Just four days after releasing him, the Mets have re-signed outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract, the team announced Thursday. The 40 year old veteran has been assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he spent the first two weeks of the season.
Abreu, who made two All Star teams for the Phillies and also played for the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels over an 18 year career, had been designated for assignment on August 4th to make room for outfielder Kirk Nieunwenhuis on the major league roster.
After making his Met debut on April 20th, Abreu got off to a hot start as a pinch-hitter and occasional fourth outfielder. On June 2nd, he had hit .315 with one home run and an .897 OPS through 63 plate appearances. He fell off after that, though, hitting just .176 with two extra base hits, and his overall line fell to .238/.331/.336 across 142 plate appearances.
Alderson and his front office staff are no doubt fond of Abreu. He is a hitter etched in the offensive mold the Mets have preached to their players, patient and professional and known throughout his career as a batter who can lay off the fringes of the plate and wait for the pitcher to make a mistake. Even as a forty year old this season, his walk rate was 12.7%, 4 percentage points above the team’s 8.5%.
Manny Ramirez has reportedly been a great influence on the Cubs’ young hitters and the Mets may be hoping Abreu can serve as a similar a mentor to their prospects in Triple-A, and, come September, to young major league hitters like Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares.
Indeed, I would be quite surprised if Abreu is not called up when rosters expand on September 1. New York has room on its 40-man roster and the veteran would probably have bided his time as a free agent, hoping some team would extend a major league offer, if Alderson did not give some sort of handshake agreement to that end.
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