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Spring Training and Abreu

A number of players have arrived at Spring Training, and Pete Abraham has all lowdown on the actual baseball happenings.

Just spoke to Joba Chamberlain. He’s up to 35 pitches off the mound and is throwing all of his pitches.

"In my mind I’m preparing for 200 innings and 30 starts," he said.

It speaks well of him to gave gotten here so early. He really has embraced being a starter.


[Nick Swisher in the cage - via]


- Bobby Abreu signed a one-year, $5 million (plus incentives) deal with the Anaheim Angels. Great deal for them, and you just know that now that he's with Anaheim, he'll kill us.

What shouldn't be forgotten though, is Abreu's awful defense. The Hardball Times has Abreu as the fourth worst right-fielder in 2008, FanGraphs has him as the second worst, and seems to peg his value just right: $6.8 million (which makes $5 million plus incentives seem right for a good hitting, no fielding corner outfielder).

Or as Rob Neyer put it:

Over the last three seasons, his average Ultimate Zone Rating was minus-12, which is hardly solid. Last year alone it was minus-26, which is simply dreadful. Maybe that number was anomalous. But probably not. He's probably just a really, really bad outfielder at this point in his career. Which is mostly why nobody wanted to pay him anything like the $16 million he made last year.

I do think he could be a pretty solid deal at $5 million, depending on the incentives and how often the Angels are able to slot him as their DH. But $5 million at this point in Abreu's career is not obviously a great bargain for the Angels; if he plays this year like he did last year, that's just about what he's worth. Funny how that worked out.

As for his pitch-taking ability (which is no doubt superb), Nick Swisher will go a long way toward picking up the slack - after all, he led the majors in pitches-per-plate appearance in 2008 (a big reason he should be an everyday player).

[Thanks to Tyler Kepner for that stat]