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Sox After Abreu

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 4, 2009 5:00PM

2009_02_bobby_abreu.jpg While there was no mention of Bobby Abreu at this past weekend's SoxFest -- and in fact a player of his caliber would seem to be the antithesis of what GM Kenny Williams claimed he was trying to do -- rumors persist that the White Sox are negotiating with the free agent Abreu on a one year, eight million dollar deal. Neither side is denying the talks.

Abreu had been seeking a three-year, $45 million deal this off season. But with the uncertain economy hitting MLB teams, too, they've been very cautious in lavishing big bucks on free agents. Williams is bargain hunting, and hoping to land somebody for about half what he made last year. With the Yankees for the past two seasons, Abreu hit .296 with 20 home runs and drove in 100 runs. Not bad numbers by any means, but he'll be 35 by Opening Day so he's on the decline career wise. Is he too good to pass up if available for 50% off?

Maybe... but where would he play? At those dollars, he's not a reserve player. But the positions where he could play all seem to be accounted for. Primarily a right fielder, the Sox still have Jermaine Dye slotted there. First base? Paul Konerko. As he's getting up in years, might Abreu make a better DH? Jim Thome is still around, too. So exactly where would Ozzie Guillen play Abreu? That might depend on what Williams does before the season begins. An Abreu signing would probably signal that one of the veterans is about to be moved elsewhere.

We've heard rumors of deals involving Dye all off-season. But is Abreu for Dye any kind of improvement on the field or to the payroll? We don't see a real benefit there -- we'd take Dye's consistency over Abreu's little better speed. He'd be a bargain replacement at first or DH, but who wants to trade for Paulie or Thome and their big salaries? Unless Williams is about to make another run at Anaheim's Chone Figgens now that Angels first baseman Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees. With ESPN reporting that talks have stalled, maybe Williams is trying to determine the market for those other guys before finalizing things with Abreu.

AP Photo