Phillies Ink Raul Ibanez to play Left Field

Friday, December 12, 2008 ·

What's wrong with the picture to the right? That's correct, the Phillies added ANOTHER left-handed bat to a lefty heavy lineup. Set up your bullpens National League. You only need lefties to beat the Phillies.

This morning, the Phillies signed slow and old outfielder, Raul Ibanez to a 3 years, $30 million deal. If they went the cheap road so they can sign Derek Lowe, than fine, but really another lefty? Even Charlie Manuel knew that he needed balance in the lineup.

While Ibanez has hit for more of an average than Burrell, he does not hit as many home runs or reach base as often. To be fair, he did play in Safeco Field, which is ginormous. I do not want to slight Ibanez hitting ability at all. He can hit. He is one of only 5 outfielders who have drove in 100 runs in the last 3 seasons. He can produce, but is Jayson Werth supposed to protect Howard now?

Lost in the mix of signing Ibanez is the fact that the Phillies have lost their 2009 first round pick for an aging outfielder's who has a defensive ability actually worse than Pat Burrell. Can you believe that? Ibanez is added to the mix of slow and old left-handed outfielders that the Phillies decided to carry.

After the jump, check out Ibanez's stats and a projected lineup?


The older Ibanez has become, the better he has become. Hopefully the trend continues. In his last three seasons, Ibanez has posted an OPS+ of 120 or higher, all while playing in Safeco Field for half of his games.

He has career lines of .286/.346/.472. Definitely not bad numbers and they could inflate a little while playing half his games in Citizen's Bank Park. It is definitely not his hitting ability that anyone needs to worry about. He also has some power and run-producing ability. As mentioned earlier, he has knocked in 100+ runs in the last 3 seasons, while hitting at least 20 home runs in the last four seasons.

One of the biggest problems is his defense. The Phillies may have actually taken a step back from Pat Burrell, a player most people feel will be a DH for the rest of his life. It might not seem like that when you look at the Hard Ball Times fielding stats, but he is bad.

The second problem is that the Phillies will now lose their first round pick. Because Ibanez was a type-A free Agent, Seattle will receive our first round pick and a sandwich pick. Because we did not protect ourselves against losing Moyer or Burrell, we will not receive any compensation for our free agents. I suppose if we were going to lose our pick, they might as well do it the year after they win the World Series. They really do need to fix their farm system though.

Lastly, just one too many left-handed hitters.

01. Rollins - S
02. Victorino - S
03. Utley - L
04. Howard - L
05. Werth - R
06. Ibanez - L
07. Feliz - R
08. Ruiz - R

It is going to be extremely easy for the opposing bullpens to set their pitchers up against out lineup. Go sign left-handed relievers. Ibanez does have somewhat healthy splits against lefties over the last three seasons, but nothing extreme. However, he hit better against lefties than righties.

Look at our bench: Right now our only right-handed hitters are Coste and Bruntlett. Dobbs, Stairs, and Jenkins are all lefties. Two of them play the outfield.

Conclusion: This is all hindsight. I am sure Raul Ibanez and Ruben Amaro, Jr. will make me bite my tongue. I do not think Ibanez is a bad player at all and the contract is perfectly fine and maybe even a little cheap for a guy that puts up those numbers. I just do not think he filled their biggest need. We really, really needed a power-hitting right handed bat to fill the lineup. I am sure that Manuel gave the move the okay, but even he was calling for a righty in the lineup. Jayson Werth, it is your time to step up now.

Oh, and we better sign pitching now with the money we've saved on not signing Burrell. I want Moyer AND another starter.

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We Hate to Lose began in October 2007. The initial purpose of the website was to provide news updates and commentary on all four major sports teams in Philadelphia. Because of time-constraints, in April of 2009, I decided to post only on my first-love, the Philadelphia Phillies.

My name is Justin Evans and I hope you enjoy the site.

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