The snowballing of bad contracts Reagins continues to hand out like candy has hampered this teams progress to the post-season in many ways. The GMJ and Kazmir contracts prevented them from using their money in a productive manner instead of throwing money at sub-par players who don’t even play for the team anymore. The Vernon Wells contract has done almost the same for this team, though he isn’t nearly as bad as Kazmir and GMJ his performance does not condone such a hefty contract. The Bobby Abreu contract and his pesky 550 PA vesting option, while it isn’t dragging the team down it is preventing the team from adding obvious upgrades. Now the Angels are more then likely stuck with Abreu, not only for the remainder of this season, but for all of next season as well. He can’t field anymore and he can BARELY hit well enough to justify his mismatch in the DH hole, he is simply getting too old to be anything other then a decent player at best. Sounds like a classic Reagins contract to me!
Bobby Abreu, who currently holds 416 PA, is just 134 plate appearances shy of reaching the set 550 PA which would activate his vesting option for 2012. That isn’t the only stipulation on his contract however, if Abreu can reach a combined 1,100 total PA during the 2010-2011 season. How many more does he need to reach that goal? Only 17 PA. 17 PA left to guarantee his future on this team. 17 PA left to give up a roster spot to a soon to be 38 year old man when there are plenty of young players waiting in the wings to take his spot. It’s no secret that many Angels fan frustrations with Tony Reagins have reached a near boiling point, seeing as how this vesting option may keep the young super stud Mike Trout from making Anaheim his home in the very near future. Well, maybe not the very near future with Abreu’s option probably vesting sometime next week.
That isn’t the only problem that is going to bite this team in the ass due to his asinine contract, there are bigger troubles afoot then bringing up a promising rookie. The outfield depth with this team is almost non-existent with Abreu plugging up the lineup, aside from the 3 regular starters the only other options in the outfield are Mike Trout and Bobby Abreu. While it’s great to have Trout as a backup 4th outfielder it’s no secret that he isn’t going to be up much longer, leaving the Angels with only Bobby Abreu to backup this outfield. Is he really the type of player you want playing reserve when he isn’t DH’ing? Not on this team, not when we’re in the thick of a post-season race with the Rangers. If this was a out of contention and thinly talented team you might get a different answer, but when you need production everywhere you can get it Bobby Abreu simply does not fit. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player who’s had an amazing potential HoF career, but with his recent dropoff last season he isn’t the player he used to be. Granted he can still walk like he used to, but his bat isn’t as reliable or potent as it used to be. His power numbers are WAY down, 2011 is his first season posting a SLG% lower than .400 since 1997. His OBP stands at it’s usual mark, but his batting average has dropped nearly 50 points from what he posted 2 years ago. I had high hopes that last year was just a down year for Abreu, but it’s starting to look like his age is finally catching up with him.
I don’t blame Reagins for giving Abreu this contract, he had just come off an All-Star type season and helped lead the team to their first post-season sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox and finally gave this team a real taste of post-season baseball. What I don’t understand is why he felt the need to lay down the Crippler Crossface on this organization with his vesting option, he knew he would drop-off with age, why would he allow that decline to happen on this team. Any GM worth his salt would be able to foresee such an event, yet Reagins decided to roll the dice and see what he could come up with. The last time he rolled the dice on such a risky deal was with Scott Kazmir, I don’t need to elaborate on why that deal turned out so rotten. If he was going to give him a vesting option why not make it something that would be difficult to achieve? Something that Abreu would have to work for, something that would prove he not only deserves the contract but proves that he deserves to be on the team. It was a foregone conclusion that Abreu would reach the necessary 550 or 1100 required PA to activate the option. Abreu is one of the most durable players in the league, starting no less then 150 games each season in his entire career. Just another boneheaded move by Reagins.
While we’re waiting for the inevitable to happen 29 other teams in baseball are upgrading their roster through deadline deals, but we can’t upgrade over Abreu because no one wants to touch his contract. Reagins seems to have some sick fetish for eating up spoiled contract after spoiled contract, it’s almost ironic that he was given an ugly long term contract by the organization. I would like to sift through facts and use some good old fashion logic to think of a way the Angels could wash their hands of Abreu and move on to greener pastures, but this one is just beyond saving. I highly doubt he’ll be able to up his game enough to justify a 3rd year, but if he does good enough there’s a decent chance the Angels will be trade him to a contention team desperate for a plug at DH. We won’t be able to get much back for him, maybe a journeyman minor leaguer or some pocket change, much like the Fuentes to Minnesota deal last year. Unfortunately for us there is no way that Abreu is going to be involved in a deadline deal this season, unless Reagins somehow manages to get a job with another organization by Sunday.
Abreu’s contract has made him virtually unmovable, he’s just a good player made bad by an ugly contract. It’s unfortunate really, he would make a great cog for any other machine, it’s a shame he isn’t meant for this machine anymore, not with this recent youth movement the Angels have taken up. Abreu never had to earn his contract, he never had to push himself for it, all he needed to do was show up to work to ensure his future in an Angels uni. Why couldn’t he be pushed to work for that extra year in red? If Abreu continues to decline the way he is this team is going to be in big trouble when it comes to addressing this problem and the DH hole that needs to be filled.
But it’s ok fellow fans, don’t fret, he earned this contract.
Or least in Reagins eyes he did.