From the Bench: An Abreu Review
[Note from Vince: This is another installment of From the Bench from new contributor Matt Rankin, who loves the Phillies so much that he bleeds red. Who would have thought?]
What do Scott Podsednik, Bobby Abreu, Juan Pierre, and Jim Thome all have in common? They are or were old players thought to be on their way out the door. All of whom the Phillies signed and were given an opportunity in spring training.
With no guarantees he’ll make the team. There had been reports of people giving up their season tickets or on the team entirely. Solely on the basis that Rueben Amaro thought it was a good idea to bring Bobby Abreu to spring training. To these people shame on you, first of all who cares? Yea he’s another old player on an old team. But really that’s the move that did it for you? Surely the Phillies aren’t the only team in the league that brings in veterans just to see what’s left.
All indications so far in spring training are that the bat speed is still there and, more importantly, Bobby has historically one of the best batting “eyes,” in the league. How sharp an eye? He is 56 BB’s short of Chipper Jones (1,512). Even while Chipper played three more years than Abreu has. Listen I am one of the biggest Darin Ruf fans and I know Abreu is taking away a spot on the bench. However, a great baseball man once told me that if you hit, they can’t keep you out of the lineup. Somewhere down the line he’ll get his shot if he earns it.
So what’s the difference? Podsednik and Pierre battled it out. Honestly I still believe Podsednik should have made the team and would have, if it weren’t for Pierre’s performance. Jim Thome was out the door especially with his serious foot and back problems. I think we all rooted for Jim to come back and do it. I think we’re all praying Bobby doesn’t.
Maybe that’s too hasty of a decision.