Bobby Abreu is back. Say it ain't so Amaro! The two time all star slugger who drove fans crazy is back in Phillies pinstripes. Deemed a clubhouse cancer, the departure of Abreu in the summer of 2006 paved the way for a new breed of Phillies baseball. As a young nucleus of homegrown talent became the face of the franchise. A nucleus, no longer young, still remains the face today.
The latest addition to an aging Phillies team leave fans scratching their heads and downright angry with RAJ. Frankly anything, short of a trade for Mike Trout, has Phillies Nation writing "Fire Ruben" all over town. For a team that is desperately hanging on to former glory signing 40 year old, out of work ball players doesn't seem to help. But right now this is the best the Phillies can do.
I was admittedly excited when the news broke of the Abreu signing. Once upon a time Abreu was a shining light amongst a dismal Phillies team. Despite his lackadaisical fielding and Jimmy-esque hustle, the man could hit. With 2,437 career hits that much is evident. I was never a huge Abreu fan but the name is nostalgic with Phillies baseball, maybe for all the wrong reasons. All of the downsides and reasons for frustration are clearly evident. Abreu has been out of work since 2012 and turns 40 in March. For a fan base that is use to winning, back to back seasons of mediocrity is starting to take it's toll. The only person in town who isn't ready for a rebuild is the man in charge of it all.
Abreu spent nine of his 17 major-league seasons with the Phillies. Despite being out of work last season Abreu has swung the bat well, this winter, in the Venezuelan Leauge. Hitting .322 with 28 RBIs and a .577 OPS in 50 games. Well enough to get him an invite to a major-league camp this spring. Bobby Abreu isn't going to make the Phillies a contender. The 39-year old might not even make it out of camp, but for the 2014 Phillies this is about all we can expect. A team tied down to an aging nucleus looking to catch some lighting in a bottle with low risk, high reward moves.
I don't hate the move like everyone else. I will be rooting for Abreu in three weeks when the team reports to Clearwater. Right now as the excitement of spring training looms any Phillies news is good news to me!! Let's hope a little bit of the slugger in winter ball makes it's way up to Philly. As an always optimistic Phillies fan I am excited for a new year!