Phillies reunite with Abreu on one-year deal
PHILADELPHIA -- Bobby Abreu has not played in the big leagues since 2012, but there is a good chance he will be on the Phillies' bench in 2014.
The Phillies and Abreu on Tuesday agreed to a Minor League contract worth $800,000, if he makes the team.
Abreu, who turns 40 in March, has played well in winter ball in Venezuela. He hit .322 with 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 28 RBIs in 180 plate appearances for Leones del Caracas.
"We've seen him over the last several weeks," Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He's been really swinging the bat well. On top of that, he's in very good shape and he's very motivated. I talked to him directly maybe 10 days ago or so. Bobby said, 'Ruben, I'd love to finish my career as a Phillie.' I said, 'Well, let's see what we've got.' We've kept our eye on him.
"The biggest thing is whether or not he'll be able to do it at this level after taking a year off, but he's very motivated. This is a no-risk deal. He's got a high on-base percentage. He has the ability to create good at-bats. Maybe he can be an extra outfielder that can give us a little extra punch off the bench."
Abreu played for the Phillies from 1998-2006, and he ranks among the club leaders in several offensive categories. Former Phils general manager Pat Gillick traded Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees in July 2006 for C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios and Matt Smith. The trade was little more than a salary dump, as Gillick thought the clubhouse needed different chemistry. He later said moving Abreu allowed players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to assert themselves as leaders on a club that made five consecutive postseason appearances from 2007-11.
Abreu is the second former Phillies outfielder Amaro has signed this offseason. He also signed Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million contract. Abreu and Byrd were regulars in Philadelphia's outfield in 2003-04.
Abreu will be a favorite to land a bench job, as the Phils have been looking for a left-handed bat. Philadelphia had pursued Lyle Overbay, who signed with Milwaukee, and has expressed interest in former Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore in the past.
Amaro said the Phillies are still looking for a reserve center fielder, a role currently held by John Mayberry Jr.