Phillies have diamond in the outfield

Bobby Abreu has suffered from unrealistic expectations, but he is the type of player any team would kill for.

Updated: January 22, 2004, 7:06 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Is Paul Hagen kidding when he writes in today's Philadelphia Daily News that many folks in Philadelphia blame the Phillies third-place finish on Bobby Abreu? That can't be right, can it? I sure hope not as that would bespeak a total misunderstanding of what does and doesn't win baseball games.

Quite simply, Abreu is the kind of player that teams should kill for. He has been a regular for six years now and his performance has fallen into a happily predictable quality range. During that time, he has been the Phillies most consistent and productive player. Here are his Bill James Win Share totals since coming to the Phillies from Tampa Bay on November 18, 1997 in exchange for Kevin Stocker (a move that probably set the tone for the fate of the Devil Rays more than any other):

1998: 26. Second to Scott Rolen (30)
1999: 26. Best
2000: 23. Best
2001: 26. Second to Scott Rolen (29)
2002: 29. Best
2003: 28. Second to Jim Thome (30)

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at