Jayson Stark, apparently has figured out what’s wrong with Bobby Abreu (.241/.313/.297 after last night’s game):
Here’s the take of one AL exec, who hadn’t seen a lot of Bobby Abreu in the NL, on the half-dozen games he has seen Abreu play this year: "Last year, after he came to the Yankees, he really looked energized. But this year, he’s a very passive guy. To see him come up there twice in big situations (against the Red Sox) and try to bunt, I thought, ‘That’s amazing.’ Even in RBI situations, he’s just very content to take his ball four and go to first. Look, I believe in the value of walks as much as anybody. But these were passive walks. They weren’t active walks, if you know what I mean. I think I’m starting to understand why the Phillies traded him."
Emphasis mine. The letters after my name do not include a Y (thank God), so I therefore have not seen many Abreu at-bats. But I will say this:
That sounds like a lot of crap.
I did see Abreu’s botched bunt attempts, which looked to me like he was trying to snap his slump by any means possible, a la Coco Crisp recently. This strikes me as the opposite of passive. Likewise, the anonymous AL exec (who must be affiliated with the Royals or the Mariners) seems to believe that pitchers are simply incapable of throwing strikes when Abreu’s at bat. I mean, he just sits there with the bat on his shoulder, all passive-like, and just takes all these gosh-darn walks! Apparently the nameless exec would be less upset were Abreu actually swinging at these pitches outside the strike zone.
I’m not going to crunch Abreu’s numbers and try to divine what’s wrong with him because, really, I don’t care as long as it continues through at least June 3. But I’m just gonna guess that since his OPS is 250 points below even what he put up in Philadelphia last year (when that .427 OBP was apparently so awful), it’s something — anything — other than not taking walks aggressively enough.