The Mets designated 40-year-old OF Bobby Abreu for assignment today, following a brutal 4-3 loss at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. The club announced that Kirk Niewenhuis, who has split time between Las Vegas and New York this season, will replace Abreu on the 25-man roster.
After spending spring training with the Phillies, the Mets signed Abreu to a minor league contract when he failed to make the Philadelphia squad. While the move seemed insignificant at the time, Abreu impressed with his bat in Triple-A, hitting to the tune of a .395/.489/579 triple-slash line, earning himself a promotion after just 15 games.
While many fans and baseball pundits alike dismissed Abreu as over the hill, he proved useful for the Mets through the early weeks of the season. From the time of his debut on April 22nd to June 15th, Abreu batted .308 with 10 extra-base-hits in 91 plate appearances. He even saw some regular time in the outfield due to an injury to Juan Lagares. However, since that time Abreu had struggled mightily. He managed only three hits in all of July, to the tune of a .111 batting average. While conventional wisdom would dictate Abreu to be an ideal pinch hitting candidate, he had only 2 hits in 31 ABs (.065) as a pinch hitter all season.
The move will allow the Mets to call up Niewenhuis, who has enjoyed some success with the big league club this year.
In all likelihood, this latest demotion will bring an end to Abreu's illustrious major league career. According to Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports, "Among all active position players only Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have gotten on base more times than Abreu’s career total of 3,973 and only Rodriguez, Jeter, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, and Chase Utley have a higher Wins Above Replacement total."
Despite the odds being stacked against him, Abreu would like to continue playing baseball professionally.
"I want to keep playing. I love this game," Abreu said. "I have to just see if there's going to be any offers or something."
Additionally, the 40-year-old expressed gratitude to the Mets for affording him the opportunity to play in the MLB once again after a year long hiatus.
"It was a big step for me, to be out one year and make a comeback this year," Abreu said. "To hear this news right now, it's not going to put me down. I'm just going to stay with my head up. I'm going to keep working hard and see if there's any news. All I can say is when you want it, just go out there and work hard and stay positive and good things are going to come up."
According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, Abreu indicated he would like to be a hitting coach one day.
"I'd like to see if I can pass all the stuff that I know to these guys," he said about coaching.
As for his influence on the Mets' young Latin American players, Abreu added: "We talked a lot about hitting, approach and everything. Wilmer is one of those guys, he's got power and he can hit a lot of balls in the gap. What I say to them is, 'Make sure you look for your pitch to hit. Just go up there and be aggressive, but look for a good pitch to hit. And don't ever be afraid to fail. Just go out there and do your thing. You already know how to do it. You're here in the big leagues for a reason. You're not here for nothing.'"
Ultimately, the Mets made the right decision in designating Abreu for assignment. This move will afford younger player's like Kirk Niewenhuis and Eric Young Jr. extra at-bats throughout the final third of the season. We wish Bobby all the best as he begins the next chapter of his storied baseball career.