Abreu Trade Talks Spark Fans Dislike
By Vince Guerrieri
Did Trevor Crowe become an all-star and I missed it?
That’s the only explanation I can think of for the level of vitriol I’ve heard from Tribe fans about the proposed trade of him to the Angels for Bobby Abreu. Tribe fans squawk when the team doesn’t make a deal, and then they don’t like it when they do.
Admittedly, it’s easy, even natural to be a little gun-shy after the Ubaldo Jimenez deal. The Tribe dealt away two top prospects – Drew Pomeranz and Alex White — for a purported ace who can’t seem to find the strike zone. The Indians already have a starter like that in the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.
But this appears to be a low-risk deal with the potential for some reward. Abreu will get paid around $9 million a year, most of which will get picked up by Arte Moreno.
The Indians need another outfielder. There’s no way around that. Shin-Soo Choo is in right field. Grady Sizemore’s injury in spring training creates a gap that can be filled, at least in the short term, by Michael Brantley, but that in turn leaves a gap in left field.
What will most likely happen is that Abreu, 38, and Shelley Duncan would platoon in left field.
Last year, the Indians made a deal for Jim Thome, a sentimental fan favorite who still had a little left at the plate. The Tribe was so bereft of offense that Thome almost instantly became one of the top run producers for the team when he arrived.
Abreu’s best offensive production is no doubt behind him, but his bat in the lineup would still be of some help to the Indians. And with Anaheim picking up the tab, the Indians wager nothing but Crowe – who’s coming back from shoulder and elbow surgery and was sent down to the minors after failing to make the team as a non-roster invitee. Baseball’s full of players who made something of themselves after being placed on the discard pile. It’s entirely possibly Crowe could become one of those players. But the Indians were able to find those kinds of players in Kevin Millwood, who led the league in ERA in his only year in Cleveland, and Carl Pavano, who went 9-8, including 6-3 in the division, in 2009 before the Tribe dealt him to Minnesota.
Abreu might not be a smashing success, but he fills a need more immediately than Crowe would. And however this happens, it appears that one thing’s for sure: Former Indian Jerry DiPoto, now the Halos’ general manager, won’t put one over on his former team like Ruben Amaro Jr. did in the Cliff Lee deal.
Photo: Associated Press