I Thought of Ibanez on my Lunch Break – Phillies Nation
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I Thought of Ibanez on my Lunch Break

Lengthy Cold-Spell snapped by his recent SCORRRCHING Hot-Streak aside… It seems like there is a large percentage of Phillies fans that will always think the contract Ruben Amaro Jr. gave Raul Ibanez was a “bad signing.”  From what I can gather, people were most upset at his age, and the fact that he was offered a 3rd year guaranteed.

My stance has always been the same- strongly in favor of that deal, and here’s why:

When viewing the Free Agent class after the 2008 season, Ibanez was the best Left Fielder available (can we please not get into the 5,682 reasons that Bobby Abreu wasn’t ever returning to the Phillies), he was signed to a 3-year-deal, at a price that was comparable to fair market value, but would ensure that he chose to come here instead of leaving us with Milton Bradley…or the Met-killer that wore #5.  A lot of fans argue that, “I would have only given him a two-year-deal.”  …And as a commenter, my response has often been along the lines of, “Then Raul would’ve signed somewhere else”…or…”Yeah, and you would’ve really liked Milton Bradley as our Left Fielder.”

In my mind, Ibanez CARRIED the team in the first half of 2009 (called by many the “First-Half MVP”), with production that put us in a position to go after Cliff Lee at the deadline; a move that got us to the World Series for a second straight year, and setup the great things that followed obtaining Roy Halladay, keeping that commitment to WIN NOW, etc…

Just how does Ibanez stack-up against our other offensive weapons?  Let’s take a look; Compared to Howard, Utley, Werth, and Victorino… (Rollins wasn’t close in any stats to compare)

Ibanez’s numbers in 2009 Before the All-Star Break:

259 At-Bats = (Least of all players.  48 less than Utley, 49 < Werth, 72 < Howard)

.309 Batting Average = (tied 2nd with Victorino, behind Utley’s .313)

22 Home Runs = (tied 1st with Howard, two more than Utley/Werth with 20)

60 RBI = (3rd behind Howard’s 67 RBI, and Utley’s 61 RBI)

53 Runs = (tied 4th with Howard, behind Vic- 63, Utley-62, Werth-60)

.367 On Base %

.649 Slugging %

1.015 OPS = (On Base plus Slugging %) (1st ahead of Utley-1.004, Howard- .870, Werth -.884)

Last year, after a sluggish start, he played a great second half last year after recovering from injury… combined with Werth and Howard, we helped carry us again.

2010 Post All Star Break:

269 At-Bats = (Leading all players this time, Werth was next at 260 At-bats)

.309 Batting Average = (2nd behind Werth’s .312 average)

9 Home Runs = (3rd, behind Werth and Howard, both with 14)

44 RBI = (1st, one more than Howard’s 43… Werth was next with 36 RBI)

39 Runs = (2nd in Runs behind Werth’s 54… Howard was next with 32 Runs)

.375 On Base %

.494 Slugging %

.869 OPS = (2nd behind Werth’s .966%… Howard was next with .858%)

***Stat-heads, Saber metric lovers …I know there are ways to lie with statistics (I’ve even read a book on it before), so with including the “baseball card stats” along with the sacred OPS numbers… I think we can all agree that Ibanez has been a large part of a GREAT lineup over the past two seasons.***

Maybe that 3rd-year-gaurantee wasn’t the best thing ever – but a player that’s has greatly contributed in Two-of-the-Two seasons he’s been a member of the Phillies… I think both Raul and Ruben deserve a little more credit for making that deal happen.  Amaro did what he thought was necessary to land a guy that he believed would help this ballclub.

This article is not meant to have everyone searching for crazy stats for or against this argument – but to just take notice that over the past two seasons Raul Ibanez has number that match up with the Big Boys in our lineup.  And while I admit Ibanez is a very streaky hitter, without his “Hot Streaks” –who knows where the Phillies would be today.  I feel confident saying we would probably not be sitting at 21-9, with an All-Star Team for a starting rotation, enjoying the same success that we’ve seen over the past two seasons. 

I don’t think that Ibanez’s contract has prevented the Phillies from making any moves, but has actually enabled them to be more aggressive in bringing in the talent we enjoy everyday… taking all that into account, this has been far from a “bad signing.”

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0 Comments

  1. Publius

    May 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Nice, small sample sizes and arbitrary endpoints.

  2. jeff y

    May 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I wrote Raul off a few weeks ago. Shows you what I know. I hope he keeps it up.

    • Rolesmith

      May 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      I agree, jeff y. I give Charlie props for seeing something amateurs like us didn’t and sticking with him through the down streak.

  3. Pat Gallen

    May 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    You know, I recall before the 2009 season the Phillies angling for a few players. Many discussed Milton Bradley. At least there is one guy you could say Raul is better than. Imagine if the Phillies had gotten that lunatic.

    At the time, Burrell pretty much needed to go, in my opinion. He has found his swing again, but he’s basically a DH. So Raul/Burrell were toss-ups. The only problem was giving Raul all that money. Probably didn’t have to.

    Bobby Abreu was available, no way the Phils would bring him back. Others: Manny Ramirez, Garret Anderson, Adam Dunn (not a LF). Really, it was slim pickins and the Phils didn’t wanna bring Burrell back. That year he was the best option on the market. I agree with Don that 3 years was overboard. But if they had gone 2 years, I think it would have ended up looking like an OK deal.

    • Don M

      May 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Pat, in their defense… I’d imagine they wanted to get the guy as cheap as possible… but at the same time, overpaying for Free Agents is what Free Agency is all about. They gave a deal that ensured they would get the guy they wanted.. Like how they got Polanco last year and that was also called a BAD SIGNING by many people on here..

      There was multiple teams said to be in on Ibanez, so Amaro decided to be aggressive and make sure he got his target instead of waiting around and getting stuck with Garrett Anderson like the Braves did

      I don’t think a 2-year-deal would’ve gotten that deal done… and I dont think his contract has prevented us from doing anything else. One more year of Raul Ibanez wasn’t going to make the $80 Million difference in keeping Jayson Werth or landing anyone else

  4. Don M

    May 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    So his stellar play, when healthy, means nothing? … I don’t think that half a season is a small sample size so if the arguement is that wasn’t healthy for the whole season, i’d say that he was healthy enough to be more than productive enough to help us win lots of games… When the team needed him most, he produced!

  5. Pat Gallen

    May 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I vaguely remember a friend saying we should sign Manny for 2 years, $40 million. We’d all be marching in the streets had that happened. Guy was a total fraud. At least Raul shows up to work every day, is a decent human, and works his tail off, regardless of the results.

    That being said, he’s not producing overall, but take the good with the bad and try to live with it because that’s what the Phillies are going to do.

  6. Manny

    May 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    As of today May 6, 2011, I think that the deal has been very good for this team. And this is coming from a guy who did not like the signing at first (I posted on here .gif’s of him butchering balls in left field… look it up! And I hated the length of the contract and the fact that he was lefty supposed to hit behind Utley and Howard). But the dust has settled since then, and as Don pointed out in this piece, he has been a huge contributor to this team. We gave him 3 years because 2 years probably wasn’t going to be enough to get a 100RBI player / No.3 hitter (at the time). And odds are, he may be able to produce significantly again this season –probably not at 2009 levels, but still be a good bat in our lineup. I can definitely live with that!

  7. curran

    May 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    eskin brought up yesterday that he would like to see ibanez career stats post 2009 allstar game. he assumed they would be awful and i agreed. i guess this article sums up that arguement.

    @pat
    -since charlie coached manny in cleveland i wonder is he knew he was juicing and thats why we never made an attempt to grab him

    wollaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    • Pat Gallen

      May 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Curran, you could be right about that. Although, that didn’t stop LA from signing him. You’d think they would have done their homework but I guess they didnt think he was washed up yet.

  8. Nick Staskin

    May 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I’m the biggest Raul hater on the planet. I’ve gotta be honest, you did skew these numbers a bit Don. Raul didn’t produce like that the whole first half of 09, it was just april and May. June his OBP was under .300.

    Fact of the matter is the guy produce in April/May of 09 and July/September of 2010. June-Sept of 09 were bad. April-June and August of ’10 were pretty bad also.

    His defense was also well below league average this entire contract.

    Our buddy Paul Boye posted this on Twitter today:
    Against the nats Raul is .361/.428/.717
    Against everyone else as a Phillie, he is .254/.330/.447

    Up until last week Raul’s post 6/1/09 was close to .250/.330/.450….not exactly 3/$30 type cash.

    Just playing devil’s advocate because I despise the guy though…but had to the other side of the story up there.

  9. Don M

    May 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    The world needs Devil’s advocates!

    June 09 he went on the DL …. etc… but my point being when he was HOT, he was GREAT.. and he was responsible in a large part for having us in a position where we wanted to go get a guy like Cliff Lee

    I thought it was common knowledge here that we always talked about his 1st half of 09 and his 2nd half of ’10 … and chalked the rest up to injury, inconsistency, recovery or whatever … but you can’t deny how much of an impact he had at crucial times -stepping up for long stretches when the team needed him ….And again, try to imagine if he didn’t have that April/May … Imagine a team with Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Kendrick, Worley as our rotation right now … without Ibanez or Francisco … Im glad things played out the way they did

  10. Josh

    May 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    If you ask me, the contract isnt/wasnt necessarily BAD for its time and place. Like Don pointed out, the FA crop was not very good that year. But I dont believe that that is the question we should be asking. Lets save the contract evaluations for after the contract is over.

    The question is, should the Phills find a better option at some point this year? I think the answer is easily yes. As it stands now, Raul is a big time liability at the plate and in the field. He is currently 3rd from last in WAR for all OFs. So…Yes, for the simple reason that it should not be that hard to find an upgrade considering his performance has essentially been below replacement level for a long time now (with the exception of a few hot streaks).

    Its easy to point out Raul’s high points and say that he carried the team during that time and that may be somewhat true but you also have to point out the times when the team suffered because of him. I believe that the team will suffer because of him more than benefit from him as this season progresses.

  11. Pat Gallen

    May 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Like I said, it’s not THAT bad. Is he living up to the contract? No. But you aren’t going to get slam dunks every time in free agency.

    He’s won us some games, maybe he’s lost us some games as well, but overall he’s been average and hasn’t lived up to the contract. If this deal were 2 years, people wouldn’t be freaking out.

  12. Jordan

    May 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Also I think that Ibanez brings to the team something that cant be measured in stats. He brings, character, leadership and experience. That as master card says is priceless. I know that sounds cliche, but I think it’s true. There are some things in baseball that can’t be measured. I think the way that Ibanez carries himself in the offseason and in the clubhouse rubs off on other players. The rookies have the added bonus they have a person to look up to that is both a veteran and an all out nice guy. Says something about character when you can go on an epic slump to the tune of 0-35 and then break out of it by obsoletely tearing the cover off the ball. Going 8-12 with two home runs, one of which a moon shot that Matt Stairs would be proud of and sweep the nationals.

  13. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Raul was mediocre at best last year .275 16 homers for a left fielder is just that

    Hes been terrible this year. 3 games of 30 not withstanding. He came into senators series hitting .154. We were going to lose any of the 3 games without Raul? I think not.

    Even if he had 10 homers in the series he still came in hitting .154 after a month.
    Lets see what he does the next 21 games against above .500 teams

    The signing I am fine with. It wasnt a whoring ala Zito or Rowand.
    It was fine. Remember the phils are a big market team now.
    And its over this year and he will move on or retire after its over. So enjoy him and lets hope he does well.

  14. Andrew From Waldorf

    May 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    One more thing
    If it wasnt for Raul what would we all be talking about?
    The best record in baseball?

    Reminds me a little of the over analyzing of Werth last year.

    I was never a Werth guy until the playoffs when he was the only guy that hit.
    I forgave the bonehead plays and the holding the ball and getting picked off for no reason and the other lack of instict plays.
    I was finally a Jayson Werth guy.
    And then he was gone
    Such is life.

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