Los Angeles AngelsNov. 6: Angels re-sign Bobby Abreu to a two-year contract worth $19 MM, with a vesting option for 2012.
Abreu’s $5 million contract for 2009 was (over-)reported as the biggest bargain of the offseason. And it may have been. Abreu brought much-needed plate discipline (.390 OBP) to a team that has never actively sought high-OBP players.
The snag is that Abreu has gone from under- to over-rated very quickly. His power is basically gone. He hasn’t hit more than 30 homers since 2001, and hasn’t hit more than 20 since 2005. His 15 blasts in 2009 are a more accurate predictor of his future.
Granted, when combined with an excellent approach at the plate, 15 homers is enough. The more immediate problem is Abreu’s declining defense. He wasn’t as good as his reputation in his younger days and is quickly degenerating to designated-hitter status. If that day comes in the next two years, it will be the Angels’ problem to deal with. Because if his on-base skills slip, he could end up being a below-average DH.
The lesson here is that the same player who’s a bargain at 1/$5MM may not be one at 2/$19MM.
Dec. 16: Angels sign Hideki Matsui to a one-year contract worth $6 million.