LOS ANGELES (CBS) - When the Los Angeles Angels acquired Albert Pujols, it set off a chain reaction throughout Orange County and put everyone on the team on notice that the direction was changing a little. However, it also meant that some players were going to be left out. With Pujols taking over at first base, Mark Trumbo moving to third base, Albert Callaspo platooning with him and Kendrys Morales attempting to make a comeback to become the designated hitter, which means Bobby Abreu, is left with no spot in the lineup.
On Tuesday, Abreu voiced his displeasure with the situation as he reportedly told an ESPNdeportedLos Angeles.com reporter that he would rather be traded than be on the bench. “I’m an everyday player, I can still be in the lineup for a major league team,” Abreu said by phone from Venezuela.
Abreu will be turning 38 in March and the Angels are not guaranteeing him that he will be a starter due to the sudden crowded playing field aided by Pujols arrival. The Angels would rather keep him as a key component off the bench and a player that they can plug in the starting lineup every other day.
Abreu does have a $9-million dollar salary this season but he has declined over the last couple years, including last year when he hit just .253 with only eight home runs and 60 runs batted in.
The outfield at the moment is set with Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells occupying the three spots and the infield has six guys ready to play. There may be no room for Abreu.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto and Manager Mike Scoscia attempted to talk with Abreu and assure him that he would have a spot in the lineup.
“I spoke to Scoscia, but the conversation had nothing to do about me being a bench player,” Abreu said. “We are on the same page in the sense that we both want the team to compete and go far in the playoffs, but we never reached an agreement in respect to me becoming a bench player.”
Due to Abreu’s decline last season, it would be tough to trade him. However, his career stats of a .293 batting average with 284 home runs and 1,325 runs batted in will definitively hook a team that is desperate for a bat. The Angels, still needing to address a few weaknesses could use him as a bargaining chip.
Abreu’s fate may depend on Morales’ health –- if he’s healthy there is a chance he stays… if not, expect the Angels to trade him for some much-needed bullpen depth.