Stark reported the Yankees will send the Phillies 20-year-old minor-league shortstop C.J. Henry — their No. 1 pick in 2005 — and 27-year-old left-handed reliever Matt Smith. The Phillies will also pick one other minor-league player from an agreed-upon list, while the Yankees will take on responsibility for Abreu and Lidle’s contracts. Abreu is owed $15 million for 2007 alone.
Abreu has a full no-trade clause in his contract and has the right to accept or reject the deal. In the past his agent has said any team trading for Abreu would have to pick up his $16 million option for 2008 to get him to waive the no-trade clause. However, Abreu himself recently has backed off that stance.
Abreu is hitting .277 with 8 home runs and 65 RBI in 99 games. He has a career batting average of .301 with 198 home runs and 841 RBI over 10 seasons.
Lidle, a right-hander, is 8-7 with a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts in 2006. In eight seasons he has a career mark of 78-69 with a 4.54 ERA.
Abreu was in the Phillies’ starting lineup Sunday but was pulled for Shane Victorino 10 minutes before their game with the Florida Marlins.
1. Phillies GM Pat Gillick has come a long way from last off-season’s assertion that he would only trade Abreu or LF Pat Burrell for top-of-the-line starting pitching. The Phillies didn’t get any starting pitching in this deal. Actually, they gave up a starting pitcher, though not much of a starting pitcher, in Corey Lidle.
2. So why was Gillick willing to trade Abreu, one of the league’s truly complete players, for just prospects and a 27 year-old reliever? It almost certainly comes down to the Phillies’ need to rebuild their farm system and the need to clear salary cap space so that Gillick can go after the major arms that he so covets.
3. Philly fans never warmed to Abreu. But at the end of the day, we’re talking about a guy with a nack for getting on base, with a cannon for an arm, who hits for power and has good speed. And what that Inquirer story doesn’t mention is that Abreu is third in the NL in OBP. How do you replace that kind of production? You don’t.
4. Abreu is joining a lineup where he’ll be surrounded by Jeter, A-Rod, Giambi, Damon and eventually Matsui and Sheffield. That’s scary. No, really. That’s just plain frightening.
5. Of course, the Yankees still need to address their pitching. Will Corey Lidle be the answer? That’s hard to imagine. But, Lidle can eat innings. And the Yankees will score runs behind him. So he’ll probably earn a few Ws.