Bobby Abreu’s comeback as a bench bat for the Mets got off to a good start, but the 40-year-old has hit just .114 in 51 plate appearances since mid-June and today he was designated for assignment.
Abreu can still work deep counts, draw walks, and coax his way on base at a decent clip, but his power is totally gone and the need for a 40-year-old pinch-hitter on a sub-.500 team is pretty limited down the stretch.
This figures to be the end of the line for Abreu, who had similarly underwhelming overall numbers in 2012 before sitting out all of last season. However, he was an on-base machine for nearly 15 years, has racked up 2,466 hits with 288 homers and 400 steals, and in my book at least goes down as one of the most underrated players of this era.
Among all active position players only Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have gotten on base more times than Abreu’s career total of 3,973 and only Rodriguez, Jeter, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, and Chase Utley have a higher Wins Above Replacement total.
Austin Romine is starting at catcher and batting ninth for the Yankees in today’s ALCS Game 4 versus the Astros.
Gary Sanchez is still in the lineup, but he’s the DH. That means Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley and Matt Holliday are all on the bench.
Sanchez was lambasted for not holding on to the relay throw in Game 2, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite getting beat to the plate by the ball by several feet. That, combined with earlier passed balls, led some in the press to lobby for Romine to get the call behind the plate. Those calls tended to ignore the fact that Romine can’t hit a lick and that he is inferior to Sanchez when it comes to gunning down runners. Maybe a ball doesn’t skip by Romine that would have eluded Sanchez, but if I’m Jose Altuve or Alex Bregman or one of the speedier Astros, I’m running wild on Romine any time I get on base today.
The offensive knock is not quite as big a deal at the moment as it normally would be. Sanchez is in an 0-for-16 slump, but Romine isn’t replacing his bat he’s replacing either Ellsbury, Headley or Holliday. None of those guys are hitting at all, so I don’t suppose this is that big of a deal. Discuss amongst yourselves if you’d rather have a guy who is as cold as ice in the lineup who might hit versus a guy you can be pretty sure isn’t gonna hit regardless.
Either way, it’s a different look for the Yankees in Game 4.