November 2009

Quinlan drawing interest

From Robb Quinlan’s camp comes word the Angels’ versatile infielder/outfielder, entering free agency for the first time, has attracted preliminary inquiries from two National League clubs and one from the American League.

Quinlan, who will be 33 next season, has seen his numbers and at-bats gradually taper off since 2006 when he batted .321 with a career-high 234 at-bats. He’s a solid citizen, never complaining about getting lost in the Angels’ talent shuffle, and capable of handling the glove at all four corner positions.

Quinlan is best suited for the NL, where benches are of more value, but he also could be a nice role player for his hometown Twins as they move into their new ballpark. A career .281 hitter, he batted .243 in ’09 with only 115 at-bats, losing playing time when first baseman Kendry Morales showed in the second half that he was a threat against lefties.

Lyle Spencer

Abreu: three more years likely

Bobby Abreu’s contract option for a third year is well within his reach, if his durability holds up, likely tying him to the Angels through 2012.

After he draws $9 million for each of the next two seasons, Abreu has a 2012 option for $9 million that kicks in if he makes 550 plate appearances in 2011 or a combined 1,100 plate appearances in 2010 and 2011, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

If he doesn’t reach either of those numbers, the club can buy him out for $1 million.

Given that he has had at least 667 plate appearances for 11 consecutive seasons and keeps himself in prime condition, Abreu appears to be a relatively safe bet to fulfill the three years.

If that happens, factoring in the $6 million (with $1 million in incentives reached for plate appearances) he earned this season, Abreu will average $8.25 million for four seasons in Anaheim.

That, in today’s market, would appear to be a fair and equitable figure for a man with Abreu’s production and leadership.

With Juan Rivera in left and Torii Hunter in center, and Vladimir Guerrero yearning to return to right field, this probably means the end of Guerrero’s remarkable six-year run with the Angels.

There are those who are writing off Guerrero as over-the-hill, but he had no real chance this season to get his legs under him. With a winter to heal, there’s no reason why he can’t be a productive, effective player on the field as well as at the plate in 2010.

It’s highly possible Guerrero will be next season’s Abreu, emerging as a major bargain for the club that signs him. Never underestimate Vlad’s tremendous pride, which showed up during the postseason when he re-established himself as a force in the heart of a lineup.