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.