Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Source: Abreu-ChiSox talks stalled
By Jerry Crasnick
Negotiations between the Chicago White Sox and free-agent outfielder Bobby Abreu stalled early this week after the team floated the possibility of a one-year, $8 million contract, said a baseball source.
The source disputed a New York Daily News report that said the White Sox had made Abreu an $8 million offer but confirmed that the team has been in contact with Abreu's agent, Peter Greenberg, in an effort to gauge the outfielder's asking price.
In an e-mail to ESPN.com, Chicago general manager Kenny Williams said Abreu is "a great player and will certainly help any club." But Williams declined to address whether the White Sox have any interest.
According to the source, the White Sox have some interest in acquiring Abreu and adding a pitcher, but Williams can't make those moves unless he trades right fielder Jermaine Dye and his $11.5 million salary. And the team has made little or no headway in trade talks involving Dye.
It's also uncertain whether the White Sox would save much money by signing Abreu and trading Dye. Abreu was initially looking for a three-year, $48 million deal this winter but then gradually downsized his expectations to $10 million to $11 million annually over three years.
Last week, Greenberg told The Seattle Times that Abreu is now open to the idea of signing a one-year contract. But it's believed Abreu is still looking for a base salary of at least $10 million.
The Seattle Mariners' interest in Abreu is predicated on GM Jack Zduriencik clearing payroll by trading a pitcher -- possibly Jarrod Washburn. The San Francisco Giants have some interest, and the Los Angeles Dodgers view Abreu as a potential fallback in the event things fail to work out with Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn.
The New York Mets have said they're not interested in Abreu and plan to go with a combination of Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy in left field.
The Tampa Bay Rays made Abreu a one-year, $7.5 million offer earlier this offseason but then backed off when Pat Burrell agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal.
Abreu, 34, is a .300 career hitter in 13 seasons with the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. Abreu, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are the only major league players who have driven in at least 100 runs in each of the past six seasons.
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com.