The Phillies 2013-14 Reunion Tour began with bringing Larry Bowa back to the coaching staff and continued with adding Marlon Byrd to the outfield and Charlie Manuel to the front office.
But Tuesday's signing of former All-Star outfield Bobby Abreu (to a minor league contract) is by far the most surprising. Abreu turns 40 in March; he hasn't played in the major leagues since 2012.
Abreu impressed in the Venezuelan winter league, however, hitting .322 with a .416 OBP in 50 games. The Phils hope he can be a capable lefthanded hitter off their bench in 2014.
Here's what Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said about adding Abreu to the mix on Tuesday:
Q: So, Bobby Abreu?
Amaro: "He’s very motivated. He’s in very good shape. Our reports on him is he’s been swinging the bat well, moving well. He’ll have a lot to prove in spring, he’s going to have the opportunity. It’s a no-risk kind of deal. If he makes the club, great."
Q: How has he looked in the outfield?
Amaro: "He started playing the outfield more lately and he was moving pretty well. Probably not the same Bobby Abreu as in the past, clearly, but right now he looks pretty adequate. We’ll have the opportunity assess him all spring long."
Q: This deal kind of comes out of left field, no?
Amaro: "There aren’t a lot of lefthanded bats sitting out there, and not a lot of lefthanded bats that have the ability like Bobby, frankly. And when he started playing, we started watching. And as he continued to play, he got better and better. Clearly he was dominating in Venezuela. Yeah it was Venezuela, but it’s pretty competitive baseball and he performed in the playoffs, too. Based on what we saw and how motivated we think he is, it’s a good risk. And he said and he wanted to finish his career with the Phillies."