The Dodgers cannot afford to acquire the recently cut Bobby Abreu. The former Anaheim Angel was let go because he wanted a bigger role that was not available with the team.
There haven’t been any real whispers of the Dodgers going after Abreu, but with Juan Rivera inching closer to a stint on the disabled list, it feels like the cards are falling into place for the Dodgers to make such a move.
Abreu, 38, can still play. He is a veteran is patient at the plate and can hit balls into the gaps well and would seem to be a great acquisition for a playoff-contending team, but the Dodgers need to resist the urge.
One of the lasting memories I will always have of former Dodger owner Frank McCourt will be, instead of chasing the young stud who has suddenly been made available by trade or free agency, the Dodgers often picked up an inexpensive veteran on the back end of his career.
Sometimes the veteran acquisitions worked well short-term (in some cases very, very short-term), such as former Dodgers Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, but for the most part, the moves have indirectly weakened the team long-term.
Garciaparra and Ramirez were loved here (Nomar more than Manny after it was all said and done), but even then, the feeling was, ‘What if we had these guys in their prime?’
It all started with Steve Finley in 2004, McCourt’s first year. Before coming to the Dodgers, Finley had a great 15-year career with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. In his pre-Dodger career, he won four Gold Gloves, made two All-Star teams and was even a World Series hero with the Diamondbacks.
Finley was 39-year-old. and had a great 39 games with the Dodgers. He hit 13 home runs, drove in 46 runners and hit a memorable grand slam to clinch a the NL West for the Blue Crew in the last game of the 2004 season. The Dodgers were lucky enough to catch Finley’s last really good season in MLB, but even then it was the first time in the McCourt Era that Dodger fans were left saying, ‘What if we had this guy in his prime?’
After that, the Dodgers acquired guys like Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Kenny Lofton, Nomar Garciaparra, David Wells, Luis Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Juan Pierre, Orlando Hudson and Garret Anderson.
Now, after reading that list, you might be thinking, ‘You just listed a bunch of multiple-time All-Stars and future hall of famers who did pretty well on the Dodgers, you dunce,” and you’d be right. But in all those years, how many times could we have said, ‘What if we had these guys in their prime and not on the wrong side of 30?,”? More importantly, how many young studs did they pass on during that time?
What if the Dodgers had signed, let’s say, Vladimir Guerrero who was entering his prime as a free agent and got picked up by the Angels in 2004. How about two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana who was on the trade market in 2008. What if the Dodgers had signed CC Sabathia when he was a free agent in 2009. Heck, just recently you can remember the Dodgers had a shot at picking up Cliff Lee twice, once in 2010 when the Mariners were shopping him and again last year when he got signed by the Phillies. There were serious talks between the Dodgers and Prince Fielder before the start of this season, but once again, it just didn’t happen. These are just a few names. I bet you could think of a few other names that fall into this category, players who had a real shot at calling themselves Dodgers.
After all of that, you can see why the Guggenheim Group might want to be patient before making moves for players like Abreu. He could be added to that list of veteran players who had a pretty good year with the Dodgers, and left Dodger fans thinking, ‘What if we had this guy in his prime?’ Or the new owners can wait for a young stud to be made available, (like rumors of Adam Jones being shopped for a trade) in order to make a big splash and not have Dodgers Nation feeling like they’ve seen those kinds of moves made before, by an owner who left a bad taste in fan’s mouths.
Abreu could possibly be a great acquisition for the Dodgers this year, but deep down inside, I’ll know I’ve seen that movie before.