Last year, Bobby Abreu sat around all winter trying to figure out where he was going to play. He apparently didn’t want to do that again, as he re-signed with the Angels on the first day of the off-season.
According to Ed Price, the deal is for $9 million a year in 2010 and 2011, with a vesting option for 2012 or a $1 million buyout. The deal guarantees Abreu $19 million over his age 36 and 37 seasons. A few weeks ago, when reports of Abreu turning down a $16 million offer over two years surfaced, I suggested he take it. This deal is a very small premium over that offer, so that’s essentially what Abreu did.
The more interesting aspect of this, to me, is to see how aggressive teams and players are about getting deals done before the market officially opens up. Last year, the players who signed quickly ended up escaping the carnage of the collapsing economy – Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster came out looking like big winners for taking the money to re-sign rather than shopping themselves around, and Raul Ibanez was the only defensively challenged outfielder to cash in after signing with Philadelphia quickly.
In this scenario, Abreu took an essentially fair offer for the security of not going through another winter freeze out. The Angels have the cash to make deals like this, and Abreu is a good fit for their team, but I wonder how many other teams will be rushing to lock up players before the market has a chance to set prices this winter. Given the events of last winter and the questionable status of the economy, I’d imagine caution will be the strategy of many big league clubs.
Abreu was smart to take this deal and avoid the risk. If this winter is anything like last year, there will be better players settling for lesser contracts once they hit the market.