Enough is enough. We've been putting up with him for weeks, but after his latest comments, it is high time that we shout from the rooftops that Bobby Abreu just needs to shut the hell up.
Quite simply, he's taken it too far. These are no longer the words of a frustrated veteran, but rather of an entitled, deluded buffoon who appears to be making it his personal mission to disrespect the Angels' franchise, management and even the fans.
This we cannot abide. To make sure that his general jackassery is fully appreciated, I present to you a complete timeline of Abreu's meltdown and all the damning comments he has made along the way along with the responses of the Angels interspersed. Read this and there is no doubt that you too will join me in my crusade to silence Abreu, even if that can only be achieved by him being released.
2/20 - Our journey begins with Angel management extending an olive branch to Bobby after rumors leaked to the press that he might prefer a trade. Gee, I wonder who leaked that?
"In talking to Bobby, he does want to play every day, but he's tempered that with an understanding of the potential of this team to win and he understands the situation," Scioscia said.
Look at the Angels taking Abreu's feelings into consideration and being proactive about working with him. You can't ask for much more from an organization. At this point, everything looks hunky-dory since Bobby has been "tempered" and has "an understanding." What a stand up guy that Abreu is! Glad that this all got worked out so quickly before anyone got their feelings hurt. Or not...
2/22 - Those trade demands become less rumor and more fact when Abreu takes to the media himself, despite his recent meeting with management.
"I'm an everyday player. I can still be in the lineup for a major league team," said Abreu from his native Venezuela. "I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.
"If the Angels don't have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won't be able to do nothing sitting in the bench."
Said Abreu: "Yes, I spoke to Scioscia, but the conversation had nothing to do about me being a bench player. He told me I will start one day in left field, another in right and another as a designated hitter."
"We are on the same page in the sense that we both want the team to compete and go far into the playoffs, but we never reached an agreement in respect to me becoming a bench player," he added.
"I want to play, and I believe I can help this team. But if there is no spot for me, then I would prefer to play somewhere different," said the left-handed hitter and two time All-Star.
When this first came out, it was perceived as Abreu being a bit frustrated and that he had a clearing of the air with Scioscia, but now that we know how he has behaved since, it reads in a totally different light. Notice the ultimatums and matter of fact statements. He will NOT be on the bench. NOTHING to do about him being a bench player. NEVER reached an agreement on being a bench player. I WANT TO PLAY!!!!! If this was the only time he said all of this, I could excuse it. Seeing your career end is not easy and he has a right to be upset about it. The problem is that this wasn't the end of it or even close to it.
2/22 - Having his hand forced by Abreu, Mike Scioscia takes to the media himself for some damage control.
"Bobby and I have always spoken very candidly," Scioscia said. "I think Bobby, he's a professional. He's going to go out there and you don't get too many guys any more professional than Bobby. So I don't anticipate that being an issue. I think if there are some issues, I'm sure that his agent [Peter Greenberg] will work through [them] with Jerry. Bobby's here, he's going to help us win games, and that's what we're looking forward to."
If by "professional" Scioscia meant that he would complain at every opportunity, then he is correct. And if by "I don't anticipate that being an issue," he meant that there would be a major issue, then he is correct again. And if by "his agent will work through [them] with Jerry" he meant that Abreu would go directly to the media and air his grievances to the general public, then Scioscia nailed that one too. Of course, none of this is Scioscia's fault, he simply expected Abreu to act like a veteran and a grown man instead of like a spoiled brat.
2/27 - And now we arrive at the pivotal decision by Mike Scioscia to promise Abreu 400 plate appearances. Let's see what Bobby had to say about that promise that most Angel fans felt was far too much.
"I just said I wanted to play every day. I’ve been playing, pretty much all my career, 150 games plus, and I just love to play, I just love this game. It’s no ultimatum. I just said to them that I want to be on the field every day."
That sounds an awful lot like an ultimatum, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, although I really don't know why.
"That’s fine. I just want to be on the field. It doesn’t matter how it’s going to be – in left field, right field, as a DH. Just help the team win, and whatever way I can help, I’m going to do it."
This is him talking about the 400 plate appearance promise. Please note that he says "that's fine." As we will soon find out, it isn't fine with him. And by soon, I mean in the next paragraph.
"It’s not enough. I’ve been getting 600, most of the time 700 at-bats every year, but like I said, that’s the situation right now. Let’s see how it’s going to be handled, what’s going to happen. Let’s see. It’s just a number. But I think it can be a little bit more."
"Let's see how it's going to be handled" is his way of showing that he is already dubious about this promise. That is understandable since anybody with half of a brain can clearly see that the Angels have a logjam at DH and OF. Nonetheless, he is publicly suggesting that his manager, one of the most respected players' managers in the game, is full of crap. Not exactly what I call being a team player.
"Well, I guess the reaction, it was like well I’m going back to New York. It was something, I think that was happening in one week or whatever. It didn’t happen, I don’t know what was the reason. But it would’ve been an opportunity for me to just play every day over there as a DH. It would’ve been a nice opportunity. It would’ve been nice, too."
Commenting on his near trade to the Yankees, Abreu professes not to understand why it fell through even though it was prominently reported that A.J. Burnett vetoed the deal. No doubt the Angels explained that to him. Bobby does not care though, in his mind they failed him because it is ALL about him. But at least he openly pines to be with the Yankees. That has to make the Angels feel good.
"Well, I’m an Angel. I’m an Angel right now, I’ve been an Angel for the last three years, four years, and all the fans know the way that I feel, how I play the game. I throw everything on the field to try to just win the games, help the team, help the young guys to have any idea what’s the game. Well, I mean, sometimes, these games, it’s a business sometimes, and you don’t know where you’re going to be tomorrow. Right now, I’m an Angel, I wear the uniform Angel, and I’ll do anything I can do just to help them win."
He'll do ANYTHING as long as "anything" doesn't involve being a bench player or not constantly griping to the press or generally not acting like a malcontent. And, you know what? The fans did know him and how he is and how he plays the game. Up until now, we had known him to be a consummate professional, which makes this ongoing betrayal so much harder to stomach.
"It’s not like I’m looking to be traded. I just come over to make things clear. I just want to play every day. All I want, right now, in spring training, I don’t want to create any distractions for my teammates. Just get them ready for the season, and that’s it, just play the game. That’s one thing that I really love to do, and I’m just going to do it."
First off, he is looking to be traded. He has asked to be traded more than once in public and just a few sentences ago was bemoaning the fact that his did not get traded.
Also, how could you possibly be a distraction, Bobby? Nobody minds when players repeatedly demand playing time, right? But, you know what, you got to vent and get this all out of your system. Fine. As long as this is the last we hear of it, I'm sure you won't be a distraction at all. Let's move on and put this behind us...
2/29 - ...OR NOT
"There's no doubt I can still play the outfield," Abreu said Wednesday morning. "You know when you start to lose it and I know I have the same ability I've had in my career. I stole 25 bases last year, so you know my legs are still good."
This is where Bobby crosses the line from being frustrated to being completely delusional. He CANNOT play the field anymore. He just can't. His defensive metrics from his entire career as an Angel are amongst the worst in baseball. The best UZR/150 he has posted in the last three years is -7.6, which is unquestionably awful. And when he was playing the field, he was plagued by back and leg problems, because, you know, he's old and nearing the end of his career and needs to be DHing.
3/2 - Now let's hear what Mike Scioscia says after all of Abreu's grumbling.
"I think he wants to play. He wants to show he can play, he wants to go out there and win the at-bats that he thinks he’s got to need to contribute to the team," Scioscia said. "He wants to get started on it."
Yeah, he really wants to play. Not well, but he wants to play. But at least he prepared himself well for all the additional spring at-bats he requested, and was granted, mind you, by showing up for camp out of shape and noticeably carrying some extra pounds. But notice that once again the Angels take the high road. Scioscia could easily throw down the gauntlet and tell Bobby that he is going to have to come in and earn his playing time, but he doesn't. He sticks up for the guy and keeps up with the 400 guaranteed plate appearances mantra even though he has every right to call him out for being such an ungrateful ass for the last few weeks.
"Three years," the 38-year-old Angel said Monday morning, indicating he doesn't want to retire until after his age-40 season.
"That's what I want. I feel that I can keep playing. I believe that you have to know when your body tells you when to stop. But I'm fine. I feel fine."
"It's normal, I guess," Abreu said. "Spring Training, sometimes you hit, sometimes you don't. I think the most important thing is you just want to get yourself ready for the season, whatever it takes."
I'm glad his body feels good. I mean, we all know his mouth still works, so I wasn't too worried. But three years? Really? If he can do it, more power to him. Ambition is a wonderful thing, but does he not see the writing on the wall that he may not even last one more season? Delusional. My favorite part is him saying that the most important thing is getting ready for the season, doing whatever it takes. Judging by his physique this spring, "it" takes eating a lot of donuts.
"I just want to feel good with my swing, with my legs, with my body, and to make good contact," Abreu said. "Right now, I'm worried about getting myself ready for the season."
I. My. My. My. I'm. Myself. ME ME ME ME ME!!!!! Oh, and he must be really worried about his body since he came to camp overweight and out of shape. Have I mentioned that yet?
3/23 - Finally, Abreu sits down with a Venezuelan reporter and expresses his true feelings, presumably because he didn't think a Spanish-language paper would ever get picked up by the American media. He thought wrong.
"I've learned not to have much confidence in these people, but I hope they live up to what they told me," Abreu told Billy Russo at Lider en Deportes. "How long am I going to have to continue proving to people what I am, and what I'm able to do? At times it's like the work one does doesn't get appreciated, but here I am, and we'll continue the fight." Likewise, he said not knowing how much his time will be split between right field and DH has altered his preparation for the season. "It's clearly affected me, because I'm not used to that, and I don't know why they did it, but whatever; I'll keep on keeping on."
Call the fire department because the bridge is on fire, especially by saying that he basically does not trust anyone in management (a comment that has since been redacted from the original story, suggesting that even Bobby realizes that this comment went too far). What have the Angels done to lose his confidence exactly? Did they not continue to allow him to play almost every day in 2011 even though it meant that his $9 million option would vest for 2012? The writing was on the wall that Abreu was in decline, so there is no way that the Halos actually wanted to pay him $9 million to play for them this year. They could have reduced his role last season with the goal of avoiding the vesting option. But they didn't. Why? Because they aren't going to do that to a respected player just to save money. They used him because they thought they needed him and didn't want to disrespect him by deliberately making sure his option did not vest. Also, they did it because Tony Reagins is a moron and left them no alternative, but that is another rant for another time.
When it comes to what Bobby has proven, well, let's take a look at that shall we? He's proven that he is now a .250 hitter. He's proven that he has no pop left in his bat. He's proven that he can't hit lefties anymore. He's proven that he can't play the field at all. He's proven that he is an entitled, lazy, malcontent that no GM in MLB would trade for unless their children's lives were at stake. He's proven that he has a short memory because the Angels showed him plenty of "appreciation" by giving him a three-year, $27 million contract after he impresed them so much with his play and attitude during the 2009 season. Oops!
What he could have done is proven that the Angels were right in their initial inclination to trust Abreu to be a loyal soldier and act like a professional about this situation by not opening his mouth so that they could find a suitable trade for him, which they have no prayer of doing now. Even with all the bitching, the Angels had his back in public while trying to also honor his trade request in private. That's what trustworthy organizations do for players that they appreciate.
What more does he want them to do? Does he really expect them to help him out now after he just publicly threw the entire organization under the bus?
Sure, Bobby, you're right. We haven't been treating you fairly. You can play everyday! Thanks for being so kind in repeatedly pointing out to us how badly you have been wronged. In fact, just to make sure we never offend you again, why don't you fill out the lineup card from now on? Can we interest you in a contract extension while we're at it? You just tell us how much you think you're worth. Here's a blank check.
Well, actually, he probably does that should happen because he's a delusional jerk that still believes he is an All-Star caliber player despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. At this point, I really hope the Angels just release him. They absolutely could use him as depth on the bench since he does have some utility left in him, but it just isn't worth it if he is going to whine to any beat writer with a notepad every time he doesn't play on consecutive days or gets pulled for a pinch-hitter. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to see how Abreu reacts to hitting the open market and finding out that nobody wants to pick him up even though he is essentially free.
Keep on keeping on, Bobby! On to the unemployment line.
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