Posted: Monday July 31, 2006 8:24PM; Updated: Monday July 31, 2006 9:18PM
In Bobby Abreu, the Yankees get a player who has had 107 RBIs and a .408 on-base percentage in his last 162 games.
Comments, questions or obviously unfounded criticism? To e-mail Donovan, use the form below.
After all the smoke cleared Monday from all the trade fires that were lit around baseball -- and after it became clear that Andruw Jones, Brad Lidge, Scott Linebrink, Roy Oswalt, Scott Proctor, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Schmidt, Miguel Tejada, Dontrelle Willis andAlfonso Soriano were all just false alarms -- the biggest deal of the season, and maybe the one that means the most, ended up being the one made the night before the deadline.
Yeah, it involved the Yankees. Doesn't it always?
The Yankees pulled off the coup of the trade season Sunday night by doing something that the Yankees have become experts at doing over the past decade or more. That is, opening their wallets. Opening them really, really wide.
Who else but the Yankees could afford to fork over somewhere around $22 million for maybe eight months of games -- counting the rest of this year, next year and a $2 million buyout to get out from under a $16-million hammer in 2008 -- for an outfielder who has hit as many homers in the past year (14) as Ichiro has?
Who else but the Yankees would even think about it?
(Answer to both of those questions, for those wondering: No one.)
Look, Bobby Abreu is not a bad trade pickup for the Yankees. He's a good one, in fact. Maybe a very good one. He doesn't hit for the power he once did, as evidenced by that paltry homer total. And he plays with a kind of calm detachment that may not go over well in the Bronx. It certainly hasn't worked for A-Rod.
But Abreu is, as Lou Piniella used to say, "a professional hitter." He has had 107 RBIs in his last 162 games, to go with a .408 on-base percentage, 10th in baseball. He's walked more than anyone in the past year. He is, in effect, Kevin Youkilis Plus.
Abreu will help the Yankees immensely, especially considering the problems they've had in the outfield. A lineup with Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter near the top, with Jason Giambi and A-Rod and Abreu in the middle ... that's an awesome lineup. And that's before Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield make it back.
Of course, Abreu could have helped a lot of other teams, too. A lot of teams would have loved to have him.
If he didn't cost $22 million for a year.
The Phillies, Abreu's former team, are maybe the only ones in baseball not shaking their heads at this deal. By talking the Yanks into taking Abreu, and by writing Abreu a check for $1.5 million to waive his no-trade clause, the Phillies freed themselves of all that salary and put themselves -- thankfully, you can bet -- back at rebuilding square one.
Of course, the Yankees got what they wanted, too. Abreu came with pitcher Cory Lidle, who will plug nicely into the bottom of the Yankees' leaky starting rotation. The Yanks will pay the remainder of Lidle's $3.3 million, too. Chump change, considering.
In all, the Yanks beefed up their lineup considerably, shored up the rotation and showed the Red Sox -- strangely silent around the trade deadline -- that the American League East race is far from over.
As for the cost? Well, if you have to ask, you're not the Yankees.