Featured Card: 2000 Bowman Retro/Future #78, Bobby Abreu; 2002 Topps Summer School Heart of the Order Relics #HTO-ARB, Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen, & Pat Burrell
I still don’t know what to make of yesterday’s signing of Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract. The Phillies need to get younger, not older, and while Abreu has to earn the spot, I’d hate to think that this means less time for Darin Ruf, who despite the holes in his game, is a perfectly serviceable bat off the bench and fourth outfielder. On the other hand, if Abreu makes the team, the Phillies will enter the 2014 season with ⅔ of its starting lineup from 2003 — how many other teams can say that? (Snarky aside: how many other teams would be glad to say that?) In addition, it’s very hard for me to root against any player in his 40s trying to hang on to the game as long as possible.
Two other thoughts come to mind about Abreu. First, he truly is a borderline HOF candidate (though he probably doesn’t pass the old-school “sniff” test and falls off the HOF ballot after his first year because although he ranks 51st all-time in times on base, far too many of his times on base came via walk and not via base hit). I forget who said it, but if he does somehow make the Hall, he should be the first person whose plaque doesn’t actually touch the wall — put it on a stand about six feet away from it. Along those same lines, I’ll never forget the time a co-worker, who was a Yankees fan, telling me a few months into the 2007 season that his son asked him about Abreu, “Dad, why is he so afraid of the wall?” Second, if you had asked me back in 2002 when Topps issued this triple-relic card which of the three men pictured on it I thought would be entering the 2014 preseason looking to hang on with the Phils, Abreu would’ve been my last pick. Just goes to show what an unpredictable game baseball really is.