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 teejvee

    “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).”

    I’m betting big money he will be.

    Let’s see.

    Long, unprecedented slump which shows NO signs of being over+ usual post labor day swoon= career worst year.

    Heey , he might pull of it today and he might not do his usual September slump, but that’s not how I’d bet.

  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    Raul is getting a bit unlucky right now. His BABIP is down at .250, and his LD% is still within his career norms. I wouldn’t do anything about him yet.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    He’s on pace for 26 home runs and 117 RBI. If you think he’s going to heat up, that’s fine, but the numbers, at least at the moment, suggest his approach has changed to favor contact hitting, which is concerning.

    teejvee — There’s no reason to assume he will have a “post labor day swoon” just because he’s done it the last two years. And his slump is not “unprecedented.”

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Look at the bright side…. he’s still better than Pat Burrell who is batting .205 with 2 Hrs this season.

  • Posts: 0 teejvee

    Not unprecedented? Really ? When is the last time his average has been this low on June 7th?

    You are right , he might not go into a slump after labor day. Then again , he might not hit at all for the rest of the year.

    If you are going to use past history , you have to be consistent.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    How about I use past history and the knowledge of what stats stabilize at what sample sizes and tell you he’ll finish around .290/.390/.510 like he always does. Or worry about things other than the guy who has consistently been the most valuable player on the team for the last few years, such as our godawful bullpen assembled by Ruben “what is a minor league deal” Amaro, our $25 million dollar man that can be neutralized by Dennys Reyes or a half-decent curveball, or the nagging calf injury for the starting shortstop that seems to lengthen in recovery time by the day and that keeps Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez out on the field.

    Yes, I will do that instead.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    By the way, Utley has a higher BB/K than he has ever had in his career (more walks than strikeouts currently), and .269 BABIP compared to his .314 career mark. His SLG is down due to less batted balls falling in for hits, but his Isolated Power is only 8 points below his career figure right now.

    When all the signs point to a rebound, I feel entirely confident in saying he will do so, yes.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I think Howard will heat up….HE ALWAYS DOES…..and will have 35-40 HRs and 130-140 RBIs at the end of the season.

    “Godawful bullpen.” ?????

    The highest ERA on the present staff is 4.35 with Bastardo, 4.14 for Baez. All others are UNDER 4, one is under 3 (Durbin) and three guys are under 2.

    How is that “Godawful”??

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Howard will have 35-40 HRs and 130-140 RBI at the end of the season

    Howard will have 35-40 HRs and 130-140 RBI at the end of the season

    Howard will have 35-40 HRs and 130-140 RBI at the end of the season

    Howard will have 35-40 HRs and 130-140 RBI at the end of the season

    there if I keep saying it, it will be true, and the contract will be justified yayyyy

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    And anyhow I’ll cop to my bullpen perceptions being inflated by the fact that Danys Baez inexplicably has a major league roster spot and 2 YEARS guaranteed money. But this bullpen will only be sustainable if you think J.C. Romero’s ERA will stay where it is while he walks 7 batters per 9 IP, and that Brad Lidge’s magical exploding elbow will miraculously hold up for the rest of the season, or that his .156 BABIP and 100% LOB will hold up, etc. etc.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    I cannot disagree with releasing Ibanez, except a soothsayer told me the other day that he (Ibanez) is about to break out of his slump big time in the next week or two and actually carry this team for a while offensively. He’s done it in the past and he does have 66% of the year left. Let’s keep our toes and fingers crossed and throw some salt over our shoulders. If he hits, he will add bigtime to this offense, especially with Utley and Rollings hurting.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Just back from vacation. Too bad the Phils are slumping. Maybe my return home will turn things around. The food in Ireland really sucks swampwater. But the beer and cakes are to die for. That’s why we Irish have rotten teeth.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    ….as well as very loose bowels at times.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Whatever, Phylan. I guess we’ll just have to disagree for now on these points….and see how it all plays out.

    But the fact that the Phils have had their closer out TWICE this season, their #4 on the DL, their #3 was on the DL to start the year, their set-up guy out for a long time, their leadoff hitter on the DL TWICE, their 3B missing some time, and their 3-4-5 hitters having been in a prolonged slump…….and they are ONLY 2 games out……I think speaks volumes about this team.

    But let’s see how it all plays out. It’s only 1/3 of the way through the season. there is a long way to go.

  • [...] Speaking of which, here’s a novel concept. [...]

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    I think the team is good enough to get through it, yes. I still think they will win the East. I was never really worried about the Phils in 2010. It’s 2012 and beyond . . .

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    There are a ton of comments on this article in which people have cherry-picked meaningless numbers and used the line “But Raul was fantastic last year.”

    I’m not gonna respond to those inane comments for the ninth time, I’d rather just refer you back to the article and caution you against thinking April and May of 2009 has anything to do with the calendar year since in which Ibanez has been awful offensively and defensively.

    If he’s a middle infielder with a good glove, MAYBE those putrid offensive numbers are passable. But he’s not. He’s a player at a position in which you SEEK offense, and he’s not doing that.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    you sabermetrics geeks need to get a life. watch baseball and use the eye test . all of these obscure stats are complete nonsense

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Ibanez go 2 to 4 tonight with a home run…….You read it here first.

  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    Jet lag…..I meant 2 “for”4 with a homer and a walk.

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

  • Posts: 0 Paul Boye

    Thanks for contributing such insight to an otherwise constructive discussion, Ryan H.

    Corey, applause for your piece, here. It’s all about kicking off some discussion and this has done exactly that.

    And Phylan is basically spot on with all his points in regard to Amaro and Ibanez. Don’t let two months trick you. There isn’t much to suggest Raul is going to magically regenrate at 38. When you get to these ages as a baseball player, one full year of aging has greater effects.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy


    1. When analyzing a player, there is no better comparison than his performance in previous seasons. For example, in 2007 Ibanez had a .645 OPS in April, a .787 OPS in May, a so-so .870 June, a horrendous .503 July. Then he got hot. In August his OPS was 1.129 and in September .983. He came back from numbers virtually identical to what he has now (a .750 pre-all Star line), then hit .912 post-all Star. He finished the season with a perfectly acceptable .831 line. He’s streaky, it’s in his history. It’s ridiculous to judge him by the last 6 months (and they haven’t even all been terrible months).

    And yes, he is under team control. The money they gave him is a sunk cost. Obviously if baseball contracts weren’t guaranteed he’d be released. However, you need to understand that baseball contracts are guaranteed. Even if they release him and he resigns somewhere else, the Phillies have only saved about $700,000.00 over the next two years. That’s what we pay Mike Zagurski. Peanuts.

    2. Dom Brown strikes out too much to carry his OBP to the majors, and he doesn’t hit for enough power to support those numbers. Brown has had strikeout issues every season, which is fine because he is 22. There is a reason strikeouts in the minors are a good indicator, MLB pitchers get waay waay more K’s. Like I said, Strasburg was incredibly dominant in the Eastern League, and if he were on the Phillies he’d likely be our third starter at best.

    3 and 4. The Ortiz point stands. When a player has a proven track record, and they slump for a few months, you don’t release them, unless you have a star to step into the gap. Dom Brown has never played above AA, where Ibanez would probably hit for a godly line, even while slumping. Ortiz looked like he was done for months. Real sports reporters wrote articles about it. He’s made them all look like idiots (presumably without the roids that made him so dominant in the first place).

    5. Ibanez was playing injured last year, and despite that put together a good September. He had one bad month, August. Using his AVG alone it looks bad, but AVG is almost as useless as RBIs. His May this year was perfectly acceptable. So in the past year, he has had two really bad months, August 2009 and April 2010. His power is down admittedly, but that has the potential to change in a flash. He could hit three homeruns next week. You do not have a track record of consistent failure in the last year, just some bad cold streaks.

    6. It also means he could be slowly healing.

    7 and 8. If you honestly think that Dom Brown is a better option at the MLB level than Ibanez, you need your head examined. Brown is probably two years out, one if his power starts escalating. Saying Ibanez’s ability to take a walk is an “Old Man skill” doesn’t make it any less valuable.

    Just keep in mind Corey, AVG is a poor metric. The ability to take a walk is the mark of a true pro. You can only strike out once every two plate appearances if you can hit for 50 HRs. Brown can’t. Francisco has been worse than Ibanez this year. Gload last played a full season in 2008, when he turned in a .665 OPS and has been worse than Ibanez this year. Dobbs has been worse than any of them.

    If I had to release Ibanez, I’d start Francisco. But a good Francisco year is an average Ibanez year, and Francisco is not having a good year. I’d platoon them now. But Ibanez is the most talented player available to play LF, and that is a fact.

    If I were Ruben, I would probably just release Dobbs, maybe trade him if I could find someone willing to pay $400 K of his salary and offer a fringe prospect. I would not release the best option that this team has for LF. That’s dumb.

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    How often do you visit PN, Kennedy? If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written, you know where I stand on stats like batting average and RBI. You really don’t need to give me a lecture about why OBP > BA…

    Like, really? You really read this and came away thinking I killed Ibanez because of his BATTING AVERAGE?! And not his overall slash-line, or his -0.2 WAR, or his pitiful UZR, or his OPS+, or the combination of all of these things?

    Also, nowhere in this article did I say that releasing Ibanez relieves the Phillies of cost…

    Quote from article:

    “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.”

    Do those seem like the words of someone who doesn’t understand how contracts in baseball work? I was pointing out to you that “being under team control” is different than “being under contract for $17.5M more dollars between now and the end of next season.”

    Ben Francisco is under “team control.” Antonio Bastardo and Scott Mathieson are under “team control.” Raul Ibanez isn’t. He’s under “shitty contract.”

    Honestly, that final point was just battling semantics.

    The point I’m trying to hammer in though, is that the “regression to the mean” that you think Ibanez is destined for is unlike that of other players, because all players are different; they’re not all 38-year-olds with a history of hamstring and groin injuries that can no longer catch up to fastballs and are relying strictly on old-man skills and plate discipline to salvage what was once a solid major league career.

    I hate when I see people make blanket assumptions strictly based on low BABIP or high BABIP and fail to analyze the individual player. If you think Ibanez will “regress to his true talent level,” you’re mistaking yourself. He’s at the age in which things get worse everyday, not better.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    The original posting by Mr. Seidman makes a lot of sense…I’m really surprised at how many people still believe that Raul will turn things around despite what they’re seeing on the field (for a full year now). It sort of reminds me of Dale Murphy’s tenure as a Phillie. People would always say he was one adjustment away from being the MVP Dale Murphy of their memories. Players get old, and it’s not pleasant to watch. Historical numbers mean less and less as a player ages – Mother Nature always wins in the end.

    I’m Ted Bell.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    So who do you think the Phillies should start in LF? Brown?

    Ibanez is slumping right now, but he put together a very good season last year, and I think we both know he’s much more likely to hit for a .800 OPS than Greg Dobbs or Ross Gload.

    They released Jenkins because he sucked for the entire season of 2008 (and had also been mediocre for Milwaukee in 2007 and 2006). There was no sense in bringing him back for 2009 because we had a starter to play his position (Werth), and we had two backup players (Stairs and Dobbs) who were able to play his position at a slightly higher level. Dobbs had just had a great 2008, and Stairs had a much better three year track record (despite being older than Jenkins by a decade).

    Eaton was unable to make any contribution at the Major League level. When a pitcher is done, they are done. Hitters are evaluated differently.

    I agree that we need to keep Valdez since our system is so short on guys who can play the middle IF. That means that one of Ibanez, Dobbs, Gload, and Francisco need to go. The obvious choice there is Dobbs. Releasing Ibanez makes absolutely zero sense beyond being the “panic button” move. And your solution, bringing up Brown, causes two problems. 1: Brown is not ready and 2: We still need to free a roster spot somewhere.

    So excuse me if I think releasing Ibanez is a terrible, terrible idea.

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    You’re excused. You’re also literally the only person I’ve come into contact with that thinks Domonic Brown is not ready.

    And you are basing it on ONE stat. If you feel that none of his Eastern League leading numbers matter, but that his 41 strikeouts in 205 plate appearances, well…no comment.

    His Double-A line translates to a .261/.318/.465 major league slash-line.

    But I’m just repeating myself now, because I’ve given reason after reason after reason and you just keep coming back to “Dom Brown isn’t ready. If he comes up he’ll hit .077/.105/.000. But Ibanez, he’ll magically go back to being a 32 year-old because he can’t possibly keep this up.”

    You don’t have to agree. Can’t go 126-for-126. But don’t call it a panic button move. It’s far, far from that. Unless I’m in a bad dream where “panic” means “common” and “button” means “sense.”

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    And to reiterate one final time, the Eastern League ERA coming into tonight was 4.06. It is, year-in and year-out, a league filled with good pitching. It can be said that is more of a test for hitters than Triple-A.

    Dom Brown doesn’t need to move up to AAA and prove he can hit Josh Fogg and Jimmy Gobble.

  • Posts: 0 Rakim

    Raul should be taken out back and put down. I like him enough to make it quick and painless.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    If you can hit a really good fastball, you can hit in the Eastern League. What Brown’s K’s say to me is that he’s getting fooled by the guys who have more than one plus pitch. Half the guys in MLB do. I want to see him hit before I release Ibanez (and even if I thought Brown was ready to start, which he isn’t, I’d still release Dobbs).

    And I’m not just basing my opinion just on the strikeouts this year, he struck out a lot last year to.

    Maybe you should base your opinion on something more than just the 179 ABs Brown has had this year (the hottest 179 ABs of his short career). That’s not enough to project anything from.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    A note to the stat heads: Didn’t Raul played hurt last season (2nd half)? And his off season surgery (sports hernia) interrupted his preparation (including spring training) for this season. It’s funny how the injury factor got lost in posting those stats. Personally, 56 games into the season does not provide a fair evaluation of Ibanez’s effort to find his timing. That’s why Charlie Manuel has stated he will continue to play Ibanez and let him “swing out of his slump”.

  • Posts: 0 Corey Seidman

    Bruce – I don’t understand why people continue to cite his injury as an excuse. If anything, it speaks more to the fact that things WON’T get better…he’s a deteriorating 38-year-old who has had a full year to recover and hasn’t. And again, he has a history of hamstring and groin problems.

  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Yeah, as someone who disagreed with the end conclusion, the content of the article is pretty definitive and all of you waiting for an Ibanez resurgence will be left wanting.

  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Ibanez’s performance in Monday’s game further validates Corey’s post.

  • Posts: 0 jeremy

    Why do people keep saying “move brown to AAA”?? First- Double A is where the talent is, AAA is as someone mentioned basically reserves, and in many cases people that just will never make it, or players that did but couldn’t hack it. Second and most importantly Dom Brown is also playing not only in AA but also the Eastern League. Which is a pitchers league the league ERA is what? 4 something? I go to R-phils games and Iron Pig games all the time. In my oppinion the games I go to and see the best talent on the field (guys that are rising vs. Guys that are falling) occurs in a park that sells pepsi products and not Coke.

  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Exactly. AAA is just an inventory level, AA is a developmental level.

    I can go back to Ike Davis as an example:
    769 minor league plate appearances (1633 for Brown)
    1 strikeout per 4.2 ABs (1 strikeout per 5.1 ABs for Brown)
    42 AAA plate appearances (0 for Brown)

    Brown has always been ranked as a better prospect than Davis.

    Brown has more than twice the number of minor league plate appearances than Davis.

    Brown has struck out at a lower rate than Davis in the minors.

    Ike Davis is not being embarrassed at the major league level, as some are suggesting Brown will be. He’s not tearing up the league, but he’s adequately filled the black hole the Mets had at 1B. All Brown needs to do is fill the black hole the Phillies have in LF.

  • Posts: 0 Tom Goodman

    “Can we talk about baseball, though? And not ponies and unicorns riding in fields of daisies?”

    One of the best lines ever written.

  • Posts: 0 Cole

    A return to the mean is expected. And I say when he does, milk it for what it’s worth, eat $7-10M of his remaining contract, and find some sucker willing to take him.

  • Posts: 0 Cole

    While we’re at it, doesn’t it make more sense to promote John Mayberry Jr. since he is currently knocking the cover off the ball at Lehigh Valley?

  • Posts: 0 Grover Cleveland Alexander

    I found a follow up article to this one that says the Phillies should move Ibanez to the bench and make a statement by releasing Dobbs. It made sense to me!


  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    Well, you know how it is Corey, many people do not like to change as they have a fear of the unknown, are comfortable with the status quo and then they wind up suffering the consequences in some situations. Let us hope that if the Phils do not make a change in regards to Ibanez that he will find himself and become a helping cog in their drive to another pennant and possible World Championship.

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    Mike B-

    So I guess his performance tonight makes this post stupid huh? Nothing like a 1-game sample size to make a point.


    Do you have any examples of a MLB team releasing a player making Raul’s level of money with 1 1/2 years left on the deal?

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    The Milton Bradley / Carlos Silva trade should be reason #1A why this is a flat out stupid suggestion. Bradley was FAR worse last year than Raul is this year, both on and off the field.

    Yet, with TWO years left on his deal, the Cubs were able to trade him for Carlos Silva, who is 8-0 for them this year. Of course they didn’t expect Silva to be that good, but the point is – you don’t just release players with this type of contract for nothing. You trade him, you put him on the bench to try to get him going. But you don’t release him.

    I can only think of one instance where a player making a significant amount of money was released with at least 1 1/2 years left on his deal (Russ Ortiz in 2006) and that player was sporting a historically bad 7.00 ERA. There is a reason for this. There is still a chance to get something back on this investment.

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    One final point. Yet another example of why this would be an overreaction.

    A similar situation occurred last year in Boston.

    David Ortiz, with 1 1/2 left on his 4 year, $52 million contract was sporting a .661 OPS on June 20th. The Red Sox expectations are to win the World Series and Ortiz was holding them back. Many people thought he was “done” for good. Some even thought they should release him and cut their losses because he was just dead weight.

    For the rest of the season, Ortiz had a .895 OPS and was among the AL Leaders in HR (23) and RBI (71) for the remainder of the season.

    This year, after again being questioned after a slow start, he’s got a .879 OPS with 12 HR and 34 RBI.

    Who knows if Ibanez can have this sort of turnaround – but people shouldn’t act like they KNOW.

  • Posts: 0 Pete

    By the way – my suggestion would be to platoon Ibanez with Francisco. Release Dobbs, who is in the final year of a small contract and promote John Mayberry, who has been hitting well enough in AAA to deserve some ABs up here.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Pete –

    1) I’ve already addressed the Ibanez/Ortiz comparison. It doesn’t work. They’re two completely different players, and the only common thread is that they both struggled at some point in the last year.

    Ortiz is 34, Ibanez iz 38. In the last six years, Ibanez has had three hamstring injuries, a groin injury, and a back injury. All Ortiz has had was a wrist injury in 2008.

    It’s an unfair comparison because literally, the only commonality between Ibanez and Ortiz is that at one time or another, both were publicly criticized for struggling.

    Ortiz’ struggles lasted for several months one season and a month the next…Ibanez’ have lasted for over one calendar year (since last June), and the fact that he is four years older than Ortiz with a much more extensive injury history rids the comparison of any significance.

    2) The Bradley-Silva deal was unprecedented in that it was a swap of Junk-for-Junk. So far, it has worked out for the Cubs. Nobody expected it to, but it did.

    Very few trades like that have ever occurred and very few will ever occur again. It just so happened that there were two teams with high paid underperformers (one a cancer) that were able to relieve themselves of one by trading for the other.

    And finally, Pete, Ibanez has a no-trade clause, making most of this moot.

  • Posts: 0 Oppo Boppo Sucks

    Spot on article Corey, although I don’t see it happening. Someone pointed it as did Corey, Ibanez is hurting the team. Why not bring Brown up and platoon him with Francisco to “ease” him since everyone is scared of “ruining him.” That has got to be a better solution then letting Ibanez continue to be a “black hole.” I don’t need to reiterate the Corey’s responses to the arguments, but he’s 38 so the “he was injured” argument kinda loses its relevance considering it sounds like your making Corey’s point for him.

    This article = ratings.

    Keep up the good work Corey.

  • Posts: 0 Pete


    1) If you are going to limit a comparison to “guys that are 38″ then I’ll guess I’ll do that. I’m only going to go back a couple years, because I simply don’t have time to do more.

    Ken Griffey Jr, 38, 2008.

    .703 OPS on May 30th
    .821 OPS remainder of season

    Jim Thome, 37, 2008

    .735 OPS on May 25th
    .920 OPS remainder of season

    Frank Thomas, 39, 2007

    .704 OPS on May 23rd
    .911 OPS remainder of season

    Obviously this means it about time for Raul to pick it up – but it certainly shows that many old players take a bit to get going. Raul has shown some signs of it (an .808 OPS in May) before struggling again in June.

    2) Strange that you would use the “it’s unprecedented” argument when the very suggestion of this article is unprecedented itself.

    You don’t run a business by throwing $15 million out the window, especially when there are precedents for…

    - players of his age and injury history turning it on the 2nd half of seasons


    - getting some return from a trade (unless Raul has said he will block any trade, I’m not sure why you would assume it)

    If he still sucks in August/September, that’s another story, and perhaps you release him after the season like we did with Adam Eaton. But it’s simply too soon to make a decision like this. Like I said, there is a reason this has never happened with a position player before in the history of the game, unless you can find an example I haven’t been able to find.

  • Posts: 0 Gavin

    It was a deal that never made sense. Ruben has really messed up here because Werth is likely going to leave at the end of the year and what could’ve happened is Brown replaced him. However with Ibanez’s lack of production, we now need a 2nd outfielder.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan Shiffler

    ok. we are all typical Philly fans here…. our team is in a slump and we find someone to bash it on. It’s not Ibby’s fault. Look at our lineup and how well they are producing. Look at the pitching and how bad they are doing. We still cant win with the best pitcher in the majors on the mound. thats pathetic! Dont bash ibanez. Bash they whole team cause they really aren’t playing baseball at all! is Werth still playing? or is he really doing that bad that noone talks about him anymore?

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