Let me preface my explanation by trying to convince you that I am, somewhat, still sane. I am completely aware that bringing Bobby Abreu back to Phillie pinstripes only increases the average age of an already elder club. Also very much in my mind is the fact that Ruben Amaro Jr. has made nothing but questionable moves all offseason. There is nothing on this team that screams "playoff contenders" in my head. All that being said, I'm not dramatically upset over this signing.
First off, lets remember that the contract is for less than one million dollars, and that it is merely an invite to Spring Training, so Bobby isn't guaranteed to make the ballclub, though I believe he will. Most of the money is heavily incentive-based from that point forward, making it even less of a concern. Besides the favorable contract though, a few numbers jump out as possible selling points for #53's return.
The 2013 Phillies' left-handed bench situation consisted of a rotation of names. Laynce Nix, Roger Bernadina, Ezequiel Carrera, and Steve Susdorf all fit that mold, as well as Michael Martinez and Cesar Hernandez, to an extent. Excluding Carrera and Susdorf, who managed to string together just 28 plate appearances combined, let's look at the numbers.
Roger Bernadina, 2013 Season:
.181 BA, .250 OBP, .295 SLG, 6.4 BB%
Laynce Nix, 2013 Season:
.180 BA, .228 OBP, .258 SLG, 5.9 BB%
Michael Martinez, 2013 Season:
.175 BA, .175 OBP, .175 SLG, 0.0 BB%
Cesar Hernandez, 2013 Season:
.289 BA, .344 OBP, .331 SLG, 6.9 BB%
As a team, the Phillies collected a .248 BA, .306 OBP, .384 SLG, and 6.9 BB%. Of those four stats, only Cesar Hernandez was either better or right at team-average in three of them. Coincidentally, Hernandez saw a majority of the playing time with the team. Now, taking a look back to 2012 out in Los Angeles, one Bobby Abreu's stat line read as follows:
.242 BA, .350 OBP, .342 SLG, 14.4 BB%
That would put Abreu above the team average in two categories, on-base percentage and walk percentage, and just a few ticks under in batting average. Are these jaw-dropping numbers? Absolutely not. However, they are worth mentioning in a discussion of a bench player. Also worth mentioning are Abreu's Venezuelan league numbers:
.322 BA, .416 OBP, .461 SLG, 14.3 BB%
Obviously, these numbers are inflated do to the less talented-rich field in the Venezuelan league, as Frank previously wrote about, but they are still attention-grabbing. Knock several points off in each category, and you still have a players that is above average in many aspects in comparison to the 2013 Phillies average.
Am I saying that Bobby Abreu will re-emerge as his 2000 self? Not a chance. What I am saying, though, is that if Abreu can keep up half decent numbers with the Phillies throughout the campaign, he would emerge as a viable left-handed bat off the bench for manager Ryne Sandberg to utilize. I understand this makes me sound crazy, but I had to put some sort of positive spin on this team.
All stats courtesy: FanGraphs.com