Reporting from Tempe, Ariz. — Bobby Abreu hasn’t arrived at Angels camp, but the veteran outfielder already has caused a stir, telling a reporter from ESPNdeportes.com Tuesday that he would prefer to be traded if he isn’t playing every day.
“I’m an everyday player; I can still be in the lineup for a major league team,” Abreu said by phone from 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.”
The problem is that the Angels can’t guarantee Abreu a starting job this early in camp, and they would prefer to keep him as insurance in case Kendrys Morales doesn’t return from a broken left ankle and Mark Trumbo is slow to return from a stress fracture in his right foot.
Abreu will be 38 in March, and though he was among baseball’s best all-around players for a decade, he hit .253 with eight home runs and 60 runs batted in last season. Those factors, plus his $9-million salary, would probably make him difficult to move in a trade.
With Albert Pujols locked in at first base, Morales, who had 34 homers and 108 RBIs in 2009, and Trumbo, who had 29 homers and 87 RBIs last season, figure to get most of the designated hitter at-bats that went to Abreu last season. The outfield appears set with Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto and Manager Mike Scioscia recently assured Abreu that he would be given every opportunity this spring to win at-bats.
“Yes, I spoke to Scioscia, but the conversation had nothing to do about me being a bench player,” Abreu said. “He told me I will start one day in left field, another in right and another as a DH. 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.”