Friday, October 16, 2009

Round 2: Damon v. Abreu

Yesterday's hot topic around here, Bobby Abreu just got offered a nice new deal with the Angels.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim offered Bobby Abreu a two-year extension worth about $16MM, according to's Jon Heyman (via Twitter).
As he did before this year, ol' Bobby is shooting for the stars and looking for a better deal. There's no real harm in that since he didn't sign with the Angels until mid-February this year and he has every right to find another team that's willing to pay him more than that.

Abreu is a really good hitter who would be an asset if placed in any lineup in the history of the game and he's coming off a pretty good year. But he'll be 36 years old when next season starts. He already has limited ability as a corner outfielder and will eventually transition into a part-time DH role.

Does that scenario sound familiar? That's right folks, Johnny Damon is in a nearly identical position.

Granted, the most likely scenario is that both guys stay where they are at, but let's assume the Yankees could have either of them for 2 years at $10M per. It might be a bit much, but with that offer already sitting out there for Abreu, we know it's not going to be much less.

Like we did yesterday with Nick Swisher and Abreu, let's look at the stats.

Damon batted in the two hole almost exclusively this year, while Abreu primarily hit third. This explains some of the gap in RBI, but not as well as Abreu's .354/.448/.475 line with RISP. That's great and all, but it's hardly sustainable.

On the same note, Damon set a career high for HRs this year and that is likely to regress to the mean next year as well. If Abreu were to get half of his plate appearances in Yankee Stadium in 2010, there's a pretty good chance his totals would increase, bringing the two a bit closer together.

The stolen base edge goes to Abreu, but Damon obviously could have run more and a good portion of the difference has to be the product of the strategy of the teams they play for. Defense isn't going to matter as much in the role that the Yankees are looking for since it will involve a good amount of games in the DH slot but Damon was completely terrible this year, and I don't think we can chalk off of it up to his eye issues. Although subjectively, I don't think there's any way he's that much worse than Abreu.

We're looking at two pretty similar players. Both have been extremely fortunate with their health over the years and remain productive at an advanced age. Both are risky investments and there's a fair chance that two years from now, one will look better than the other or both will look pretty bad. But based on what we know now, who ya got?

Realistically, Damon is far more likely to stick around due to real world factors like their families and such, but on paper a good case could be made for either of these guys. Think of what Abreu could do for the Yankees' approach at the plate!


  1. You listed Damon's 2009 UZR/150 as -1.8. Fangraphs lists it as -11.9.

  2. You are correct, Anon. It's fixed. It would be awesome if I could get through one of these posts without making a clerical error...

  3. Virginia Yank10/16/09, 3:33 PM

    Hey, that table you displayed is the Swisher/Abreu comparison.

  4. Wow... yeah it should be right now. I'm an idiot.