Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 7, 2009
BASEBALL: Burrell and Abreu and More

Joe Sheehan looks at the corner outfield options in the free agent market, comparing those who have signed (Pat Burrell with the Rays for 2 years at $8 million per, Milton Bradley with the Cubs and Raul Ibanez with the Phillies, each for 3 years at $10 million per) to the guys still unsigned (Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn). Pretty much none of these guys can play much defense at this stage of their careers - Sheehan notes the Bill James/Fielding Bible +/- ratings and UZR have them all deep in the negatives except Bradley, who is too brittle to play the field but will have to anyway with the Cubs. I was surprised that Burrell is actually a year older than Bradley.

As a Mets fan, I have to say I was thrilled to see Burrell sign with the Rays; it will be worth a win or two a year just for the Mets to have him out of their division. The deal looks like a bargain for the Rays, who get him much cheaper than the more fragile Bradley or than Ibanez, who is five years older; Burrell brings power and patience balance, although I should note that despite a reputation as an aggressive, athletic team, the Rays were second in the AL in walks last year and fourth in homers.

Burrell has benefitted a lot from Citizens Bank Park, but his road numbers are not shabby. Here are the three-year road totals for the corner OF/1B who are free agents, were traded or got renewed this offseason, ranked by road OPS:

Manny Ramirez2087651302324724914612216521240.3030.4010.5620.963
Mark Teixeira2268451422496115117214816520210.2950.4010.5500.951
Carlos Delgado222859145250553521739219331180.2910.3640.5440.908
Adam Dunn23479914319543058134168266122170.2440.3810.5160.897
Milton Bradley1465018315033219839012545160.2990.4100.4870.897
Pat Burrell2287481171863615213315719900160.2490.3800.5080.888
Josh Willingham199714106200525351219115831170.2800.3730.5140.887
Matt Holliday2198691472575843312094184307230.2960.3700.4860.856
Jason Giambi18560093142270411129815421100.2370.3640.4870.851
Raul Ibanez239972146289608391728016614260.2970.3490.4960.845
Bobby Abreu229879150244646191451452044014200.2780.3790.4290.808
Ken Griffey Jr.193734100194311371149014151180.2640.3440.4600.804
Nick Swisher2298191332023633711813622644190.2470.3570.4330.790
Andruw Jones188682105162402351258319241160.2380.3250.4560.781
Garret Anderson19275574206393201083911553150.2730.3070.4120.719


*Manny remains the class of that field, although his age remains a risk factor.

*I'm still at a gut level convinced that re-signing Delgado was a bad idea, but he sure looks good in this company.

*The Phillies are going to end up regretting having Ibanez instead of Burrell, given Ibanez' age and the fact that Burrell was already a better hitter.

*I'm actually wondering if the Mets might be able to swoop in and sign Abreu on the cheap. I know the Mets are mostly focusing on the pitching, I know he's not the kind of gung-ho personality Omar seems to think they need, and I know he's not the offensive machine he was in his heyday, but (1) getting on base makes up for a multitude of sins, (2) the Mets really are not that well-stocked in the corners and (3) after watching Church wreck his season running into people last year and watching the Mike Cameron-Carlos Beltran collision, they could do much worse than a guy who doesn't run into people or things and shows up every day ready to suit up. A healthier Moises Alou type could be a great addition. Abreu has a reputation as a shrinking violet, but the man has driven in 100 runs six years running. I wouldn't rule out Manny either if he's desperate, but I hate to plunk down a huge amount of money on him at this stage.

UPDATE: Of course, Abreu will be 35 next year, and most of his historical comps didn't fare too well past that point.

Last note: Joy of Sox looks at how the Yankees wooed Teixeira by playing Twisted Sister for his wife. Or something like that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:45 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

"I wouldn't rule out Manny either if he's desperate, but I hate to plunk down a huge amount of money on him at this stage."

It's not your money! Who cares if Wilpon shells out the big bucks. The guys was great last year.

Posted by: A.S. at January 7, 2009 3:29 PM

I think if Dunn could be had for the same money as Burrell, he could help the Mets. I realize he's a lousy outfielder, but 40 homers and 100 walks a year would help. And next year he could probably play 1B as well (or not well) as Delgado has. At 29, he should have 2 or 3 more solid years ahead of him.

Posted by: Jerry at January 7, 2009 4:00 PM

"*The Phillies are going to end up regretting having Ibanez instead of Burrell, given Ibanez' age and the fact that Burrell was already a better hitter."

Well, if you look at their numbers the last years, they've been pretty comparable, and Ibanez isn't showing much decline at all, remarkably enough (he's reputed to be in great shape.)

Still, combining the 4 year age difference, the fact that both players are bad OF's, andf the extra year and $/year Raul got, it looks like Reuben Amaro is off to a poor start as GM.

Posted by: John Salmon at January 7, 2009 5:00 PM

I like Ibanez. He plays hard and is a pure hitter. He will benefit from from plauing at Citizen. If I were a Mets fan I would be begging Omor to get Abreu.. He is an on-base and RBI machine and like was said earlier comes to play every day.

Posted by: maddirishman at January 7, 2009 6:54 PM

You definitely would not have to worry about Abreu running into things in the outfield. If he is not the single worst outfielder with actual defensive skills (unlike, say, Jose Canseco) I don't know who is. Anything hit over his head is going to be a double guaranteed.

Why the Mets would not take a stab at Manny at this point would be beyond me. He is still one of the most productive guys at the plate, his defense-while comical at times-is not so atrocious (he's at least as good as Abreu if not better) and you'll only have him for a couple of years, three tops. You'd get 130-140 games out of him and he would change your line-up immensely. Take your line-up as is and drop Manny into the 4 hole and look at it again. You've got the money. If you can get him for 2 years or 2 years with an option that would be a sweet deal.

Posted by: jim at January 7, 2009 7:38 PM
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