The Los Angeles Dodgers have designated left fielder Bobby Abreu for assignment, who was deemed expendable after the club acquired Shane Victorino from the Phillies yesterday.
It's the second time that Abreu has been designated for assignment this year, after the Angels kicked him to the curb in April. Abreu looked close to done with the Angels last year, posting only a .718 OPS in 142 games, but still stealing 21 bases. Tihs year, Abreu *is* done, OPSing just .687 in stints with both Los Angeles teams, homering just twice and only stealing five bases.
In his prime with the Phillies and Yankees, Abreu was one of the most underrated talents in the game. He had seven straight 20/20 seasons from 1999 to 2005, with two of those years hitting 30/30. The Phillies traded Abreu to the Yankees in the middle of the 2006 season and he slowed up, but was still an effective player. He'd add 20/20 seasons in 2008 with the Yankees and 2010 with the Angels, where he signed as a free agent after the 2008 season. Abreu also stole 20 bases in every year from 1999 to 2011, a 13 year span. He just missed the mark in 1998 as well, when he swiped 19 bags.
If this is the end for 38-year old, which it looks like it is after a second team has cut him loose, it was a fantastic career for Abreu. His 62.7 career fWAR is 11th among all outfielders over the last 20 years, even with bad UZR numbers hurting him. Among his contemporaries, Abreu's career fWAR total is higher than Vladimir Guerrero, Moises Alou, JD Drew, Bernie Williams, Ichiro Suzuki, Johnny Damon, Torii Hunter, and Alfonso Soriano. Say what you want to say about Abreu, but that's a pretty damn good career.
One other note on Abreu before we close the book on him. When the Phillies traded him to the Yankees in 2006, he was the Phillies right fielder. But he was dealt because of a young outfielder that was making waves for the Phillies, and with Aaron Rowand locked into center field and Pat Burrell in left, dealing Abreu seemed to be the obvious solution. That young outfielder that took over for Abreu was…Shane Victorino.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com