UPDATE: Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that Abreu hasn’t personally issued an ultimatum to him or manager Mike Scioscia:
“I spoke to Bobby a little more than a week ago, I’d say — a week, 10 days ago — and walked through his current situation, and Mike has had very similar conversations,” Dipoto said. “So, Bobby is aware of the circumstances, he’s aware of the people on the roster. We do see a fit for Bobby on this club, he’s aware of where that fit is. It’s not something that we’re going to play it [out] in the media. … Whether it’s an ultimatum that’s been issued, he has no right to do that.”
7:20 PM: Bobby Abreu’s potential role with the Angels this season will depend on the health of Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, but he told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com today that he will request a trade if he’s not an everyday player.
“I’m an everyday player. I can still be in the lineup for a Major League team,” said Abreu from his native Venezuela. “I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.
“If the Angels don’t have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won’t be able to do nothing sitting in the bench.”
Abreu turns 38 next month and is coming off a disappointing season in which he batted .253/.353/.365 with eight homers and a .717 OPS, so if both Morales and Trumbo are ready for Opening Day, the log jam would undoubtedly force him into a part-time role.
Morales, who missed all of last season following a second surgery on his left ankle, said over the weekend that he “feels a lot better” than he did last spring and that he “should be ready” for Opening Day. Meanwhile, Trumbo is already hitting and fielding following a stress fracture in his right foot and hopes to be cleared next week to begin running at full speed.
We’ve heard chatter about the Angels shopping Abreu for a while now and they nearly found a match with the Yankees recently, but right-hander A.J. Burnett nixed the deal by invoking his no-trade clause. Abreu is owed $9 million this season, so the Angels would likely have to cover a chunk of his remaining salary in order to make a trade palatable for someone.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.