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Year in Review: Raul Ibanez

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 15, 2010 06:00 PM | Comments: 56
2010 Player Reviews, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

RAUUUUUUUUUL!  It was a name/phrase often heard throughout Citizens Bank Park in 2009. Shirts were made, children were given the name Raul at birth and the city was in a frenzy over one, Raul Ibanez.

A year later the love affair that everyone – except Nick “The Beerman” Staskin, it seems – enjoyed, ended. It was a quick courtship that ended in disappointment in 2010, with finger pointing as to why he was inked to a three-year deal at such an advanced baseball age.

For three months, Raul Ibanez looked completely lost at the plate. On June 6, Ibanez hit his lowest of lows with his batting average sinking to .229 and his OPS down to .700. On June 6, 2009, he was hitting .330 with an OPS of 1.070. Oh, the difference a year makes.

“RAUUUUUUUL’s” turned to “boo’s” and before you knew it, people were trying to figure a way to get him out of town by the deadline. He stayed and eventually turned it around, but those who had believed he was worth $31.5 million over three seasons – the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season – were hard to find. You can’t blame those people for turning on him, either. After an incredible first half last season – one in which he smacked 22 homers – Ibanez was a straight dud this past campaign.

Using a hot streak to end the season and boost his overall numbers, the left-fielder finished the season hitting .275 with 16 home runs and 83 RBI. His slugging on-base percentage of .347 was actually better than in 2009 and was right on par with his career average. However, his .444 slugging was a letdown following an ’09 of .552.

Yes, many comparisons go back to the 2009 season, but how can they not? We were spoiled by more than two incredible months from Ibanez followed by a post-all-star break that was lacking, but sufficient.

This past season, it was ugly in the beginning for Raul, then slowly trended upward until its conclusion.

In the postseason, Ibanez failed to show up when the chips were down, hitting just .222 with a terrible .563 OPS. He did not go yard in the playoffs, which highlighted his quickly-disappearing power and slowing bat.

Sadly, Raul might be even worse with the glove than the bat, as hard as that is to believe. Ibanez’s plus-minus – a defensive metric which represents the number of plays the player made above/below the number that an average fielder would make – was a -6 in 2010. Over a three-year span, Ibanez’s +/- is -33. Only two left fielders that qualify were worse. Clearly, it’s not a good sign when the glove can’t even come close to making up for the bat.

But, such is life with Raul Ibanez in left field. He’s still a fan favorite for his work ethic and stoic demeanor although it’s getting harder and harder to watch him struggle mightily, waving through fastballs and guessing wrong on breaking pitches in the dirt.

Overall, it was a telling year for Raul. It proves he is certainly on the downside of his career and is being grossly overpaid. The question is now, can the Phillies unload that money this offseason? That’s another question for another time.

PAT’S GRADE: 5/10: Raul was just kind of “there”. There were more bad times than good throughout the season and with that contract looming large, it’s hard to say he was anything but average.

NICK’S GRADE: 3.3/10 I’m giving Raul a 3.3 for the fact that he was only productive for about 33percent of the season, and the other 2/3 he was brutal. You can almost predict the six-hopper to the second baseman to end an inning when he was facing a lefty. Next year, he should be nothing more than an overpriced platoon member.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1671 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I hear Raul wears a hood when he goes to payroll to get his check every week.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Can’t blame Raul for accepting a large paycheck. He really looked old in the Giant’s series. His bat was slow. I cannot help but think that his last year with the Phils will see him as a platoon player. Hopefully a successful one. Better yet, maybe we could convince Seattle to take him back and pay part of his salary. He has had an excellent career. I believe he would be happier, and would the Phils, if he were to return to the American League. I hate to see a professional like this get booed by the fans. But I understand it.

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    Without Raul’s torrid second half, the Phillies don’t even see the playoffs. He placed this team on his back and carried them for three weeks.

    Way too brutal. He went cold at exactly the wrong time and everyone forgets the way he stepped up when we fell behind the Mets.

    I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but what does Utley have to do to get this kind of brutality?

    What did Brown get after a pretty good showing at the plate, but an amateurish showing in the field?

    Taking his first half and non-showing during the playoffs into consideration (though, come on… Utley, Howard, Rollins… where were those guys in the playoffs?), Raul deserves a solid 6.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Kate – Get real. Raul’s second half was a nice surprise, but a guy hitting .280-.290 isn’t torrid, and it was the pitching that got them into the playoffs. Raul’s over. His bat is slow as cold molasses traveling up stream. Good guy, though.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Kate

    The Dipsy – You first. If Raul didn’t produce when he produced, Roy Halladay would be scratching his head wondering if he just isn’t meant to make it to the postseason, Cole Hamels would be doing meditation to release a season’s worth of frustration he never showed on the field this time, and everyone would be unfairly calling for Charlie’s head right now.

    Raul’s a BALLPLAYER, not some dude with a great throwing arm or a sweet swing. He’s slowing down and getting older, but that’s a true ballplayer right there, that Raul Ibanez.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Beerman

    Kate,

    I’d love some of the Kool-Aid that you have. A down year for Utley is still amongst the top of all 2B. You’re 2 week torrid Ibanez was terrible for about 18 of the other weeks, and average the other 4.

    Please give me a break. His defense is atrocious and he is the definition of a rally killer. In all honesty, the guy had a good April/May in 2009 and has been living off those 8 weeks since he signed here.

    I hate him.

     
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Raul was a slight disappointment. It was very controversial when the Phils inked him for a 3 year contract. He still can bounce back and have a decent year. I can see him as a platoon player or maybe we can unload him and pay some of his salary. I have a feeling we are going to be stuck with him but who knows what RAJ can pull.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Beerman

    RAJ also gave him a full no trade clause…

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    If Ibanez gets a 3.3, then Rollins should get a 1. He didn’t even play most of the year and he’s a lot younger and made even more money if you figure it per game played. (I’ll grant that his defense was good, but so was Valdez’s). I’m not going to read any more of these idiotic ratings. No one’s perfect, but that doesn’t make them all as worthless as Phillies Nation writers seem to think.

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg

    I swear, The Dipsy and the PN writers get this one 100% correct, and people try to argue it? For freak’s sake, he was the worst defensive outfielder in the league this season! Half of the hits to left field could have been played much more effectively, if they were even put into play if another left-fielder was out there. The only thing he didn’t do was get injured, which would have let a better hitter this year (and even worse defender, probably), Ross Gload, most likely replace him. He hit .275, so let’s compare him to a 2B, the fourth hardest position, who had the best UZR and got to more balls in play than anyone else. Why not compare him to another left fielder instead?

    I honestly believe some people’s ratings would be similar to this:

    Wilson Valdez: 10. He filled in excellently and is pretty much a full time starter on any team, plus he hit a very solid .260 all while getting on base about 30% of the time! Fabulous pick up. Carried the team on his back, along with Raul, for practically the whole season. Without him, we’d never have another one of the plethora of Utility guys to keep us in this season.
    Chase Utley: 2. He got injured and only hit 16 Homeruns. He also got caught stealing twice, so he hurt the team badly. From a Power Position like Second base*, I expect a minimum of 42 homeruns.
    Raul Ibanez: 9.7. He played almost every game, smiled a lot, and never gave up running down the first base line after he weakly grounds out to second. A real team player.
    Ryan Howard: 3.2. He only hit 31 Homeruns and he got injured. His RBI production was only like, 4th highest.
    Juan Castro: 9.25. He filled in admirably for J-Roll, and he spun and fired to first for the perfect game. Should probably play full time, but unfortunately, Ruben Amaro Jr. got rid of him and he now sits in the dugout while a great closer, Jonathan Broxton, saves games.

    Honestly people, get real. If Roy Halladay’s a 10, then how the hell can you expect anything higher than a 5 out of Raul Ibanez?

    *that whole part, along with the rest of it, for that matter, is complete sarcasm.*

     
  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    I too know that Raul had down year, but when he was batting third for Chase his numbers were bettter than good, does he deserve more than a five no, but a three is just stupid. And you guys saying how bad he was in the outfield are just fixated on the one misplayed ball in the playoffs and if you say you are not you are lying. Is he a great outfielder by no streach, but he is not terrible. He covers more ground then pat the bat He does not make a lot of mistakes on ba

     
  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    on balls hit to left field. and IMHO he will be a 280 hitter with 90 rbis and 15-20 hr this year in fewer at bats he will not be a true platoon guy but will be platooned a little more then this year. becaue he did start hitting better even against lefties when he skipped acoupleof days. Like the true philadelphia fans some of you are it is all about what did you do for me today and do not care what you did yestarday

     
  • Posts: 0 Greg

    Actually, if you did some research, you’d realize that Pat had a better Range Factor Per 9 than Raul did. You’d also realize that he accounted for
    -11 runs in Left Field, by far one of the league’s worst. We’re not saying he’s a bad outfielder because of some stupid jump thing. We’re saying he’s bad because he sucks at fielding.

     
  • Posts: 0 MikeB.

    I go along with Pat’s grade of a five and that is being very liberal with my rating. I have constant dreams of watching this guy either striking out or grounding/bouncing out to second base. Hope that the Phillies find a taker for Ibanez in the AL and if not, reduce his playing time next year to platooning with someone in left field. With what they will be paying him next year, is too expensive to delegate to the bench as a pinch hitter and occasional late innings player.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    Rauuul! His performance in 09 is the reason why the Phils had even close to a .500 record in April and May. The starting pitching staff had a cumulative ERA of over 7.5 for the first 2 months and yet, they won more games than lost because of 1 man, Raul. Timely, game winning hits, power and even his glove were all a great surprise and improvement over our former LF and like Pat said, he carved a place in our hearts.

    OK, its over. Raul did not show up for 2/3 of the season. He was the antithesis of last years hero. There was absolutely no power, no clutch hitting and defensively (not just the gaff in the playoffs) was brutal. True Kate, he was a big reason why the Phils breezed through September and he was also good in August but, if you take in consideration all the missed opportunities (rbi’s?) from April until August, you might consider that the potential for wins as opposed to losses based on his performance might have evened out a bit? Think about it. If the Phils had a CONSISTENT left fielder who hit with average pop (16 hrs out of that position is below average, unless your a speed demon, a doubles machine, a defensive superstar – non of which Raul qualifies as) potentially could have had a positive win factor on the Phils final record.

    To me, Raul was like the key guy in the early part of 09. In 10, he was one of the key goats.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    On the bright side! Today the NL CY is officially announced. Roy Halladay will win for 2010!

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    And the 39 year old Raul will be even worse than the 38 year old Raul. Those memories of April & May of 2009 will last forever, though. This contract wasn’t one of RAJ’s shining moments.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I want Raul to do well because he seems like a hard working, decent guy, and it would help the team, but the reality is he’s an aging 1 dimensional player at best, better suited to a dh platoon on a young team that is learning how to win (good fits appear to be Baltimore, Seattle, KC, Tor).

    Guys recover from down years all the time, so it’s possible Raul comes back to early 2009 form, but most of those guys are in their mid to late 20s. I think we’ve seen the best of Raul, and it is downhill from here. I would feel a lot better with Ben Fran as the everyday left fielder, moving Raul even if it meant absorbing half his salary.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    I think that the Phillies would need to pick up at least 75% of Ibanez’s remaining contract if they hope to move him (unless they take another team’s bad contract with similar dollars back in return).

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    bfo, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m picking on you but, everyone has to get off this kick about Ben Fran – he is not that good, never has been. I thought for sure that the Phils would use his name as trade fodder last year, someone out there needs a LF fillin, who is capable of hitting maybe .270, maybe 20 hrs, maybe 80 some rbi. He is an everyday player but, not here.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    What I truly hate about these ratings is the constant comparisons of apples and oranges. You simply can’t compare a left fielder with a second baseman; the expectations are too different. You can’t compare a Wilson Valdez with a Ryan Howard because the initial talent levels are so different. Ibanez was a disappointment, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s being jumped on partly because of a not-so-good contract. His 2010 stats weren’t all that different than most of his career numbers, so you can’t say he was as terrible as 3.3. In other words, you have to base your ratings on what THAT PARTICULAR PLAYER has been capable of, not what some superstar can do.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    George, you said it. “You have to base your ratings on what THAT PARTICULAR PLAYER has been capable of..”

    His numbers were down accross the board. Power, average (his career average is .284), slg%, runs, rbi (his career average is in the 90′s) and his late season spike really disguised the terrible April, May, June and July that he had as one of our former Super Stars (well, in the first part of 09). Raul deserves every bit of a 5 or lower rating.

     
  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Geroge and Brooks – IF and when Phillies Nation reveals the methodology to be used in ratings then I will comment on the numbers. Until then everyone is making up their own rules including Phillies Nation writers.

    Raul Ibanez was never known for his fielding. His year was about what I expected and the .275 BA was a lot better than other members of this club. Ibanez is one year from retirement. He can contribute and will but I don’t expect him to be a key part of the 2011 team.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    I understand Bob. I think basically the rating should be more along the lines of:
    A) big time contributor, where would the Phils be without him
    B) Helped out some, definite force throughout the year
    C) Filled in a spot
    D) Stunk for a good part of the year
    E) Where would the team be without him? (how much better off would the team be?)

    Grading Raul: if you look at the end result I would agree with what you said. Average about expected but power down (like everyone else). However, you take in account April when he hit .221 with 1 hr, June when he hit .240 with 3 hrs and even August when he hit .240 with 2 hrs again – he was brutal.
    Raul gets a D

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Given the fact that without Raul’s first half in 2009 the Phillies probably don’t make the postseason….

    ……and given the fact that without Raul’s second half in 2010 they again probably don’t make the playoffs….

    …..I feel fairly comfortable that he WILL be a “key part of the 2011 team.”

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Brooks, I don’t think Ben Fran is the Mesiah. He’s a cheap, fairly athletic right hander with some power, could break up the lefties. Your numbers above, coupled with above avg speed and D (for a left fielder) would be an upgrade over Raul, and more than decent for a 6 hitter.

    I see Ben Fran as holding a spot until we can get an mlb ready prospect or free agent in left.

    I also want Brown to play every day, no matter how painful the early months may look against lhp. He’s got to see it to learn how to hit it. Being able to bar Brown 7th with no pressure will be a big help.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Meant bat Brown. He hit lefties pretty well in the minors, given time, ti should translate.

     
  • Posts: 0 betasigmashag

    There is a reason you have season numbers, 275 16 hr and 80 RBIs are pretty good numbers when you consider his early struggles. If anything he has been more streaky than I would like him to be. But he was about what his career numers would bee nd his power numbers were down along with rest of the league. and you can take yrour made up stats I will use my eyes, I would trust Raul in the field over Burrell everyw e. He does not make spectacular plays, but with few exceptions he made plays an average LF would make

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I’m with Chuck. Long live RAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL.

     
  • I GIVE RAULLLLLLLLL A 5.1 FOR THE YEAR.FIRST HALF WAS JUST BRUTAL TO WATCH,BUT HE PICKED IT UP A LITTLE BETTER IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR AND PUT UP AVG NUMBERS.I REALLY DONT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM HIM THIS YEAR,BUT I AM ONE OF THE PEOPLE THAT THINKS THAT BEN FRANCISCO GIVEN PLAYING TIME WILL PUT UP VERY GOOD NUMBERS AND BE MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE THEN RAUL IN THE COMING YEAR!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    What we need to remember is that Raul was still recovering from an injury in the first half of the season. The guy could have been in extreme pain for all we know. In the second half he carried the team, because Howard and Utley were hurt. He’s a big reason we won the division. I think his defense is decent- he did make some very good plays. His perfomrance in the playoffs probably was poor, although he did start a rally off of Lincecum in Game 6 with a single which could have been more important were it not for that line drive double play by Chooch. I think, in spite of his age, that he’s fully capable of having a solid year for us in 2011, so long as he stays healthy.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    If the Diamondbacks are serious about entertaining offers for Justin Upton (as MLBTR is saying), I’d think RAJ would need to investigate. He’s a 23 year old right-handed bat and is signed through 2015. I’m sure it would take Brown plus at least two more prospects.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    2005/2006 were the only two seasons in his entire career that Raul had 150 games started back to back, and in 2005 was largely a dh (54 games started in the field). The 2009 injury may have been a fluke that lingered into 2010, but it’s a crapshoot that Raul will be healthy and productive for a whole season. People with a better eye than me (Bill Baer from Crashburn Alley amongst others) noticed that Ibanez’s bat has slowed. Maybe injury, maybe aging.

    I’m not an athlete, but an active 43 year old. I can do everything I could at 30, just don’t ask me to do it day in/day out at full bore, or read small print without my reading glasses.

    Bill James projects Ibanez to have a year similar to what Brooks attributed to Ben Fran – in 155 games, 270 BA, 20 homers, 83 rbis. I’ll take that in a heartbeat, but wouldn’t bet on it.

     
  • Some people keep bringing up Brown in trade rumors, why would the FO make a huge one eitghty on the guy, he was the only untouchable in all the trades for the last two years. I am wondering what would change these guys minds. They have know for a year and half they would need a RH bat after this year. I really think the plan was for Dom to be full time left fielder in 2012 not 2011 in RF. And wasn’t that Taylor kid RH they seemed to be on the same level for most of the past two years, why not keep him if you know you had no chance in Keeping Wreth after last year. Another thing isn’t the Singleton kid RH and moving to the outfield this year, will he be ready for 2012. If so you can platoon Raul, Ben Fran, and Dom Brown and have Vic play CF for this year then next year when Raul is retired you either move Brown over there or put Singleton in RF.
    I also would entertain the idea of moving Poly and signing Beltre he can not be asking more than 11-12 million per right for 3-4 years. Right there is you RH bat

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Yes, but BenFran would play a much better outfield, run the bases much better, and be right handed. Hey, if Ruben can’t find a trade for Raul, I’m afraid he’s gonna ride the bench. I don’t even foresee him in a platoon situation. His skills have eroded that much. At this point, he is a liability in every facet of the game.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Dodgers sign Kuroda to 1y12m? Wow. Pass the dutchie.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    How is it that his “skills have eroded” but yet he basically carried the team after the AS break?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Beta – I will tell you something. Privately, I have wondered if it was feasible to sign Beltre and move Polanco into left. Leave Chase where he is for now. I love the idea of getting Beltre, but its just too much to do, moving everybody around like that.

    Rollins
    Chase
    Polanco
    Howard
    Beltre
    Brown/RH
    Victorino
    Chooch

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Chuck – He didn’t carry anything after the all start break. What team were you watching?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    After the all star break: 9/44/.309. Thats not “carrying”.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    First half…85 games:

    7/39/.243

    Second half…70 games:

    9/44/.309

    I’m pretty sure that those 70 games are part of the Phillies’ incredible run where they went 48-18…

    And I’m pretty sure that with Howard and Utley on the DL for a good chuck of that period…and Rollins in and out and basically an non-factor, and other injuries and inconsistencies….

    …. And I’m certain that those numbers of Raul’s contributed HEAVILY to the fact that the Phillies went 48-18…and went from 7 back to 6 up in the division.

     
  • Posts: 0 brooks

    It’s official gang – Doc is the NL CY award winner in 2010!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I’ll take 9/44/.309 over a 70 game period any time at all. I don’t care if the player is 29, 39, or 49…

    Those are fantastic numbers….

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Chuck….lets not get carried away. They are good numbers, especially the BA, but not great. Like I said, the pitching carried the team in the second half. You extrapolate his second half numbers out and his stats are about 23/100/.309, which are the numbers we expected when we signed him. He had a good second half…what do you want me to say? That he’s good?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Phan in the outfield

    Re: Beltre – He’s OLD (31), which seems to concern everyone lately. He turned down his ’11 op w/Boston. On the surface it would seem to be money, but maybe not. His contracts have been: ’05 /11.4; ’07/12.9; & ’09/13.4. Probably his increases haven’t been what they should be (they have kind of been small). Or maybe at 31 he wants 3 – 4 yrs on his contract. In either case, I don’t think those are things this team wants to give.

     
  • Posts: 0 Ted Bell

    Ibanez didn’t “carry the team” in the second half last season. His offensive numbers were very ordinary, and his defense was awful. If you want to make the statement that “his second half was better than his first” I’ll certainly agree, but it’s a real stretch to say that he “carried the team”.

    I’m Ted Bell.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You just can’t admit that Raul was a good signing, can you?

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    If Raul’s second half was the same as his first half….the Phillies don’t make the playoffs.

    So, in my opinion, that’s “carrying” the team.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Chuck – Raul was a bad signing. Period. He is being paid 11.5m a year. If he was being paid 2.5m, I would say it was a good signing. I think that when you evaluate a signing that you have to judge that player’s performance against the backdrop of what they are being paid. In that context, Raul is not an “asset” for this team. He is an albatross around their necks. Nice guy, though.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    He’s not an “asset” but yet he was a HUGE part of their success the last 2 years.

     
 
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