?

Jon Heyman tweeted earlier today that two possibilities for Abreu could be the Rays and the Miami Marlins. Is Abreu a player that the Rays should really consider? Abreu is going to turn 39 in March and it seems like he has been washed up for years now. But the Rays giving him a chance may not be the most far-fetched thing in the world.

Abreu used to be very good all-around player. From 1998 to 2010, Abreu managed a .297/.402/.492 line (132 OPS+) with an average of 39 doubles, 21 homers, 95 RBI, and 28 stolen bases per season. He never appeared in less than 151 games in a season and he did a lot of thing to help a team, combining solid power with good speed, great durability, and an excellent eye at the plate, averaging over 100 walks per year. The past two years have been a different story for Abreu as he managed just 11 home runs combined in 842 plate appearances. But that doesn’t mean that he’s completely done. During that stretch, Abreu actually managed a .250/.352/.358 line, a 102 OPS+, not hitting for any power as he managed just 20 doubles, 6 homers, and 42 RBI per season, but still averaging 14 stolen bases and 58 walks while not striking out at all. One big issue is that Abreu has never been a great defensive outfielder and is only worse now. But if Abreu is willing to work out at first base, the Rays could certainly do worse.

This offseason, the Rays signed James Loney to be their first baseman. The issue is that he’s coming off a season where he put up just a .249/.293/.336 line (79 OPS+) in 465 plate appearances, and if Loney fails to rebound in 2013, the Rays could be in trouble. If Abreu is willing to try out first base, sign a minor league contract, and face a high probability of beginning the year at Triple-A, what do the Rays have to lose by giving him a shot? Bobby Abreu is a shadow of his former self and if he ends up starting for the Rays in 2013, it would mean that a lot has gone wrong. But if Abreu is willing to make the proper concessions, the Rays signing him is something that could really happen.

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  • phattitudes

    I hope the Rays pass on Abreu. He is a body at best. He is temporary. The Rays have a big hole at 1B. They need to get serious about developing someone from within. They can pick the candidate. Just pick one with some major league upside who is at least AAA ready. Then give that player the reps he needs at 1B rather than try to retread a player who is on his way out. If Loney is a bust you already have Duncan as immediate insurance. In addition you have a glut of middle infielders and pitchers you could package into a deal that someone would take.

    One AAA candidate that comes to mind would be Guyer if he doesn’t make the team. He is destined to be a reserve at best as a Rays outfielder. If he could pick up 1B skills, he could create a shot for himself. They should take similar actions at the AA and A+ levels. ID the candidates and it could fast track them to the majors. It’s fine to draft versatile talent at SS and OF position but 1B is a key offensive position that has been ignored for too long. Maybe we need to rotate all of our OF candidates through 1B to determine who has a feel for it. No matter how they do it, they need that power bat of the future at 1B. We currently have no one the top 10 minor league prospects at 1B per MLB.COM. That would have been worse but the limited the list to 10. Until we find our 1B version of Longoria, keep the pipe full of candidates with potential.

  • Dave L

    Maybe I’m wrong but somehow I don’t see a 39yo Bobby Abreu tooling around the International League in a bus hoping for a call up.

    I agree with the need for a DH/1B alternative but a Right handed bat is whats lacking while we wait for DJ to blossom and Will Baby Jesus Myers to arrive. With Longo a question mark for a full season as always our last position player sigining will be a right handed batter who can play 1st and DH.

    Plus the Rays this year are about Plus defenders at all stations and a 39 yo trying a new position isnt in the cards.

    Im with phatitiudes and pass easily on Bobby