According to The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox are unlikely to pursue Abreu as the backup first baseman/outfielder they’ve been seeking this winter.
On the surface, Abreu — if capable of playing an adequate first base (a big “if”) — would seem to make some sense for the Sox. He’s a left-handed hitter who has a track record of being able to get on base at a solid clip, which would fit nicely into the Red Sox’ 2013 offensive philosophy. The drawback, however, is that Abreu will be turning 39 in March, and it’s obvious that his skills have deteriorated significantly in recent years.
Abreu isn’t the same guy who was always good for an average around .300, an on-base percentage north of .400, 20-30 home runs, around 100 RBIs and 20-30 steals, although he wouldn’t need to be that guy in his new role. Still, the Sox apparently didn’t see enough out of him when they reportedly worked him out in Venezuela earlier this offseason.
Perhaps Abreu’s lack of experience at first base was the determining factor in whether to further pursue the 17-year veteran. An outfielder his entire career, Abreu has never played first base, and one of the team’s priorities this offseason has been finding someone who could also back up Napoli at first. Abreu reportedly took part in first base drills during his workout with the club, but plugging him in as Napoli’s backup would be a gamble, especially considering the injury concerns that will surround Napoli going forward.
Abreu, a career .292 hitter with a .396 on-base percentage, spent his 2012 season split between the Angels and Dodgers. He hit .242 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 219 at-bats over the course of 100 games.
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