Abreu, 34, is one of the premier hitters left on the market this offseason. The Angels jumped into negotiations with a big push this week and have emerged as clear front-runners. Although the two sides still have some issues to work through, a source said an agreement could be reached before the start of spring training this weekend in Arizona.
The Angels signed outfielder Juan Rivera to a three-year, $12.75 million deal in December, but the departure of Mark Teixeira and Garret Anderson through free agency has left general manager Tony Reagins with the flexibility to add a bat. Abreu, a .300 career hitter in 13 seasons with the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, would help upgrade an Angels lineup that ranked 10th in the American League in runs and OPS in 2008.
The price is unclear, but Abreu's financial aspirations have taken a hit because of the soft economy and surplus of left-handed bats available. Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Edmonds, Anderson and Luis Gonzalez are among the other veteran lefty hitters still looking for jobs.
It was believed that Abreu was seeking a three-year, $48 million deal after filing for free agency in November. Recent reports have indicated that he would settle for a one-year contract for about $8 million.
The Braves have also expressed serious interest in Abreu, but sources said Atlanta's budget is so tight that general manager Frank Wren would have to stretch to give him a $5 million salary.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and New York Mets are among the other clubs that have been mentioned in conjunction with Abreu. But none of those teams advanced beyond the exploratory phase.
This year Abreu joined Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson as the only players to amass 200 homers and 300 stolen bases while maintaining a .400 on-base percentage. Abreu is also one of five players with 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in each of the past two seasons. The others: Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, David Wright and Alex Rodriguez.
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com.