Outfielder Bobby Abreu and the Los Angeles Angels are nearing an agreement on a one-year contract, according to sources, perhaps helping to loosen what has been a tight winter market for many mid-level free agents.
The Angels had only mild interest in adding a high-profile outfielder until prices fell among available outfielders, a list that still includes Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Garret Anderson and Ken Griffey Jr. Beyond Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr., they'd re-signed Juan Rivera to a three-year contract and intended to move utilityman Chone Figgins to left field, satisfying their outfield/DH rotation.
Their plan was to give prospect Brandon Wood a chance to win the job at third base. If they sign Abreu, it's likely Figgins would again play third.
Abreu, who will be 35 in March, earned $16 million in 2008, his last with the Yankees. He hit 20 home runs, drove in 100 runs and walked 73 times.
Those aren't the numbers of Mark Teixeira, whom the Angels bid $160 million before backing out of negotiations, but they should aid on an offense somewhat short on patient hitters. At issue is Abreu's defense, which many scouts contend is in decline.
Still, he could play left field, where he'd be an offensive upgrade over Anderson, spell Guerrero in right, and serve as the DH if Guerrero and Matthews are healthy and manning the corners.
The deal is believed to be worth about $5 million.