As recently as a week ago, the asking price on Bobby Abreu was said to be locked in place, a three-year deal for something in the neighborhood of $16 million a year. But those numbers were based on appraisals made before the motor companies got an executive bailout, before the Dow Jones Industrial Average shrunk to four digits.
In the last few days, Abreu -- like so many other veteran players -- has come to grips with the reality that the lush multi-year deal is simply not going to be there for him, and the All-Star who hit 20 homers and accumulated an on-base percentage of .371 last season is said to be willing to take a one-year deal.
It is not what Abreu wants, it is not what Adam Dunn wants, or what Jason Varitek wants. It may take awhile for proud veteran players with solid track records to fully accept the humbling reality that the big money is just not there for them, for whatever reason they choose to believe.
But once those players settle on the fact that they are taking a one-year deal, the market place will probably open up for them. A lot more teams will become interested, presumably.
Abreu, on a modest one-year deal, would seemingly be in the price range of the Mets, Braves, Angels, Giants and maybe the Red Sox. Dunn might draw interest from the Yankees, a team for which he is perfectly suited, if they could shed the contracts of two of the three from the group of Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher. Abreu, Dunn and Varitek can go someplace and bust it for one year, and if they have a strong season, they can hope that the economic troubles will have less bearing on the market next offseason than they did this winter.
Spending across this market is down significantly, as these updated numbers from ESPN research monster Mark Simon show:
Jon Garland, who turned down arbitration and the chance to get an award that probably would have fallen in the range of $12 million to $14 million for the 2009 season, may be closing in on a deal with the D-Backs, writes Steve Gilbert.