Time for the latest edition of the game show that is sweeping America like Who Wants to be a Millionaire did back in 1999, which was the year of Ivan Rodriguez, the New York Yankees and Livin’ La Vida Loca. You guessed it, Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).
KTDs so far:
- KTD.I (Kelly Johnson, Alexei Ramirez, or Robinson Cano & Matt Kemp, Alex Rios or Jason Bay & Gil Meche, Derek Lowe or Justin Verlander).
- KTD.II (Jay Bruce, Andre Ethier, or Hunter Pence & Jonathan Paplebon, Francisco Rodriguez, or Mariano Rivera & Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira or Lance Berkman).
Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez or Pat Burrell?
Obviously there is a theme here: older corner outfielders who have similar value, right? Wrong. Bobby Abreu was my 24th ranked hitter, I unabashedly believe in him to be a 20-20 talent with great OBP/AVE potential, which leads to great run scoring and RBIs, especially if he bats third or fourth in the lineup. Meanwhile, Raul Ibanez was my 64th ranked hitter and has been slipping down in the order. He is also 37 and people just don’t continue to produce as they enter their late 30s (Barry Bonds and Jamie Moyer, notwithstanding). I have Pat Burrell as my 73rd ranked hitter. He is going to the tougher league and leaving a veritable hitters park. That said, I’m keeping Abreu – I have him as way more valuable than most analysts (not a-nal-raap-ists), so I wont get decent value in a trade. I’m most likely trading Ibanez – I think you can get more for him than for Pat the Bat. So, I’m dropping Pat Burrell. The new league paired with a less hitter friendly park indicates to me that a 30+ homerun season, while possible, isn’t likely. He’ll still get high 20s, but that’s more of an ordinary outfielder in a mixed league.
Katie Jones (she works for CRS, not Dignan’s “can’t remember s***”):
What is this, some kind of special all-Phillies KTD? I guess the Phils essentially chose to keep Ibanez, trade Abreu, and drop Burrell. I would also keep Ibanez, but I’d trade Burrell because I sort of love him, and drop Abreu because he’s been dead to me for years anyway.
Keep- Burrell: Most people don’t realize that the guy hit 33 HRs last year. Burrell has always been a respectable hitter at times flashing the skills that made him a #1 overall pick. Now expected to provide some veteran leadership on a young/explosive TB offensive team, his numbers should be very consistent to last year, with potential to improve.
Trade- Ibanez: He seems to be a popular sleeper pick this year based on his improved ballpark and lineup situation, however I think he’s getting a little too much credit. Sure he had a nice year last year, and has always been a consistent hitter, but he’s 36, going on old.
Drop– Abreu; He is still a threat for 20/20 and should be hitting 3rd in a consistent Angels lineup, but he is certainly on the tail end of his career. He won’t have a short Yankees right field porch to yank HRs over and won’t have as many RBI/run opportunities as he did on the Yankees. I also doubt the speed lasts for much longer.
Now that the season has begun, it would be silly to assume it’s a keeper league. Therefore, assuming that you have all 3 players and need to make a decision for this season, I’m keeping Abreu, trading Burrell, and dropping Ibanez. I have to say though, I could make arguments for keeping, trading, or dropping any of these guys. I’m dropping Ibanez simply because I think he’s old and not really that good. You could make an argument that a move to a hitter’s park in the junior (national) league will help his value, but he turns 37 this year, and you just know that drop off is coming at some point. Really this is more of a reflection of my bias against Ibanez more than anything. I’m trading Burrell only because his value can’t be higher after having a good season for a championship team and 2 years of 30 homers, and moving to the toughest division in the American league should hurt his numbers. I’m keeping Abreu, mostly because his trade value isn’t as good as Burrell’s, and as I said before, I don’t like Ibanez. Abreu has definitely begun a decline, and may very well end up not being worth much, but he will hit high in a pretty good lineup and has moved to a division that features a team full of 21 year old pitchers and a team that plays its home games in the best hitter’s park in the American league. His on-base skills are still there, and he seems to believe he can still run, so his SBs should not suffer, especially since he’s on the angels. The slightly easier competition should help to maintain his power numbers, so I think another 20/20 season is completely within the realm of reason. Even if Ibanez repeats his numbers last year, that makes Abreu slightly more valuable.