Friday, December 12, 2008

Raul Ibanez is the Perfect Fit

Late last night, the Phillies apparently signed Raul Ibanez to a 3 year/$30 million dollar contract. On paper, this looks like a great deal.

Ibanez is a lock to hit 20-30 HRs with at least 100 RBI and roughly a .290 batting average. He can rake against both lefites and righties (.288 vs. RHP in 2008, .305 vs. LHP in 2008) so it will not be a problem having him hit fifth or sixth behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Having a lefty dominant lineup is not a problem when all the lefties can flat out rake.

Make no mistake about it, this is a fantastic signing. The Phillies offense, which was pretty darn good in 2008, now has the potential to be a juggernaut, especially at Great American Ballpark. Furthermore, Ibanez is a certain upgrade over Pat Burrell. Even though he had some great spurts during his tenure with the Phils, Burrell was never able to provide the consistent production that Ibanez will give the Phillies. Utley and Howard will put up better numbers because of it.

In addition, the Phillies signed Ibanez to a very reasonable contract. Even though he is 36 years old, Ibanez has shown no signs of decline to date and has actually put up the best numbers of his career over the past three seasons. While he could start to decline as he gets closer to 40, this deal should definitely pay off over the first year or two of the deal.

I don't see the downside of this deal for the Phillies, who now look like strong competitors to win their third straight NL East title. Kudos to GM Ruben Amaro Jr for making this move; the Phillies are a much stronger team with Ibanez on board.

(Note: Take a look at my free agent projection for Ibanez a month back. You might find some additional insight there. And again, my projection was only $3 million dollars off! Damn you, economy!)

8 comments:

GM-Carson said...

Perfect fit? Now we're extremely lefthanded. He's slow, old, and very poor fielder...just like Burrell. He's a good hitter, and a good guy, just not a good fit for the Phils.

Josh said...

Left handed, yes, but if you look at his stats, Ibanez is great against lefties. He actually did better against lefties than righties average wise in 2008.

I could see a lineup against lefties like this working:
Rollins
Victorino
Utley
Howard
Werth
Ibanez
Feliz
Ruiz
pitcher

pretty darn good lineup right there.

thanks for the comment.

GM-Carson said...

He did do "great" against lefties in 2008, but for his career he bats only around .260ish against them with an OPS in the low .700's...far from great.

Josh said...

He actually hit better against left handed pitchers in 2008 than Pat Burrell did. Not too mention that he hit for a higher average against lefties than Burrell in 2007 as well. Ibanez will offer up more consistency and better production that Burrell, especially in this lineup.

I understand your argument and your point, but considering who he is replacing and Ibanez's rise over the past few seasons, I really don't think this move will negatively effect the Phillies. To me, his age is pretty over-rated at this point, but I understand the concern around signing a 36 year old to a 3 year deal.

Thanks once again for the comment, I really appreciate it.

GM-Carson said...

Visit my blog and if you like we can exchange links. Let me know...

Josh said...

GM,
your site is very impressive. I really enjoyed it. I'd be happy to exchange links with you.

I'm putting your site in my blogroll as well speak.

thanks!

Troy Patterson said...

I have to completely disagree. This was a waste of money as Ibanez when defense and offense are combined he will account for one less win per year than Burrell. Burrell is a much better hitter even though his average is lower. He has a better OBP and SLG and is 5 years younger as Ibanez is 37 not 36.

Check fangraphs.com for a great article on this signing.

Josh said...

Troy,
Totally understand your point, but I have to disagree.

I think Ibanez will provide something that Burrell struggled to do: stability. You have to admit that Burrell was a streak hitter, who would go through horrible slumps (he always seemed to break out of them against the Mets). When Burrell is on, he's fantastic, but when he struggles, he's bad.

Ibanez will be a consistent, run producing force, who is much better with runners in scoring position. Plus, Ibanez's numbers should only improve playing at Citizens Bank Park.

And Ibanez is turning 37 in June, but he is 36 right now.

Very impressive website by the way, I really enjoyed the in depth coverage. Are you a writer on the blog?

thanks so much for the comment,I really appreciate it.