It was just a two weeks ago that Bobby Abreu gave the Angels an ultimatum: play him every day or trade him to a team that would. The Angels had explored possible deals to unload the superfluous outfielder, most notably in the deal with the Yankees for A.J. Burnett that fell through. However, the market for a 38-year old outfielder who couldn’t play the field last season and who saw his offensive production fall off a cliff in 2011 who is owed $9 million in 2012 is pretty sparse. The Angels and manager Mike Scioscia pledged to find playing time for Abreu, though where he would get that playing time was a little hazy. You got the feeling that the Angels would still like to shop Abreu to other teams, but didn’t want to come across as desparately trying to dump a disgruntled veteran to try and get the best deal possible. Well, something else has come up that’s going to make the “play me or trade me” dictate harder to work: Abreu has been terrible this spring.
In five games, Abreu is just 1-for-12 at the plate, drawing a walk, and striking out four times. He has looked out of sorts so far, including a glacially slow swing for strike three in Monday’s 9-1 loss to the Dodgers. He has missed a few days of camp this spring with an illness, which could account for his sluggish start. Scioscia hasn’t expressed too much concern over Abreu’s struggles and plans to play him in right field today against the Giants to try and get him into some sort of rhythm to break him out of his funk.
“Bobby’s usually not a crisp starter,” Scioscia said. “He likes a lot of at-bats to try to get into that groove.”
With a batting average of just .083, Abreu has been anything but “crisp,” and is unfortunately continuing the bad offensive trend he started last season. It’s unfortunate for Abreu because he won’t be able to sniff the on-deck circle if he continues swinging the bat this way, and unfortunate for the Angels because at this rate, they won’t be able to trade Abreu for a cup of coffee, which would at least be able to draw a few extra walks. While Abreu may believe that he’s “still an everyday player,” he needs to turn things around in a hurry to convince anybody else.