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Mets sign Bobby Abreu to minor league deal

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The veteran outfielder will join the Las Vegas 51s.

Bobby Abreu gets to this flyball in time
Bobby Abreu gets to this flyball in time
Christian Petersen

The Mets have signed veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract to play for the Las Vegas 51s.  Abreu did not play in Major League Baseball in 2013, opting to pursue entrepreneurial interests in Venezuela after failing to receive a contract before that season.

Abreu then played in the 2103 Venezuelan Winter League for  Leones del Caracas in order to prove that he still could provide value to a major league team.  During that time he hit an impressive .322/.416/.461, and during the postseason he hit 8 home runs, demonstrating that his bat still may have a fair amount of pop left in it.  Based on his performance, the Phillies invited him to spring training on a minor league contract, where he hit .244/.404/.366.  Despite a reasonably effective offensive showing, he was released once it was determined he would not make the Phillies' roster, presumably due to his reputation as an extremely poor outfield defender at every position.

Over the course of his career, Abreu has a slash line of .292/.396/.477.  If his performance in spring training and the winter leagues indicates that he can still provide a solid on-base percentage along with a bit of pop, his bat could provide value to the right team.  It is still unclear, however, how the Mets intend to use him. With Cesar Puello, Matt den Dekker, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis all at Vegas already, the outfield appears to be crowded.  Unless the Mets are expecting numerous call-ups throughout the season, it is hard to picture a role for Abreu with the 51s.

It is possible the Mets have Abreu him in order to serve as first base depth, but his lack of experience at the position at a major league level means he would need to learn the position at Triple-A.  It is also possible he has been signed strictly as a bat off of the bench, although the Mets have numerous players who could already fill the role of "positionless pinch hitter."