The Phillies informed Bobby Abreu on Wednesday that he wouldn't make the opening day roster, and Thursday the club granted him his unconditional release so he could pursue other options.
The 40-year-old outfielder misplayed a couple balls in his final spring game with the club on Wednesday in a 1-0 loss to the Tigers, in which he played a full nine innings in right field.
Now that Abreu's out of the picture, the Phillies' bench will likely consist of John Mayberry Jr., Wil Nieves, Cesar Hernandez, Tony Gwynn Jr. and possibly Reid Brignac. It's a crew who — minus the up-and-coming Hernandez — lacks a certain knack to get on base, which was Abreu's speciality.
Even in Florida, where he went just 10 for 41 with three doubles and a triple, Abreu demonstrated his ability to get on base, drawing 10 walks. In his last three big-league seasons, from 2010-12, Abreu struggled to hit the ball (.252 average) but still worked counts and got on base, with a .352 OBP. That would've represented a team-best for the 2013 Phillies, who managed only a .306 club OBP a season ago.
In their careers, Mayberry (.304), Nieves (.283), Gwynn (.312) and Brignac (.262) haven't exactly excelled in that category, although collectively they've all done a much better job this spring in a small sample size.
Also troubling is the lack of power the Phillies will bring off the bench, which Corey Seidman touched upon yesterday.
Darin Ruf, who hit 14 homers (one per 17.9 ABs) with a .348 OBP a year ago, will help fix both problems when he returns from his oblique injury — sometime in late April or early May, if the Phillies are lucky. In the meantime, they could have used Abreu's bat.