With Curtis Granderson out for 10 weeks, the New York Yankees are now being connected to almost every available outfielder on the free agent and trade markets. Names like Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Scott Podsednik, Drew Stubbs and Johnny Damon are being thrown around like bubbles at a kid’s birthday party. One name that makes sense for the Yankees, if he can be had on a minor league contract, is Bobby Abreu.
Abreu is no stranger to the Bronx having played there from 2006-08 after being acquired before the trade deadline in 2006 from the Philadelphia Phillies. Abreu is long in the tooth and will be 39 on March 11, but he still draws walks and is familiar with the Yankee clubhouse. Abreu, in his worst season of his career, hit just .242/.350/.342 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. Abreu’s power is all but gone as he has failed to reach double digits in home runs since 2010 when he had 20 for the Angels.
Will Abreu replace Curtis Granderson? No. You can’t replace your leading home run hitter from the bargain bin. However, the Yankees can’t afford to surrender meaningful prospects and unless the Chicago Cubs come down in their asking price the Yankees won’t be reuniting with him any time soon. Vernon Wells is scheduled to make more money than Soriano, having over $40 million still remaining on his contract.
Abreu would be a decent stopgap in left field. He isn’t ideal in that his fielding was never fabulous and he is a left-handed bat in an outfield that is full of lefties. However, he has a little more upside than Johnny Damon, won’t cost anything in terms of prospects and on a minor league deal, wouldn’t need any kind of commitment. If he can still play he can break camp with the Yankees and play some left field. If someone outperforms him the Yankees can part ways with him without having to give him anything.
The Yankees will need to add depth. Where that depth comes from will likely be from the scrap heap with Brian Cashman hoping to get a month or two of good baseball from an aging veteran, whether he is already on the roster or yet to be signed, or from one of the younger outfielders like Melky Mesa or Zoilo Almonte. It will be interesting to see where that production comes from but Abreu does make some sense.