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 Dave

    Re: Brown’s lack of current power.
    Currently, he has a .273 ISO in AA. Last year, Ryan Howard had an ISO of .292 and in 2008, when he came in second in the MVP race, it was also .292. Brown’s power seems to have at least partially manifested itself, although AA is not the major leagues and he will never be the masher Howard is.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Shoot they should just give him to Seattle and have them take his salary instead of saying thank you for giving them Cliff Lee for nothing!!

    On a serious note, I agree 100% with this, something needs to be done

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    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.

    What on earth does this mean? You can say that a GM “felt it was right at the time” for literally every terrible contract ever handed out if that’s your standard. The point is that it wasn’t right, and a whole ton of people that weren’t Ruben Amaro knew it.

  • Posts: 0 metsblow4show

    I still think Raul has something left in the tank and I’m not about to give up on him yet. That being said, if his struggles at the plate continue into July, I think you will see Charlie go to a straight platoon with Ben Francisco. I want to see Domonic Brown get at least a half season under his belt at Lehigh Valley( I think he will be promoted shortly ) before handing the leftfield job to him in 2011.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    The transition from AA to the majors is not a big deal anymore, it’s done all the time. Minor league organizations are not setup the way they were 20 years ago. AAA is no longer considered a developmental level – it’s almost always used as an inventory level (where the Nelson Figueroas and Paul Hoovers of the world reside).

    Brown has over 1600 professional plate appearances while other teams successfully promote kids with half that many. This fear of “ruining” the kid by “rushing” him is ridiculous. He may struggle at times, but he won’t be overmatched. He’ll be better than Ibanez.

    For those saying Ibanez is on the verge of turning it around: we’ve been hearing that mantra for a full calendar year now. Let’s face reality, it was a high risk signing that didn’t pan out. A lot of people predicted this exact scenario. I doubt that RAJ is ready to admit his mistake though. The sad thing is that it’s easy to see the same thing happening with Polanco at some point during his three year deal. Signing old players to three year deals is a risky strategy.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    “something needs to be done” ???

    To what, shake up the team that is 5-games over .500 while dealing with all the injuries we’ve had???

    Let the team keep playing. . Ibanez is our #7 hitter, when healthy… they wont want to start the clock on Brown for no reason either, since we’ll need him to be SUPER CHEAP when in two years we’re paying multiple guys $20+ million

    Without Ibanez last year…we don’t make the playoffs.

    It would be pretty ridiculous to cut him the following JUNE, coming off surgery after a GREAT previous year …

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Phylan, what it means is that at the time that Raul was negotiating his contract there were other teams interested in him, most notably the Angels who were ready to sign him to a similiar deal. Three years, around $30M.

    Ruben made a decision based on the info he had at the time and for any of us to dredge that up now is pointless. No one was argung about it last year when he was hot. But now that he’s struggling, everyone is ready to blame Amaro and say it was the most awful decision ever.

    The fact remains that the Phils don’t make the postseason and return to the World Series last year without Raul Ibanez.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Ruben signed Raul very early in the free agent signing period (as he always seems to do), in a year in which the market had several younger, more productive corner outfield options who signed for less. And there weren’t any indications that he was going to get that ridiculous contract anywhere else, unless you can provide a citation.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    And if signing a 37 year old corner outfielder to a 3 year pile of money is what it takes to stop some other aggressive team from signing him, then you just don’t sign him — it doesn’t suddenly make the contract a good idea.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It’s the same with Jamie Moyer. I wasn’t for the second year either. And last year I guess I was in agreement that the second year was a mistake.

    But the fact remained that Moyer was on the team for this year….so it made more sense to get behind him and hope that he did well. and so far this year Jamie Moyer has EXCEEDED expectations. Thank God we have him!!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You sign him if he’s your targeted guy and you have it on good authority that he’s going somewhere else unless you offer him what he wants or close to it.

    It’s obvious that Raul wanted to come here…but he wasn’t going to if the Angels offered three years and the Phillies offered two. That would have been stupid on his part.

  • Posts: 0 frankenslade

    I’m getting worried about Raul, but as someone who referred to him as Jesus this time last year and considering his pedigree (to compare him to the likes of Kevin Sefcik is a joke), I wait until the All-Star break to see if he needs to be platooned or benched. Who’s to say this habitually streaky hitter doesn’t warm up in the coming month? Were J-Roll and Howard, in past years, hitting near the Mendoza line before turning it around? I can’t stand David Ortiz, but he looked washed up this time last year and ended up putting together numbers not too far off his career average. More on pedigree: recall that the Phils stuck with the underperforming Geoff Jenkins and Pat Burrell through 2008, only to see them contribute two of the biggest hits of the season in the final World Series game.

    For younger fans experiencing your first taste difficult times following a world championship, I can’t argue with your June swoon anxiety and suffering. I’ve lived through the post-1983 years and the post-1993 years. I’m sticking with my guys. They’ve earned it. Of course, it goes without saying that Ibanez would be hitting .350 if Cliff Lee hadn’t been traded:P

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    If you can’t get your targeted guy without signing him to an albatross of a contract that is more than likely to hurt you, then you target someone else. You don’t say WELP HE’S MY TARGETED GUY AFTER ALL *inks to ridiculous contract*

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Who else would you have targeted? Just askin’

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Honestly, it’s time for this insipid Amaro apologism to stop. Why does Philadelphia credit him with success and talent that was assembled by the guys that came before him? Let’s see what he’s done:

    * Dumped a pile of money and 5 years on a 30 year old power hitting first baseman who has inexplicably turned into David Eckstein this season, when he still had the rest of 2010 and 2011 remaining on his contract (and never explained the timing)

    * Picked up the 2011 option on Jimmy Rollins without waiting to see how 2010 progressed, for no discernible reason whatsoever, and now Rollins is struggling with an injury that can often nag in the long term

    *Gave Danys Baez 2 guaranteed years of money when literally no other team was trying to acquire his services beyond a minor league deal

    *Aforementioned Ibanez fiasco

    *Also gave Ross Gload, who is essentially a replacement-level bench bat (not to mention a left-handed 1st baseman who plays on a team where the starting left-handed 1st baseman never sits), 2 years of guaranteed money

    *Traded away Cliff Lee to “restock the farm,” receiving in return the “centerpiece” that has an injury history and is being demoted after failing to strike out more batters than he walked in AA, a slap hitting CF who is now hitting abysmally after leaving the crazy offensive league he played in previously, and a 22 year old who is doing OK in high A ball, a level which he is repeating. Meanwhile the lack of starter depth has already reared its head for the Phillies.

    Good things:

    *D’Arnaud, Drabek, and Taylor for Halladay, which was a good trade (albeit tainted by the “farm restocking”), and Marson, Donald, Carrasco, and Jason Knapp for Lee, which was also a good trade.

    He’s just not cut out to be GM. He doesn’t have the talent evaluation or the patience. In 3 years when the Howard contract looks as bad as most people know it is right now, maybe people will find this an easier notion to swallow.

    I know people are all over his nuts because the Phillies went to the World Series again last year, but he did not construct this team. He’s deconstructing it.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Or….in three years Ryan Howard could be tearing up the league…..making the deal seem like a steal.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Yes and perhaps I will finally be elected Chairman of the Solar System and annex Saturn for my planet-sized fantasy baeball draft super-computer

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I gotta agree with all those points, Phylan…except the Ibanez “fiasco” (which I believe is NOT the case, at least not yet) and the Gload deal, who came in to replace Stairs and can play multiple positions.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    Well said Phylan, I pretty much agree with everything you said there.

    Still not sold on the Polly deal either.

    Also, when are people going to stop considering Ibanez’s year last year as great. It was “two great months, one horrible month and three average months”…followed by two awful months this season.

  • Posts: 0 Dan S

    1. Everyone needs to stop bashing Ruben, the second the phils stop playing up to their potential, everyone starts blaming the general manager. Calm down, be rational. At first I did not agree with this idea but after reading this post I agree with the most part. It should not be made immediately. The Phillies should move Brown to AAA first and see how he adjusts, if his numbers stay in the same range, call him up. If they fall, Corey, your theory is just plain wrong. The Phillies should give Ibanez some time off and let him clear his mind. This would also get Francisco, even Dobbs some at bats. Everyone needs to stop freaking out, I don’t know what it is about Philadelphia fans, I am one and I’m proud of it, but it seems like whenever something doesn’t go their way they call for someone to get fired, or traded. So, releasing Raul is an option that should be considered but RAJ should not do it again, because if Raul goes somewhere else and plays well, you all will come on here and bash him for releasing Ibanez.

    One more thing to add, when I was at the game on Saturday, there were very few RAUUUUUL chants

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Chuck, even if Howard tears up the league, he would not get much more than the 20 or 25 million he’ll be making in under the contract we gave him. Imagine he hits .300 with 48 bombs in 2011, do you think anyone would still be willing to give him more than what we already gave him? Maybe a marginal difference. But by giving him the contract NOW, we’re betting heavily on his performance and staying healthy.

    What has happened to Jimmy is a great example… there was really no need to pick up his 2011 option before the 2010 season started. We didn’t have much to win by doing that, but a lot to lose –which is what *might* happen if that injury keeps bothering him.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Just for the record Dan S, I was bashing the GM well before the Phillies started hitting like the Eric Bruntlett Dream Team

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Ed R: Ibanez last year WAS GREAT. It’s as if you go to 2007 or 2008 and say Howard DIDN’T have great years because he had horrible months in April, May, or whatever other month.

    Ibanez had a GREAT 2008. That’s a fact.

  • Posts: 0 jacatt

    You guys deserve a lot of credit for blatantly looking for responses by throwing an extreme idea out.

    Too bad you did not come up with a response for: start a platoon with Fransisco to take advantage of time to better analyze if Ibanez is done, struggling or can add any value down the road.


  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I meant he had a GREAT 2009* (though his 2008 was pretty good too… and his 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004… )

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Thanks Ed R. I elected to lay off the Polly deal for now since it’s the years, not the money I had a problem with. It’s looking like he’ll earn his keep for 2010, and I’ll admit I was wrong in thinking his glove would not hold up at 3B. At least for now. 2011 and 2012, that deal worries me.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    If Howard hits .300 and has 48 bombs in 2011…then he’s worth AT LEAST $25 M in the open market.

    Can we all just wait a few years before we judge this contract too harshly? And comparing him to David Eckstein??? Please!!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Manny….Ibanez DID have a great 2009. I agree completely. Because without his 2 great months, the Phillies DON’T make the playoffs. THAT’S a fact as well.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Chuck, I wasn’t comparing him to Eckstein, I just picked that name to illustrate what is so odd about his transformation so far this season. Here is one article among many about it: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/ryan-howards-odd-decline/

    I’m fairly certain Bill Baer wrote one also but I can’t find it at the moment.

  • Posts: 0 George

    One of those “more productive” corner outfielders was Milton Bradley, who the Cubs signed after they missed out on Raul. Abreu signed for less, but didn’t really perform any better in 2009 than Ibanez, and signed a BIG contract for this year. Pat Burrell was another “productive” guy the Phils had a chance on.

    I also read that not only the Cubs and Angels had an interest in Ibanez, but the Mets did as well.

    I agree with Chuck: you target a guy and do what it takes to sign him. If others are interested, it just shows that the guy must still have value. There’s only so much you can foresee as far as future performance. Age is not always the factor we as fans might think; Moyer, Julio Franco, Carlton Fisk, Phil Niekro, etc. etc. do or did all play pretty well past the usual athlete’s retirement age. In contrast, other guys have burned out while in their prime years.

  • Posts: 0 Matt M

    I’m not defending the Ibanez signing, but I saw a comment that said there were better younger players available after the ’08 season. Well looking at the list of FAs that year there really wasn’t a better option with the exception of Abreu and we all know he wasn’t coming back. But hey, maybe they would have been better with Milton Bradley, or Luis Gonzalez, or Moises Alou, or Garret Anderson, or Brian Giles, and Pat Burrell.

    It wasn’t smart to give Ibanez three guaranteed years, but to say they shouldn’t have signed him in the first place is really stupid considering the other alternatives.

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    This suggestion is an overreaction.

    I imagine almost everyone would have released Jamie Moyer after last season as well. Now? Well he’s got more wins and a better WHIP than Tim Lincecum, Johan Santana and Dan Haren.

    Ibanez has been a notoriously streaky hitter throughout his career. Chances are he will get on a hot streak this year, and will finish with respectable numbers, hopefully respectable enough to trade him.

    If you take his horrendous 13-game start, he’s sporting a .764 OPS on the year. That’s not very good, but puts him in the same category as some other struggling players: Carlos Lee, Justin Upton and Hunter Pence. It’s slightly below average for an NL outfielder.

    Would you have released Rollins last year after 70 games (.569 OPS on July 1st) or Howard after 47 games in 2008 (with a .686 OPS) or Blanton after 9 starts last year (6.14 ERA)? I could go on and on, but don’t have the time.

    The fact of the matter is baseball is a game of streaks, and if you just released people after every cold streak, you end up looking like an idiot most of the time.

    What the Phillies need to do is see if Ibanez can work it out and start hitting better. If he doesn’t, you wait until much later to make a move (say bringing Brown up) and move Ibanez to the bench, where he could replace the even worse Greg Dobbs. If he plays well, you try to trade him in the off-season for anyone who will give you something for him.

    Releasing him now would be a very foolish, sell-low move that would have little positive impact on the franchise.

  • Posts: 0 John Quinn

    The bobble head suggestion is a nasty idea. Perhaps PN might consider replacing the Phillies bum of the game Steve Jeltz award graphic with a disparaging bobble head caricature of the player being dishonored. It would give the condemnation more impact.

    Given the big bucks involved, the Ibanez issue has no easy immediate solution unless he starts producing again with his young-man stats.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Right. How many of us really relished the prospect of Milton Bradley or Bobby Abreu? There was a drumbeat of support for re-signing Burrell, the Phillies didn’t….and it turned out to be a good decision.


    Phylan, what transformation? So far, Howard’s #’s are .286 BA, 9 HR, 40 RBI. He hasn’t even really gotten hot yet. I would imagine that he will be somewhere around .275-.285 with 40 HR and 130-140 RBI at the end of the season.

  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    The Phillies have 3 key , middle of the order hitters who are getting consistenlty blown away by 91 mph fastballs. I’m talking belt high, cut-the -middle -of-the-plate pitches . They are Utley , Werth, and ibanez.

    I’m pretty sure Werth is gone by the trade deadline.
    To be replaced, I guess, by Francisco.

    I also see them doing what the author says with Ibanez-releasing him.
    To be replaced by Brown.
    That leaves Utley. If Rollisg ever comes back, it would be possible to move him to the 3 hole. Maybe stick Utley up at 2 where his lack of power won’t hurt you . Polanco to #5 to protect Howard.

    All this is based on the fact that they will in 4th place, 6-7 games out, very soon which is now not just ‘possible’ but ‘likely’.

    If they start winning , delete the above.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    I agreed with Vote Pat the Bat’s comment regarding Raul’s problem with injuries for the second half of last season. Plus his off season surgery for the “Sports Hernia” does require a lengthy period of recovery time and may have interrupted his preparation (including spring training) to be ready for the season. I noticed not one word from Corey on Raul’s injuries as a contributing factor in his column. And then respond with a comment..”..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.” Huh? Why? 55 games into the season and you want Raul banished? Forget your obsession with stats and allow Ibanez the necessary time to get his timing down. The second half of the season will provide a more accurate picture of where Ibanez is at.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    I guess you didn’t read the link I posted Chuck. Anyhow, teejvee talking about Chase Utley’s “lack of power” just sort of broke my brain so I’m going to take a break for a while.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Forget teejvee. I’ll read the link now, Phylan. thanks.

  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    I will say though, any time someone on Phillies Nation starts with the “cut Moyer” “cut Ibanez” talk, the shamed player of the day, ends up performing well.

  • Posts: 0 bflaff

    Yuck. Do we really want Rube running the team on some kind of ‘You slump and yer outta here’ hair trigger? This kind of short term thinking is counterproductive. Everyone goes through slumps, and when an older guy slumps (see Moyer, Jamie) it’s not necessarily a sign that he’s done. If we let the mob run the show based on whoever was sucking at the moment, we’d have traded away or cut guys who are back contributing a lot this year, or destroyed the confidence of some of those who were left.

    Have Ibanez’s skills disappeared? Why don’t we check?


    Raul’s walk rate for the season would be a career high if it stayed at this level through the end of the season, and his strikeout rate is down. Do we want Raul taking so many walks? Probably not, since you’d like to see him driving in runs instead of leaving it up to the likes of Wilson Valdez, but at least he’s not losing his plate discipline.

    The biggest drop off is one you don’t need the stats to see: his power hasn’t shown up this year. His ISO is almost exactly half of what it was last year, and his current slugging % is a Valdez-esque .371. Or to put it in really stark terms, his flyball rate for 2010 is nearly exactly the same as 2009. However, his rate of homeruns per flyball is down from 21.1% in 2009 (by far a career high – his previous best was 16.5% in 2006) to a miserable 5% in 2010.

    His swing % is down a bit, making him a bit more passive at the plate, which correlates a bit with all the walking, but his contact rate is a tick above career norms.

    Does this add up to a definitive answer? Not yet. If Raul gets his power swing back, the other skills are still there. Cutting him, or platooning him, or whatever ‘But I’m frustrated right now!’ decision you want to make should hinge on whether or not he can still reach the seats. Charlie knows hitting better than us, so if he thought Raul’s power was gone, then they’d move on. But give them time to get it right. The season’s not even to the All-Star break, and Raul earned whatever patience the Phils show here. It’s good for the team, and better in the long run to show these guys some faith.

    So no, let’s not bat Utley 8th, sit Howard against lefties, or whatever jerk around the team solutions of the moment would be emotionally satisfying to the fans.

  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    Chase Utley hasn’t had a lack of power in the last month?

    Is he playing in some slow pitch league during the day where he is getting extra base hits?

    Cuz on this team, he ain’t getting any and it’s been going on for a long time.

  • [...] Time to Release Raul | Phillies Nation [...]

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Too early to just dump Raul. I do agree he’s killing the Phils though. Start with a platoon with Ben Fran. The Phils have 9 games this month with the DH so see if Raul can get his stroke back while not playing in LF.

    If Raul can’t snap out of it by the end of June then I’d seriously look at options. Seattle is an option, just depends on how much the Phils would have to eat to give him away

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    If you’re going to make dumbass lineup shakeups on a month’s worth of data you might also want to sign Willie Mays for the 5th spot for “protection” since Howard’s slugging percentage in the last month is .415. Utley hasn’t SLG’d under .500 since 2004 and he won’t be under that mark this year either (even in this slump he’s only 15 points under it).

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Phylan, I looked at the link. I’m really not a SABR guy….more traditional like avg, hrs, rbis. You know stuff on the backs of baseball cards. Seems to work for most of us. Anyway, I think the numbers I suggested make sense for Howard when the season’s all said and done….. .275-.285 / 40 / 130-140. He hasn’t even gotten hot yet.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    Raul is a notorious slow starter. he’s started off worse than this before and finished up the season with decent numbers. last years was the only time where he had good numbers in the beginning of the year. he’s a second half player for his whole career and he will be this year too. I guarantee he’s going to hit the cover off the ball for stretches this year.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Well we won’t really come to a consensus because the stuff on the back of a baseball card was invented in the late 180s by a cricket reporter and isn’t built from the ground up to properly capture a player’s value in relation to run production, unlike the numbers we have available to us now. And if Howard keeps hitting like the weird singles hitter he’s turned in to for the moment, he won’t even touch the baseball card figures you’re suggesting.

  • [...] Time to Release Raul | Phillies Nation [...]

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    “Late 1800s” is what I meant, obviously. Not sure how that got cut off.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Phylan, he’s currently at .286 with 40 RBI at the 1/3 mark. His HRs are down but once he heats up so will that total. Not sure what you are looking at.??

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