03/30/12 7:51 PM ET
Talks about Abreu, Crowe look to have ended
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The Indians were also reportedly in talks about trading outfielder Trevor Crowe, though it was not clear if that was part of the same trade discussions or a different deal altogether. Cleveland officials would neither confirm nor deny the swirling reports, and the discussions appeared to have broken off by Friday morning.
"We do not comment on rumors/reports of potential acquisitions," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti wrote in an e-mail on Thursday night.
Sources told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez that the Indians and Angels were exploring a deal Thursday night that would send Abreu to Cleveland. Los Angeles would likely have been on the hook for the bulk of the $9 million that Abreu is owed for the coming season.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Friday that the deal fell apart, and Abreu was penciled into the No. 6 spot in the Angels' starting lineup for Friday afternoon's game against the D-backs.
Asked about Abreu on Friday, Antonetti declined to delve into any specifics.
"There's nothing really to report," Antonetti said. "I can tell you that we continue to look for opportunities to improve our roster. ... We're going to continue to do that. We've obviously made a couple of deals already, and if there are other opportunities to improve the team, we'll certainly pursue them."
With the season opener less than a week away, the Indians remain on the hunt for offensive help, especially in left field. Cleveland has yet to name a starter for that position, though Antonetti noted earlier this week that Shelley Duncan -- a career bench player -- was taking steps toward earning that job.
Another scenario could have Duncan sliding back to his typical role as a right-handed backup at first base, left field and designated hitter. Abreu could step in as the starting left fielder, though that would give the Indians seven left-handed hitters and two switch-hitters in the projected starting lineup.
Beyond Duncan, the Indians other outfield options still in camp include Aaron Cunningham and Ryan Spilborghs.
"As things stand right now, if nothing changes, we have our internal options," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We're going to have to go with what we have here. We have Shelley, and we still have to make the decision on the extra outfielder, and we'll go from there.
"We're comfortable with any of them going out there, but that doesn't mean we can't go out there and look for ways to improve our club."
Acta played it coy when Abreu's name was mentioned.
"Who's Abreu?" Acta quipped. "We don't have any Abreu in camp."
Abreu, 38, spent the majority of last season as a DH for the Angels, but he did play defense in 28 games, including 18 in left field. If Cleveland was considering adding Abreu to the fold, it seems possible that he could have been part of a platoon with Duncan in left. Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo are the Tribe's starters in center and right field, respectively.
Abreu posted a .253 average with eight home runs, 30 doubles, 60 RBIs and a .353 on-base percentage in 142 games last season. He hit .259 against right-handed pitchers and .238 against lefties. Over the past two years, Abreu has hit .254 with a .353 OBP and an average of 14 homers and 69 RBIs per season.
Abreu was once an annual threat to top 20 home runs and 100 RBIs, but those days appear to be in the past. Abreu has not collected 100 RBIs since 2009, and he has not topped 20 homers since 2005. He has spent 16 season in the Majors with the Astros, Phillies, Yankees and Angels.
Abreu is hitting .122 (6-for-49) with three RBIs in 17 Cactus League games this year.
Acta said it is only natural that Abreu's name came up in rumors.
"Whenever a player is in that situation like he is, of course his name is going to pop up," Acta said. "They have a lot of depth over there. He's not the only one. There are some other names that will pop up. It all depends on the club's depth and our fit. Everybody will try to piece that together."
The 28-year-old Crowe -- reassigned to Minor League camp last week -- was pulled from a Minor League game on Thursday afternoon. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that Crowe was pulled for the purposes of a trade, though it seems those talks might have broken off as well.
The switch-hitting outfielder was Cleveland's top selection in the first round (14th overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
The Indians brought Crowe into camp this spring as a non-roster invitee after he endured an injury-hindered season last year. Crowe had a strong showing with the Indians this spring, hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a double and two stolen bases.
He spent most of last season coming back from right shoulder surgery and hit just .214 in 15 games with the Tribe in September. His best season in the big leagues was 2010, when he hit .251 with 20 stolen bases, 29 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs in 122 games.