Abreu insists he's not bothered by trade rumors

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Bobby Abreu walked into the Philadelphia Phillies' clubhouse flashing a trademark smile that was unaffected by constant trade rumors in the offseason.

"It was a rumor and I think it was untrue," Abreu said Tuesday after the Phillies held their first full-team workout. "I was in Venezuela resting. I heard things. I don't know where they came from."

Abreu dismissed several reports that said he was unhappy about being mentioned in trade conversations.

"That's not true. I never said that," he said. "I don't have to talk about being mad or something like that, because the Phillies have been so good to me in the eight years I was here. I'm happy with the organization."

A two-time All-Star right fielder, Abreu hit a career-low .286 with 24 homers and 105 RBI last season. He stole 31 bases and became only the third player in history to have seven consecutive seasons with at least 20 homers and 20 steals, joining Barry and Bobby Bonds.

Abreu slumped terribly after his record-setting performance in the Home Run Derby during All-Star week. He hit .260 with six homers and 44 RBI in the second half when the Phillies needed him most during a playoff chase -- Philadelphia finished one game behind NL wild-card winner Houston.

Once Pat Gillick replaced Ed Wade as general manager, Abreu's name surfaced in nearly every trade possibility involving the Phillies. Gillick made no secret his desire to land a front-line pitcher, but the team never approached Abreu about waiving the no-trade clause in his contract.

"His name comes up because he's a good player," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We didn't present Bobby Abreu in a trade. There was a couple times in the winter meetings when I was there, and I was sitting talking to a couple clubs, and his name was not, it was not like we brought it up and asked about trading Bobby Abreu."

Abreu will make $13.5 million this year and $15.5 million next season. He has a team option for $16 million with a $2 million buyout for 2008.

The left-handed hitting Abreu is a .303 career hitter and has averaged 23 homers, 94 RBI and 29 steals in his eight seasons in Philadelphia. He's also durable, having played at least 150 games each season and having never been on the disabled list since coming to Philadelphia in 1998.

While in Venezuela in the offseason, Abreu visited close friend and former Phillies reliever Ugueth Urbina. The right-hander remains in jail awaiting charges of attempted murder, conspiring with others to commit a crime, illegal deprivation of liberty and violating a prohibition against taking justice into one's own hands. If found guilty of all four crimes, Urbina would face up to 20 years in jail.

"He's not doing too good. He's in a bad position." Abreu said. "I have to give him my support and my friendship. He's got people working for him. He's got lawyers. My reaction was it's not true. I know Uggie very well. The way the thing happened, it's something that really hurt me when I heard it."