Bobby Abreu is a 40 year old veteran of 17 seasons with a track record of getting on base at an amazing rate. He holds a career slash line of .292 .396 .477 .873. Today, he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies and informed that they were going with their youth movement instead. Nine of his seasons were spent with the Phillies.
Abreu, a native of Venezuela, is a left handed hitting outfielder who might be plugged into the Tiger lineup, if they were so inclined, against right handed pitchers, should Tyler Collins prove to be not quite ready for showtime. The Tigers appear to be set to go with Collins, barring a trade, as he was the only left handed bat- or any bat in spring training who might be able to generate even a modest amount of offense against right handed pitchers. Abreu has an even more impressive line of .300 .409 .511 .920 against right handers.
Abreu last played in the majors with the Dodgers in 2012 where he hit .246 .361 .344 .704 in 230 plate appearances. He began that season with the Angels. This spring, he hit 244 .404 .366 .770 in 52 plate appearances. That on base percentage still jumps out at you, but it wasn't enough to convince the Phillies to go with the veteran.
Abreu's peak came during one amazing seven year stretch from 1999 through 2005 when he hit 20 home runs, stole at least 20 bases, drew at least 100 walks, and scored at least 99 runs each season. He had an on base percentage over .400 six of those years, and .398 in the year he fell just short. He drove in 100 runs five of the seven years. But that was then. Defensively, Abreu is not what he used to be, but he's not terrible either.
At this point, Abreu may be willing to take a minor league deal with an opt out clause around May 1 if not added to the major league roster. The alternative is probably retirement, since he's not likely to land a major league job at this point. For the Tigers, he would be insurance for Collins, and a left handed pinch hitter or platoon outfielder once Andy Dirks returns from the disabled list. Left field is a position where teams need to get some offense, and the Tigers are very thin.