The Angels continued Wednesday to do some damage control in the wake of Bobby Abreu's comments to ESPNDeportesLosAngeles that he would prefer to be traded if he's not going to play every day.
General manager Jerry Dipoto was evasive about whether he's even shopping Abreu, though it would be surprising if he's not. Manager Mike Scioscia addressed the possibility that the veteran outfielder will be a distraction in a clubhouse that otherwise seems coherent. And just think, it's only three days into camp.
"You don't get too many guys any more professional than Bobby, so I don't anticipate that being an issue," Scioscia said.
The whole mess boils down to how a player views himself as opposed to how a team -- and maybe even the rest of the baseball world -- views him. Abreu is a borderline great player. His career on-base percentage and career doubles, particularly, put him in elite company in baseball history. His comparables on baseball-reference.com include Garret Anderson, Edgar Martinez and Bernie Williams. He may not be a Hall of Famer, but he'll get votes.
Of course, everyone's skills erode eventually and Abreu's power clearly has disappeared, as Mark Simon so clearly illustrated in these graphs.
Scioscia's challenge, as long as he has Abreu in the clubhouse, is to respect Abreu's status while fielding his best team. Easier said than done. Few things in the game are harder than managing a great player at the end of his career.
"Usually, a player's the last one to feel they can't do something and I think that's the nature of the game," Scioscia said. "I don't think that's an issue. As a player, I was the same way. I couldn't do [anything] at the end of my career, but I thought I could make the All-Star team."