I wish Bobby Abreu NEVER was traded to the Phillies. Well, that's not true, but it is the premise I am taking here. Why? Well, simply because of all the talk that continues to happen regarding the core of this team (centered on Bobby Abreu) and it's inability to win. I am a firm believer that production = winning. Seems like a pretty simple equation, but it ignores the concept everyone has grown to love called intangibles. There is no way I can determine if, during the course of his tenure with the Phillies, that teams with a more intense and gritty Bobby Abreu would be better off than the exact same team with a more leaid back Bobby Abreu. What I can do is look at the pure statistical evidence from 1998-2005 to see how much better or worse this team is if Bobby never existed.
The one issue that cannot be answered is who would have filled in his place. Well, in this exercise, we'll just assume that a team average player played in his spot (or basically, nobody at all). Obviously that sways the numbers a bit, but the concept I am working on here is looking to see how much of a detriment, if at all, Bobby has been to this team. We all know they haven't won with him here, so, surely we can find evidence to why.
Phillies: .336 OBP .418 SLG .754 OPS
Bobby: .414 OBP .519 SLG .933 OPS
Bobby has 78 points of OBP, 101 points of slugging and 179 points of OPS over how his team performed during his time here. Of course, that is factored with him playing. Let's look at the numbers without Bobby (just to see how his teammates have fared).
From 1998-2005 (without Bobby):
Phillies: .326 OBP .407 SLG .733 OPS
Phils Diff: .010 OBP .011 SLG .021 OPS
The Phillies, overall, have performed significantly worse. They have dropped 21 points in OPS just from Bobby being gone. While that may not seem like a lot, it is significant as he is just 1 player out of 9 regulars AND it covers 8 years. He has always been significantly better than the rest of the players he has been playing with.
Let's look at the adjusted difference. Now Bobby has an 88 point lead in OBP and a 122 point lead in SLG. This equates to a solid 200 point difference in OPS. Bobby's OPS = .933, team's OPS without Bobby is .733. Just on those numbers alone, Bobby has been over 27% better than the rest of the team he has play with. That is an incredible amount. It also shows how poorly the rest of the players he has had to play with. This includes decent to good players like Pat Burrell, Jim Thome and Chase Utley. Unfortunately, it also includes Doug Glanville, Marlon Anderson and Rico Brogna.
While we all know that Bobby is part of the core of this team, we also know that it takes more than one player to win a game. We have seen what our team looks like with Bobby, and now we see what it looks like without Bobby. The dropoff is very significant. Before we start believing the bad press about how this team would be better without Abreu, let's really look at everything as a whole and acknowledge that he has been, by far, the best and most consistent player on this team for 8 straight years. Hopefully, when he retires, the Phillies will be smart enough to retire #53.