The Cleveland Indians have reportedly talked to the agent of 39-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu about a possible comeback.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi confirmed on Tuesday afternoon the report initially sent out by Indians Baseball Insider’s Tony Lastoria. Lastoria first shared that the Indians are monitoring Abreu in winter ball in his native Venezuela, while Morosi shared that the two-time All-Star is indeed planning on a baseball comeback.
Abreu last played in 2012 for the Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers, appearing in 100 total games with a .242/.350/.342 batting line. From 1998 through 2010, the left-handed hitter slugged at least 15 home runs and 74 RBI each season while playing in over 150 games each year. During that span, he averaged 39 doubles, 21 homers, 28 steals, a .297/.402/.492 line and 4.5 bWAR. The famous former Philadelphia Phillies star was a consistent on-base machine. But now, there’s probably not a whole lot left in the tank.
Just yesterday, the Indians signed soon-to-be 30-year-old Jeff Francoeur to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Franceour, a right-handed hitter, only has a .226/.272/.354 batting line in 859 plate appearances over the past two seasons. At best, if he even makes the team, he’d be expected to contribute as a fifth outfielder, pinch-hitter and possible designated hitter.
That’s largely the same role Bobby Abreu would play if he were to surprisingly complete his comeback. Already, the Tribe has four outfielders on roster (Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, David Murphy, Ryan Raburn) along with a versatile first baseman (Nick Swisher) and an aging designated/pinch hitter (Jason Giambi). It appears to be a crowded environment, especially for the retread types, but kudos to the Cleveland front office for at least scoping out the potential with these veteran players.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.