10/31/08 1:13 PM EST
Abreu files for free agency
Hopes to re-sign with Yanks; Pudge, Ponson, Moeller also file
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Joining Abreu on the first day of the filing period were Yankees catchers Ivan Rodriguez and Chad Moeller, plus right-handed pitcher Sidney Ponson. Overall, 65 Major League players filed on Thursday.
Abreu, who turns 35 in February, batted .296 with 20 home runs, 100 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 156 games.
One of only three Major Leaguers to hit the century mark in RBIs each year since 2003 -- Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols are the others -- Abreu has spoken about hoping to return to New York, where he has played since a July 2006 trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I've played here two years and two months, and I think they can see what kind of player that I am," Abreu said recently. "I haven't changed anything. I just do my things. I put my numbers every year there and I do my job like a third hitter. I'm not trying to do more than I've been doing, just always be the same. I think I've been doing good the last two years and two months."
Abreu has said that he is hoping for a multiyear contract, one season after the Yankees triggered a $16 million option that completed a six-year, $76 million pact signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Yankees have outfield decisions to make in a picture that figures to include Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui and possibly Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. New York is expected to offer arbitration to Abreu by Dec. 7.
Ivan Rodriguez, who turns 37 in November, batted .219 with two home runs and three RBIs in 33 games for the Yankees after being obtained from the Detroit Tigers in late July for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Rodriguez was acquired as insurance when Jorge Posada's throwing shoulder required season-ending arthroscopic surgery, intended to complement the services of backup Jose Molina.
But with Posada beginning a throwing program on Dec. 1 and anticipated to be ready to catch on Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium, Yankees GM Brian Cashman has said that he does not anticipate pursuing a free-agent catcher at this time.
Moeller, 33, signed with the Yankees in Spring Training after being released by the Washington Nationals and spent most of his campaign at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, though he did enjoy a considerable amount of service time with New York as a third catcher. Moeller batted .231 with one home run and nine RBIs in 41 games for the Yankees.
Ponson, who turns 32 in November, was signed to a Minor League contract by the Yankees in June after he was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers following off-the-field issues. But Ponson fit in well and was well-liked by his Yankees teammates, providing additional depth to the rotation. He was 4-4 with a 5.85 ERA in 16 games (15 starts), allowing 99 hits while walking 32 and striking out 33 in 80 innings.
Teams hold exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents until Nov. 14, when all 30 clubs can begin discussing financial terms with all players.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.