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.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.