Time to Release Raul

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, June 06, 2010 10:37 PM | Comments: 152
Analysis, Posts

Raul IbanezRaul Ibanez is killing the Phillies. I know, I know, there are a number of Phillies that are “killing the Phillies” right now: Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, the shortstop du jour, Greg Dobbs, etc.

But the difference is that the aforementioned players (with the exception of Dobbs) have contributed at some point this year and/or will contribute in the future.

Werth is in one of his “can’t-hit-any-pitch-that-any-righty-throws-me” modes, and Utley is experiencing an uncharacteristic early season slump, but both are talented players in their primes that will assuredly snap out of these funks and go back to raking.

Juan Castro is a cheap utility man and Wilson Valdez is an even cheaper utility man. Defensively, each has done an adequate job filling in for Jimmy Rollins, but they are the walking definitions of “replacement player.”

(Dobbs is 1-for-21 as a pinch-hitter this year, was 9-for-54 in that role last year, but nobody wants to give up on him because he had a good run as a bench bat in 2008. Cuz, ya know, we have SO MUCH evidence to show that 2008 was the real Greg Dobbs, and every other year of his career wasn’t. Whatever, that’s a topic for another day.)

Unlike the other slumping Phillies, Ibanez has contributed absolutely nothing since June 1, 2009.

Raul endeared himself to this fanbase last year by putting together a miraculous April and May, but has hit .234 since with one homer every 30 plate appearances. Wanna take a look at some more ugly numbers?

  • Ibanez’ slugging percentage in 2010 is .371, lower than David Eckstein, Jeff Keppinger, Will Venable, Jeff Francoeur, and Gaby Sanchez.
  • He is 85th in the NL in batting average, 65th in on-base percentage, and 70th in slugging percentage.
  • His OPS+ this year is 89 (100 is league average.)
  • Ibanez has eight multi-hit games this season (played 54.)
  • Ibby has been worth 0.2 wins BELOW replacement, and his WAR is 20th out of the 24 NL leftfielders with 100 or more plate appearances

And to top it all off, Ibanez has been the fourth worst defensive leftfielder in major league baseball this season – ahead of only Carlos Lee, Ryan Braun, and Lastings Milledge.

We’re not imagining his struggles.

From a baseball standpoint – and from a logical standpoint -  there is no reason Raul Ibanez deserves to play everyday on a contending team. He has been awful at the plate and terrible in the field. Yet he continues to bat sixth everyday while the Phillies top prospect, who also happens to be a corner outfielder, is putting on a clinic in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League.

Domonic Brown is hitting .313/.382/.587 with 10 homers and 33 RBI for Reading. His .969 OPS leads the Eastern League, his .313 batting average is fifth, his ten homers are sixth, as are his 105 total bases. And I reiterate, Brown has done so in a pitcher’s league in which the collective ERA of the twelve teams is 4.06.

Releasing Raul

For weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out a peaceful solution to this problem. Ruben Amaro finds himself in a self-inflicted predicament, because Ibanez’ full no-trade clause all-but prevents the Phillies from sending him away and eating salary.

(Honestly, it wouldn’t matter if Ibby didn’t have a full NTC, because his age and lack of value would have been enough to make reluctant all 29 potential trade partners.)

So release him. Cut ties with an expensive underperfomer. Amaro did so twice last year, when he released Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton. The Phils cut Jenkins while paying his $6.75M salary in ’09, plus an additional $1.25M club buyout for 2010. Eaton, too, earned a hefty chunk of change upon his release – $9.15M to be exact. All told, the Phils paid $17.15M for the right to rid themselves of two underperformers with bad contracts.

Ibanez is in the second year of a three-year, $31.5M deal of which he has already collected about fourteen million dollars. Subtract 14 million from 31.5 million and what do you get? 17.5 million, or just about exactly the amount of dead money the Phillies gave out to Jenkins and Eaton last year.

Financially, releasing Ibanez is no worse than releasing those two, and while consecutive years of dead money may be hard for a GM to explain to his superiors, it’s better than paying a player to hurt your team.

Letting Go

This is not an overreaction. These are not the exagerrated words of a WIP caller. There is no impulse or emotion guiding my thought process. Ibanez has been a black hole in the Phillies lineup for a year, and if his two-month hot streak took place at any time other than his first two months here, none of us would feel much of an attachment to him.

Is there ANY logical reason to keep him? Let’s take a look at the possible counter-arguments to cutting ties with Ibanez.

1) “He was great last year, you can’t cut him”

Response: No he wasn’t. He had two great months, one horrible month, and three average months. Plus, last year doesn’t matter anyway. Ibanez is a year older now, and 38 year-olds don’t typically rejuvenate as seasons wear on. He’s had three more awful months this season and is providing less value than 19 other left fielders on the fifteen other NL teams.

Just as Dobbs’ 2008 was an apparition, Ibanez’ April-May 2009 was an unsustainable, fluky time period that we only believed in because it coincided with our introduction to him. Does it make any sense at all to put more stock into the 210 plate appearances in April-May ’09 than in his 560 plate appearances since?

2) “He’s a veteran and a good clubhouse guy.”

Response: So was Ken Griffey Jr. before he retired. So is Nick Punto. So was Clay Condrey. And Tomas Perez. And I’m sure Kevin Sefcik enjoyed patting his teammates on the back. Can we talk about baseball, though? And not ponies and unicorns riding in fields of daisies?

3) “He’s making too much money. Can’t give up on him for that reason alone.”

Response: So, because he is still due about seventeen million dollars, you have to pay him that and allow him to hurt the Phillies by going 2-for-every-9, pulling up short on balls other outfielders would get to, and clogging up the basepaths?

Oliver Perez is making a similar amount of money with the Mets, and they finally had the sense to stop pitching him every fifth day. Things got so bad that they sent him on a phantom DL trip. There is absolutely no need to let a player’s contract handcuff you in more ways than one.

4) “Just designate Greg Dobbs for assignment and move Raul to the bench.”

Response: You could do that. But it would mean having a five man bench that consists of three outfielders: Ibanez, Ben Francisco, and Ross Gload. Sure, Gload can technically play first base, but how many times would you sit Ryan Howard in favor of Gload? Dobbs, despite all of his struggles, can still play a slightly-below-average first, second, third, left field, and right field.

Plus, releasing a player with $17M left on his contract is still more realistic than making that player a $17M pinch-hitter. You coerce Raul to waive his no-trade clause, and if he doesn’t imply, you give him the outright release. Let him spread his wings and fly back to Seattle, a team so desperately in need of an offensive upgrade that they would probably take him back.

5) “Domonic Brown isn’t ready to step in and play everyday in the major leagues.”

Response: What does he have left to prove? Does he have to take his .313/.382/.587 slash-line up to Triple-A and show that he can also hit against washed up former major league pitchers? The Eastern League and its 4.06 ERA is every bit as much of a test as anything the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs face.

Brown is a dynamic left-handed hitter with fleet feet and a much better glove than Ibanez. He is no less ready at this exact moment than he will be in March 2011.

Bringing Brown up and inserting him into the six-hole would add a much-needed spark, help break up the monotonous stagnancy this lineup is prone to, and allow the Phillies to see what they have in him, in order to better judge what their move will be in the offseason (re: Jayson Werth.)

Final Word

I am not deeming Domonic Brown the savior to a team that has fallen to 11th in the NL in runs scored, nor am I saying that his wampum stick will definitively play in The Show.

I am merely explaining that anybody – literally…any replacement player – would be more valuable than Raul Ibanez right now, and when you couple the bleak outlook for Ibby with the fact that the Phils’ top prospect plays the same position, the answer is very simple.

If it’s not so simple to you, please give me one good reason the Phillies should continue to send out a slow, overmatched 38-year old corner outfielder who has done nothing in the last year other than bounce balls to the right side of the infield.

And no, “being a good guy,” or “being part of the 2009 NL Champs,” doesn’t count.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Jamie Tieman

    I completely agree!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Look….The Phils probably don’t win the division and/or make the playoffs last year without Raul. Despite the “one horrible month and 3 average months” he was worth what they paid him last year……BECAUSE he was one of the main reasons for the Phils success. Last year he made us all forget about Pat Burrell and was a clear upgrade over Pat the Bat.

    But……I must admit that it may be time for something drastic. Something HAS to change….whether it’s an all-out release….or a platoon situation with Ben Francisco. That platoon might actually help Ben Fran, too, because he’s just not a pinch-hitter alone.

    If Raul were to be released in favor of bringing up Brown, one could justify the money part of it by saying that Brown’s salary will be next to nothing anyway. In other words, the cost to the Phillies for the left field position will be almost the same. And if Brown excels then you are getting more value in the cost of the position than you are right now.

    I like Raul. For all the reasons that you mentioned. But it’s time for action. It’s time for a change.

  • Posts: 0 adam

    I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I would definitely cut Dobbs before Ibanez. Dobbs offers nothing at this point and I would rather have Ibanez on the bench than him. Am I missing something?

  • Posts: 0 chitown Phillyfan

    Does getting to chant “Raaauuuulllll” count? Sigh, as much as it pains me to say it, it might be time to cut ties. Can’t argue with anything you said.

  • Posts: 0 John Quinn

    That was a sledge hammer accurate appraisal of Ibanez. Signing a high priced end of career veteran player for more than a year almost always works against you in terms of total net returns. I think you would be hard pressed to find a fan who does not agree that it is time for change in left.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    If you all-out release Raul and bring up Brown it still may make sense to have a platoon in left with Ben Fran. It eases Brown into his role and it give Ben Fran more playing time.

    I can’t see having Raul just as a pinch-hitter. Isn’t that what Gload is for?

    And just because Raul has a NTC doesn’t mean that he could agree to something if the situation was right. And if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think that NTC is full. I think there are something like 4 teams that aren’t part of it?? If he was part of a package deal some team might bite….as strange as that sounds.

  • Posts: 0 The Real Jeff

    They will not release Raul. I think they need to do something. D. Brown can provide a spark to this team. Young and exciting. Raul gives us nothing. I really hope steroids has nothing to do with this team. Howard is getting paid alot of money to hit long balls. He is not. There is no reason we should lose to the Padres. We have much more talent. This team is horrible at running the bases. Release Blanton why your at it. He is aweful. Package him and Raul for Oswalt. That would be nice.

  • Posts: 0 Thomas

    Nicely thought out piece, Corey. 17.5 million is still a lot of money, especially for an organization that wasn’t ready to devote 9 million to having a solid number two (1A) starter. I think they view money spent to free up roster space by the space(s) opened up, and that might be a little much to free up one roster space. That said, I am very interested and excited to see what Brown can bring to the big club. Is there room enough for both players? Ben Francisco, would buying him out be a cheaper solution? Raul is a competitor, but seems to strongly want a ring, may be willing to play a bench role on a contending team?

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    I whole heartedly disagree with the ideas of the writer here. Raul has been a streaky player his whole career. if you look at his season by season numbers and go month by month you can see how his numbers greatly variate. but at the end of the year they balance out . I am ready for raul to hit his groove soon. I guarantee it is coming.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Hard to argue with the points made in this post. I cannot seen platooning Brown, if he is called up, with Francisco. See what Brown does against both righties and lefties for a period of time and then platoon him if he winds up struggling against lefties.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Adam – reread the article. I tried to add in a paragraph about why releasing Dobbs rather than Raul would make less sense, but the site was down for a while so I couldn’t get it up (pause.)

    And Ryan H – This isn’t a matter of streakiness. If it is, it’s ranged from June 2009-June 2010.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Is Oswalt really the answer here in Philly? Have you noticed his record? He has gotten bombed in his last couple of starts.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Thomas – I understand your sentiments, but Ben Francisco is talented and young, a once-and-future starter in this league. He is also under team control for several more years and won’t make more than ~$1M for a little while.

    In buying him out, you wouldn’t be saving any money, and you would be giving up on a younger, much, much, much cheaper, probably more valuable (at this point) righthanded version of Raul.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Yeah this pretty much sums it up. If only someone had written a nice summation of why this was a bad idea when Rube gave him 3 guaranteed years. Oh wait, a shitload of people did, myself included.

    Anyhow I’m actually going to suggest Ibanez should not be cut quite yet. As others have said, Dobbs should be the first to go. But besides that, Ibanez’s old player skills are kicking in a bit. He’s walking more, striking out less, and, as a result, his BB/K ratio is higher than it has ever been in his career. Despite a line drive percentage that’s his highest since 2005, his BABIP is only .257, compared to his career mark of .304.

    He’s not going to be good. He’s never going to earn that ridiculous contract. But he could be a useful bench bat, if someone could convince Charlie to stop playing him, and find a suitable platoon situation (perhaps Mayberry/some other dude).

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    To sum it up in a way that actually makes sense, what I’m saying is that Ibanez is getting somewhat unlucky right now, and will never be starter-caliber, but could be an OK 4th/5th OF. I agree with the sentiment at the heart of your article though.

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    I’d rather have him as a bat off of the bench and situational platoon player if Francisco fails to hit righties. In fact, if Dobbs were to be let go, Raul could be a situational lefty off of the bench with Gload, and someone like Mayberry could be brought up as a 5th OF.

    No depth at 3b though, minus Castro.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Phylan – Ibanez is 21-for-34 on line drives this season, a batting average of .618.

    The league average batting average on line drives is about .730; if four more of Ibanez’ liners fell in, he would find himself at .734. If he had four more hits, he’d be hitting .251 instead of .229.

    I see your point, but you also need to take into account that older players tend to have lower BABIPs.

    He’s just hitting a lot of weak grounders to second and short. He’s 23-for-88 (.261) on balls considered “up the middle” this year, while he was 79-for-221 (.357) on balls up the middle last year.

    His lack of ability to time a fastball has resulted in many a weak out.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    I understand, but he’d be hitting .251/.351/.404 instead of his current .234/.332/.380. The former is not a bad bench bat at all.

  • Posts: 0 Jeremy

    Nope, Brown still needs work with his route running in the OF on fly balls. The kid is something special at the plate but there is more to it than that and you don’t rush a prospect like that. Raul is a problem but the easy answer isn’t always the right one.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Right. But then the bench would be: backup catcher, utility infielder, outfielder, outfielder, outfielder. And none of those 3 outfielders can play any position (except Gload, who can play first if Ryan Howard gets kidnapped.)

    At least with Dobbs, you have a guy who can play first and corner outfield, as well as fake it at third (and second in an emergency.)

    It’s not so much a matter of “who is better right now between Ibby and Dobbs,” as much as it is “DFA’ing Dobbs and putting Ibanez on the bench makes it an incredibly un-versatile, handcuffing bench.”

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    With the way Ibanez is hitting now as a starter, I doubt the prospects would be any better at his age coming off of the bench cold as a pinch hitter.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Well Dobbs can’t really “play” corner outfield by the traditional definition (although neither can Gload but that’s not stopped Charlie from running him out there). Dobbs is already half a win below replacement right now, and you can find some league minimum scrub that can actually play a few positions with competence to replace him.

    I’m more concerned with passable production than bench versatility I guess, and even if Ibanez is a ball and chain financially, it’s one that we won’t be able to shed either way, and Dobbs is a bigger waste of a roster spot. I’m not really inherently opposed to cutting Raul at all. I just don’t think it’s that necessary right now, and I don’t think it would make much of a difference.

  • Posts: 0 Vote Pat the Bat

    Remember in the second half of 2009 Raul was playing with a sports hernia and other injuries. For that reason alone, you can’t reasonably compare those numbers with those from this year. It’s only the beginning of June, and more than half of the season remains for Raul to put together respectable numbers. Brown has only been at Reading for 2 months anyhow.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Jesus, he’s got 6000 career plate appearances, and you guys all want to release him over the last 2 or 3 hundred. His OPS was .899 last year. It isn’t even mid-June. He’s got two years of team control left.

    And the laughable solution? Dom Brown? As much as I think Brown is a future starter, he’s not going to come into the majors and keep hitting like he is in AA. Hahaha, he’s struck out 41 times in only 179 ABs. He has not shown the power or the SB skills he needs to carry that kind of K-rate (and he will strike out a lot more in the majors).

    You don’t just release a fifteen year veteran signed for two more years because he’s slumping (and still has a .700 OPS, which isn’t immediately replaceable).

    You especially don’t do it because you have a 22 year old kid whose value comes primarily from the fact that he should develop power AS HE GETS OLDER. Dom Brown is not MLB ready, he is a work in progress.

    Yes, Ibanez is basically currently at 0.0 WAR (he’s barely negative because of the last couple games). This statistic designates Wins Above a non-existent hypothetical replacement player. The Phillies do not have such a player. They have Ross Gload, Greg Dobbs, and Ben Francisco, all of whom are having worse seasons than Ibanez.

    Honestly, I’m seriously irritated by this one. This is not what a knowledgeable fanbase would suggest. Dom Brown? Are you serious? Release Ibanez, who just had a .808 OPS May, to call up Dom Brown, who has never faced a MLB pitcher. It is not an easy transition from AA to MLB. Does anyone here seriously believe that if you put Ibanez in AA, he wouldn’t have a better OPS than .969? Fucking Wilson Valdez has a .975 OPS in AAA, does that mean we should release Chase Utley and make Valdez our second baseman? Steven Strasburg had more than a SO per IP in the Eastern League, cause half those guys can’t hit MLB grade pitches.

    Yes Ibanez is slumping, and yes he is overpaid. Yes that contract was too large for a player of his age. But no, we should not release him with no suitable alternatives.

    More than likely he is going to have a couple hot months this year and end the season regressed to a mean of like an .815 OPS, which isn’t great for a guy paid that much, but us much better than releasing him and starting a 22 year old kid who is having a nice season in AA.

    If you want to see what a kid who is ready to go from AA to the Majors looks like on a stat line, check out Jason Heyward. In AA last year (age 19 season), he had 195 ABs, and struck out only 19 times. His OBP was .446. He reached base due to a walk 34 times.

    In comparison, in 179 ABs in AA this year (age 22 season), Dom Brown has already amassed 41 Ks. That’s more than double Heyward’s tally, in less ABs. He has only walked 23 times. He hasn’t demonstrated the speed he will need to steal in the majors, nor has he demonstrated anything than power that is developing (much like Heyward’s). His OBP is .382, not bad, but not demonstrating MLB-ready ability.

    In MLB this year, in only 184 ABs, Heyward has struck out 45 times. More than double his rate in AA last year. If Dom Brown also doubled his K rate in the switch from AA to MLB, he would strike out like 80 times in less than 200 ABs. That’s more than a bad season from Ryan Howard. In Howard’s worst strikeout season, 2007, he struck out roughly once every 2.67 ABs. We accepted this mainly because he mashed 47 HRs. If we extrapolate Dom Brown’s K numbers using Jason Heywards multiplier from the Eastern League to the National League (2.5), we would get a K once every 1.98 ABs. Yes, that’s right, Brown would strike out half the time.

    Now obviously, it wouldn’t be that bad, but just as obviously Brown needs to get his K’s down and his walks up to make the transition.

    So no, Brown is not ready for The Show, and no, we should not release a guy who hit for a .899 OPS last year because he has slumped for the first 2.25 months of the season. That’s idiotic. Even Ed Wade isn’t that dumb.

    Baseball is all about regressing to the mean. This early in the season, the difference between good and bad is like 10 hits. Ibanez could go from terrible season to average season with a one week hot streak.

    P.S. Nice comparison to Griffey, except that he hasn’t had a season as good as Ibanez’s 2009 since fucking 2005, and hasn’t even come close since 2007. It took two mediocre seasons before he dropped off the map. I’d rather compare David Ortiz, who in 2009 hit for a .623 OPS in May and an even worse .520 OPS in June.

    What happened then? Oh, he got hot in early June and hit for a 1.062 OPS that month. He hit for a .866 OPS after the All-Star Break. Imagine how dumb they’d feel if they’d released him. A ton of fans were calling for it. It’s a shame, I thought Philly fans were smarter on average than the Bhaston fans.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Wow, that was long, thank you insomnia. Honestly I should just have a column.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Oh, and for the Ortiz example, he hit .623 in April and .520 in May, 1.062 in June.

  • [...] Phillies Nation, Corey Seidman has authored a thought-provoking piece on what the Phillies should do with Raul Ibanez going [...]

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Oh come on give the guy a break, give someone a chance to get playing time at his expense sure but it serves no purpose banging on chest for his release. The team ALWAYS slump around June and miraculously pick it back up.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    So how long do you wait to do something, NJ? I just can’t see Raul miraculously breaking out of it in the next week or so.

    That said, I do agree that Dobbs should be the first to go when J-Roll returns. Keep Valdez on the roster…..he’s done well and he’s really here for his defense anyway, something that Dobbs lacks. Plus….with J-Roll’s injury who really knows if he is gonna be ok for awhile. And it looks like the Phils would risk losing Valdez this time around because someone would most likely claim him off waivers.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    People seriously expect a career .290 hitter to fall off a cliff and hit .229 just because he’s a year older???

    Sure, cut Raul when you’re just 2 games behind 1st place in June… THAT’ll send a message…

  • Posts: 0 George

    I don’t think Ibanez should be released just yet. He’s always been streaky, and this year he had his entire off season preparation loused up due to injury recovery. He could still come out of it.

    That said, I do believe that he needs to sit more. Francisco can face the tougher lefties while Ibanez is getting his timing right and his confidence up against lesser pitchers. It would also give Ben a chance to improve his own hitting.

    If Brown comes up before he’s completely ready, he might look no better than Mayberry did last year.

    If Ibanez continues to show no pulse, THEN you release him.

    Also, I think, too, that Dobbs is done. When Rollins comes back, the Phils should keep Valdez. He can at least play an important position, and he’s even hitting better than Dobbs. The injuries this year so far have shown that the Phils really need two legitimate backup infielders, not a lousy defensive 3rd baseman.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Wow. I come online to find Aumont has been demoted and the world wants to release Ibanez. While I agree with almost everything Corey wrote, the Phillies just won’t release him when the benefits of doing so would be marginal at best (since there is no bright idea what to do in RF) and RAJ would be conceding to a huge blunder. Not saying he wouldn’t be forced to do it at some point, but not quite yet. I think Raul would have to devolve into a corpse before RAJ does that. Its too bad. When you sign guys to contracts like that, in the end, there is no way out of them. I guess if RAJl could get ANYTHING for Raul, while paying %75 of his contract to boot, it would be preferable to just outright releasing him. The again, no one should ever make huge decisions like this while the team is mired in a horrific slump. This seems like an All-Star break decision.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Make that LF

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Rakim

    Does anyone still love that Ibanez contract? Didn’t think so.

  • Posts: 0 Zach L

    This article brings a big smile to my face. I have been anti-Ibanez since the day he was signed. He was an all around liability last year and continues to be one this year. There’s a difference between being streaky (J Werth) and just being old and overmatched for a year plus, Ryan H. We can only hope that Amaro can swallow his pride and pull the plug on a player that should have never been signed by the phils in the first place. Give Ben Fran a ten or so game audition out in left, and if nothing positive comes from it, bring up D. Brown.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Agree that you wait until the all-star break to make this decision. Ibanez has a history of being a streak player, and has looked better at the plate the last several weeks (although the results aren’t where they should be). If he even comes back to his career average, Ib is the best option in left field right now. Give him another month.

    Dobbs on the other hand had what appears to be a freak year in 2008, and is a poor fielder at any position. We don’t really know when Rollins is coming back (or how long he’ll stay), and PP needs breaks, gets banged up. Two back-up infielders are needed – I’d rather keep a weak righty bat, decent defender than a weak lefty bat, bad defender. If Rollins comes back, Dobbs goes.

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    I completely Disagree. You have to keep him. He can’t possibly get any worse! According to the law of averages he is due for a rebound.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Just like when we were looking at the numbers and saying Jamie Moyer was done, done, done –and in 2010 he has pitched 2 CGs and has an ERA under 4.00– Raul will also come back and have better numbers this season.

    Throw whatever numbers you want, but we’re talking about a player who keeps himself in top shape, who hustles, who has an excellent track record… you don’t fire guys like him in early June when your team is just 2 games behind the division leader.

    Chill the hellllll out.

  • Posts: 0 The SHART Factor

    Sign him up for three more years but for less money. Instead of $31 mil for three years, give him just $15 mil….this is what Amaro may be thinking and we will have him for five more years…..wow.

    Seriously, this was a really good article and one that — if Amaro does do the RIGHT thing — and releases Ibanez, may have a galvanic and positive effect on the team. Bring up Brown. Don’t let him vegitate in the minors like we did with Howard and Utley. Get him some experience hitting major league hitters. Brown likely will get better and add youth to the team. Ibanez likely will be worse.


    Bart Shart

  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    You people are on some hard drugs if you think Amaro is going to release Ibanez in the middle of the season. It takes the Phillies a lot longer than that to admit a mistake.

    Ibanez is probably the first guy to tell you he’s having a lousy season. Clutch situation after clutch situation, he comes up empty. At 38, you do ask the “is he washed up?” question but just as Moyer showed us this year, you can come back from that. I’m not ready to throw in the towel on Raul just yet.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Kennedy –

    1) I’d caution you against hyperbole. We’re talking about the last 600 plate appearances, not the last 200. There is also a very, very, very big difference between being under contract and being under “team control.”

    Ben Francisco is under “team control” for another few years, Raul Ibanez is under “bad contract” for another few years. Wee bit of a difference.

    2) Tie yourself in knots all you want about Domonic Brown striking out 41 times in 204 plate appearances, because his Double-A slash-line equates to a .261/.318/.465 in MLB right now…a massive upgrade to Ibanez.

    3) I didn’t compare Raul Ibanez to Ken Griffey, Jr. I don’t understand how any rational person could come to that conclusion. Did I also “compare Raul Ibanez to Kevin Sefcik?” I was using those players in order to explain that “good clubhouse guy” means nothing.

    4) You chose to compare Ibanez and David Ortiz using OPS, which I have a really hard time understanding, mostly because you’re comparing one of the most feared guys of the generation, with a career .916 OPS, to Raul Ibanez, who has an .833 mark. It’s apples and oranges. It’s totally different situations, and Ortiz starting to hit homers and pile his OPS back up means absolutely, positively nothing in regard to a hitter with far less power rolling weak grounders to second base and looking overmatched against virtually every type of pitcher.

    5) Ibanez hasn’t slumped for the first 2.25 months of the season. He’s been a black-hole for a year. The numbers are in the article if you don’t believe me: .234 since June ’09, 1 HR every 30 plate appearances.

    6) To whoever mentioned it being unfair because of Ibanez’ injury last year – all that does is belabor MY point. Look, I’m not criticizing Ibanez’ character, I’m showing you how awful he’s been for a calendar year. It all started with an injury, but that doesn’t make it any less real. If anything, it gives it more reason to believe he WON’T get better.

    7) Kennedy, yes baseball is a game of “regression to the mean,” but that doesn’t take place with all players. Why do Ibanez’ at-bats from his prime matter if he’s 38, has a history of hamstring and groin injuries, has been notably and unarguably worse since his last groin injury, has failed to make solid contact despite having okay at-bats (seeing more pitches,) and displaying the epitome of declining old-man skills (no power, bad fielding, plodding on the basepaths, trying to sharpen his eye to make up for other deficiencies) ?

    8) Manny – Ibanez can keep himself in shape and hustle all he wants. Being in shape, hustling does not = being good. Again, not an attack on his character, an attack on his having a lower OPS than Jeff Keppinger, David Eckstein, Will Venable, Juan Uribe, etc.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    (That was supposed to be an 8, as in the number 8 on that list, not a weird smily face with sunglasses.)

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Also, to the many saying that “Ruben wouldn’t admit his mistake, etc,” I pretty much agree.

    But I hearken back to this line from the article: “While consecutive years of dead money may be hard for a GM to explain to his superiors, it’s better than paying a player to hurt your team.”

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Zach L says that Ibanez is a “player that should never have been signed by the Phils in the first place”.

    Except that the Phillies most likely don’t win the division or make the playoffs last year without him. So the signing was a good one.

    It took the third year of the contract to sign him. Another team, the Angels, reportedly were offering him a similiar contract….and RAJ targeted his guy and signed him.

    All of us can say it was a bad signing or that he shouldn’t have gotten the third year or whatever. At the end of the day, the GM has to make decisions based on what he feels is right at the time. So I don’t fault Ruben at all.

    And it’s pointless to cry about what happened in the past. It’s over. So now what has to happen is to pick up the pieces and decide what to do with what the team has to work with.

    Maybe Raul will get it together. Maybe he won’t. I agree that at some point something needs to be done if he doesn’t. Maybe not right now. But a month from now if he is still failing miserably and the Phillies have an opportunity to make a change somehow by the deadline….then maybe they should do it.

    In the meantime, when Rollins returns it is DEFINITELY time for Dobbs to go. Keep Valdez. He’s a much better fielder and actually hasn’t really disappointed at the plate either if you figure that he’s really here for his glove and not his bat.

  • Posts: 0 The SHART Factor

    I think we should have an Ibanez bobble head day just before releasing him, except the bobble head could be Amaro’s head for such an outlandish contract for such an old player. Also, get Ibanez a new car on that day — one of those new Kia Souls — that way he could get the hell out of town faster. He could leave right from the ballpark.


    Bart Shart

  • Posts: 0 Ginger Snapps

    Let us not shed a tear for underperforming overpaid players. After all, it is the fan who lives or dies with each game. A consistently underperforming player like Ibanez simply saps our hopes and aspirations….sucking them down to nothing like a life saver in the mouth of Shaqille O’Neill.
    It is time for change….not nickels and dimes, mind you. We need new blood in left field. Ibanez will leave Philadelphia a very rich man as he rides off to a retirement of luxury and becomes a marquee player on some serious slow-pitch softball team down south. He has one helluva great life in retirement ahead of him. What a great thing, being able to retire rich before age 40. Raul should get down on his knees and kiss the feet of Rubin Amaro, Jr. Frankly, a number of players in the future will likely be able to do the same for Ruben will make them very wealthy retirees.

    Ginger Snapps

  • Posts: 0 Ginger Snapps

    …. and we passionate fans will continue to fund these early retirements with increased ticket and concession prices. Soon a ballpark frank will cost $20 and a coke $10. And the Ushers will frisk each attendee to make damn sure no food comes into the park. I long for the days of family picnics at the park —- gone forever.

    Ginger Snapps

  • Posts: 0 mnjam

    Well reasoned post by Kennedy.

    What does “stagnance” mean?

  • Posts: 0 aviad

    I completely disagree. I believe Ibanez will bounce back and have a good year. If having a slump means cutting a player, why didn’t the phillies cut Jamie Moyer last year? He’s been doing pretty damn good this year. I think Ibanez will be fine. But I do expect to see Dominic Brown start next year.

  • Posts: 0 Releasing Raul

    [...] Corey Seidman of PhilliesNation.com has called for the release of Raul Ibanez.  Sure, Raul is only hitting .230- and I should know because he is on my fantasy team.  And though Seidman argues he is thinking about this reasonably, he isn’t.  Ibanez had $17million left on his contract.  OK, Seidman has a point that the guy is hurting the team by taking away money that could be used to for a productive outfielder while he is also taking up a valuable roster spot.  That is double injury to the Phillies, who right now are clinging to the pre-seasons utterances that they were the best team in baseball. [...]

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