If true, this rumor could spell the end of Bobby Abreu's time in Pinstripes. (Hat tip to MLBTR) According to Mark Feinsand, Abreu is looking for a three-year deal, minimum. He'll probably get it, somewhere, but does it make sense for the Yanks to commit to him for that long? My gut says no.
If things go according to plan, Austin Jackson will be in the Bronx for the 2010 season, and hopefully they'll be able to pencil him in as their starting center fielder for the next decade. Brett Gardner will probably be a part of the team's plans in the outfield, Xavier Nady may or may not be around past 2009, depending on how he performs next season. It's not that the Yanks wouldn't have a spot for him, it's that he kind of represents the type of player Brian Cashman is trying to move away from. Namely, old players who are in the waning years of their careers.
When you take Abreu out of the lineup you're losing a durable number three hitter who battles pitchers, takes walks, drives in runs and scores runs at a prodigious rate. Sign him to a lucrative three-year deal and by the end of the contract you're probably going to have a slower version of Abreu who has to learn to play first or DH. The Yanks have enough of those guys on their roster.
I've been a big fan of Abreu's since he came to the Bombers, but if it's going to take three years to keep him, I say offer him arbitration and get the pick(s) back when he signs somewhere else. For the 2009 Yankees, losing Abreu opens up a hole at the three spot in the lineup. A hole I don't really see them filling by someone currently on the roster. As far as the lineup on the field, it could clear a log jam in the outfield. The Yanks can slide Nady over to right, start Damon in left and Gardner/Melky/New addition, in center while Matsui DHs regularly.