An Extension For Abreu?

According to Jon Heyman, the Angels have offered a two year contract extension for Bobby Abreu worth $8 million a season. Adding Abreu has been one of the things that has pushed the Angels offense forward this year, and they’d understandably like to keep his bat around for the next couple of years. Is a 2 year, $16 million offer fair for both sides?

Over the last three years, Abreu has established a pretty consistent skillset – he draws a bunch of walks, has gap power, runs the bases well, but defends like an old man. His wOBAs from 2007 to 2009: .360, .368, and .367, which makes him worth around 20 runs above an average hitter over a full season.

Defensively, it’s another story. Even as a corner outfielder, he’s bad. His UZR this year was “only” -10 this year after a disastrous -26 in 2008, but a decent chunk of that was from throwing – the ARM portion of his UZR went from +2.4 to +6.8 runs this year, somewhat hiding the fact that he still can’t run down balls in the outfield.

At 35-years-old, he’s essentially straddling the border between outfielder and DH, being equally valuable in either spot. Regardless of which position he plays, he’s basically an average player, and while he’s getting up there in age, he’s shown enough young player skills that he doesn’t appear to be on his last legs.

At $8 million a year, the Angels are essentially valuing him correctly on the assumption of a $4 million per win market rate, which is pretty consistent with what we’ve seen over the last few years. The offer essentially pays Abreu a fair wage if there won’t be any inflation in the market this winter. Given the economy, betting on salary inflation seems like quite the gamble.

Abreu probably won’t get a significantly better offer than this. If he enjoys playing for the Angels, he should sign the deal. It’s a fair offer.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 8 months ago

why is his UZR so low? it’s not like he’s slow out there. and watching lots of yankee games last year, very rarely did i say “why didn’t you get taht bobby?”…

Matt B.
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

HE has very limited range, you probably don’t say “why didn’t you get that Bobby” because he doesn’t even come close to a batted ball that would be considered a “rangy play” so you just assume he had no chance. He is a safe out there, very safe.

Rob in CT
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Rob in CT
6 years 8 months ago

Seriously?! LOL. I said that constantly. He was absolutely terrible last year.

Logan
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Logan
6 years 8 months ago

Great work Dave, as per usual.

walkoffblast
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walkoffblast
6 years 8 months ago

Abreu is apparently looking for a better offer. Seems kind of odd on his part considering they signed him for 5 million base this year. Does he really think someone is going to double that for even one year let alone two? I guess he enjoyed waiting himself into monetary loss last season and decided to try it again.

Gabriel
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Gabriel
6 years 8 months ago

He was underpaid this year. If he has an offer on the table that is acceptable, it makes perfect sense for him to check and see if anybody else wants to pay more. Considering he had a good year, it seems plausible that somebody would pay more (for instance, the Giants like to overpay older hitters). I don’t remember him having an offer last year that was significantly better that he “waited into monetary loss”.

walkoffblast
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walkoffblast
6 years 8 months ago

Yes, he was underpaid but his contract was a product of the market and that market has not changed much if at all.

Eric
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Eric
6 years 8 months ago

how can you say abreu is an average player? with his defense sure, but you said that he’s equally effective regardless of which position he plays (DH vs. RF). as a DH, he has to be considered a great asset to the team and certainly above average.

joser
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joser
6 years 8 months ago

If he plays the field, then his defensive liabilities bring him down to “average.” If he DHs, then the positional adjustment does.

Remember that “average” in this context is not the colloquial sense of “Not bad, but not good.” An MLB-average player is a good player compared to the total replacement pool.

dorsal
Member
dorsal
6 years 8 months ago

You did a nice job with this article. I enjoyed reading it and I learned so much.

iYankees
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iYankees
6 years 8 months ago

Hey Dave. Shouldn’t Abreu get closer to $9-10 milion per? He’s closer to a 3 WAR player than he is a 2 WAR player, right (even if he regresses a bit)? Obviously he won’t get $12 million per year, but a $18-20 million deal over a 2-year period doesn’t seem far fetched.

iYankees
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iYankees
6 years 8 months ago

I gotcha. Thanks, Dave. Keep up the good work.

Lyle Spencer
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6 years 8 months ago

None of this statistical analysis considers the significant impact Abreu had on almost every hitter in the lineup. The team OBP rising from .330 to .350 was a major peripheral benefit of bringing Abreu on board. Check the career numbers of guys like Figgins and Hunter, along with younger guys such as Aybar and Morales. They all gave Abreu much of the credit for their improved discipline. You can’t quantify leadership like that.

Not David
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Not David
6 years 8 months ago

Did any of your non-statistical analysis recognize that there was nothing special about Hunter’s discipline? Or that Figgins has been a steady improver in that department long before Abreu joined them? Or that this was Morales’ first full season and you have absolutely no idea what he would have done had Abreu not been there? Or that Aybar’s walk rate remained unchanged?

I’ll take the statistical analysis over subjective hyperbole eight days a week.

Not David
Guest
Not David
6 years 8 months ago

Or that the difference in OBP between 2008 and 2009 was due almost entirely to the team’s batting average? (.268 vs. .285)

TomG
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TomG
6 years 8 months ago

$5

Not David
Guest
Not David
6 years 8 months ago

$3.50

joser
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joser
6 years 8 months ago

You can’t quantify leadership like that.

Of course you most certainly can. In fact…

The team OBP rising from .330 to .350

… you seem to think you just did.

Of course, it’s nowhere near as simple or direct as you think it is, and a couple of other folks have already pointed that out. But to the extent his “leadership” actually mattered, it will be evident in other stats; and if it isn’t, well, then meh.

Judy
Guest
Judy
6 years 8 months ago

Well, the market for him may have changed some, since there seem to be more teams in the mix this offseason for good offensive corner OF/DHs than there were last offseason, and the pitching free agent market doesn’t seem to have as much worth spending your money on.

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