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Phillies Sign Raul Ibanez

The Phillies and Raul Ibanez agreed to a 3-year, $30 million contract.

Ibanez, 36, is a career .286 hitter with 182 HR and 794 RBI. Last year with the Mariners, Ibanez hit .293 with 23 HR and 110 RBI. He recorded a .358 on-base percentage and .479 slugging percentage. By comparison, Pat Burrell recorded a .367 OBP and .507 SLG last season.

Since Ibanez was a Type A free agent and was offered arbitration, the Phillies will forfeit their first-round draft pick in 2009 to the Mariners.

Tim’s Thoughts: It’s almost absolutely certain the end of Pat Burrell’s tenure as a Phillie. His nine-year run as left fielder was largely successful; now the Phillies bring in a player of slightly lesser offensive caliber. The difference between Burrell and Ibanez defensively is almost non-existent — Ibanez isn’t that good. So overall, the Phillies gave three years to a player worse than Burrell, but for probably $16M fewer than what Burrell wanted.

Basically, this deal will be determined on those $16 million. Do I think Ibanez will perform his worth — based on the discrepancy between monetary figures — in these three years? Judging his durability (at least 480 at bats the last seven seasons) and prowess against left-handed pitching in 2008 (.305/.368/.497), I do think he’ll adequately fill his spot. Not wonderfully. But adequately (and frankly, adequate is fine in left field).

To me, the largest issue to fret is how the Phillies will now spend money. Do they have enough to still grab Derek Lowe? Do they think the best additions are smaller, value-style additions (such as Chan Ho Park)? Will they make a trade to bring in something larger? Ibanez took a chunk out of the offseason budget, and while he fills the hole adequately, he goes a long way in determining the remainder of the offseason.

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