Ruben Amaro Jr. is at it again. This afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies signed 40-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor league deal. That’s just what the Phillies needed, another aged player who’s well past his prime.
Abreu did not play in the MLB last season, and was not very good when he last played in 2012 for the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit a combined .242 while playing in parts of 100 games. He had 53 hits and 38 of his hits were singles.
Abreu played in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason and put up decent numbers against competition that is not close to the caliber of the MLB. He played in 50 games, hit .322 with 3 HR and 28 RBI. To draw a comparison, Freddy Galvis also played in the Venezuelan Winter League. Galvis played in 50 games, hit .306 with two HR and 23 RBI. This is not a knock against Galvis, but shows that a 40-year-old Abreu is an unnecessary signing by Amaro.
Amaro has driven the Phillies away from using youth by constantly signing veterans that too often do not produce to the value of their high contracts. Although this is a low-risk signing, it does not appear to have a high reward value. If the Phillies are in need of a left-handed bat off the bench, it should not be in the form of 40-year-old veteran who has not played in the MLB in more than a year. Inviting Abreu to spring training may seem harmless, but it means that one less young prospect will get an opportunity to breakout into the Phillies’ farm system.