Tag: Raul Ibanez

Greg Maddux, Raul Ibanez Hired by Dodgers: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to add more brainpower and manpower to their front office, hiring former big leaguers Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez on Tuesday. 

According to the Dodgers’ official Twitter account, Maddux and Ibanez have joined the team as special assistants to the president of baseball operations and baseball operations department.    

The Dodgers have had an eventful offseason, though not for reasons most fans in Los Angeles like. They lost Zack Greinke to their National League West rivals in the Arizona Diamondbacks, opting to sign Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda for their starting rotation. 

Yet what the Dodgers have lacked in free-agent buzz, they have more than made up for with the bolstering of their front office.

Already boasting a group that included president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and general manager Farhan Zaidi, the Dodgers brought in former Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos as vice president of baseball operations. 

The job of special assistant to the president of baseball operations, which Maddux and Ibanez will be serving, is often left vague. Many former players serve in that role, with Chipper Jones returning to the Atlanta Braves under the same banner. 

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Jones’ role in Atlanta includes spending time with the team during spring training and doing work at major league and minor league levels throughout the regular season. 

Maddux and Ibanez could conceivably do the same thing for the Dodgers, helping inform Friedman and Zaidi about personnel decisions throughout the year and about when to bring players up from the minor leagues. 

Regardless of what Maddux and Ibanez will be doing for the Dodgers, their hiring continues the franchise’s trend of adding as many smart, informed baseball voices as possible to the mix so it is making the best decisions for 2016 and beyond. 

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Ranking the Rays’ 8 Preliminary Candidates Targeted to Replace Joe Maddon

The offseason has only just begun, and already it’s been a very tumultuous one for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Indeed, new president of baseball operations Matt Silverman—who took over the job in October after Andrew Friedman, his longtime predecessor, left for the Los Angeles Dodgers—has his work cut out for him.

Not only is Silverman new to his own job, but he also has to choose the man to succeed former skipper Joe Maddon, who did plenty of succeeding himself by posting a .529 winning percentage and winning two AL East titles and one AL pennant in his nine seasons before opting out of the final year of his contract and signing a five-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

On Thursday, the team revealed the eight preliminary candidates to replace Maddon.

That’s a rather large number of baseball minds to bring in and interview for a managerial search, but the Rays can handle this however they desire.

And it sounds like there will be more to come, according to Silverman, who said, “This is a preliminary list of candidates, and we expect it will grow as we continue through this process.”

As for these eight to start, well, the list is—how do we put this?—eclectic. There’s really a little of everything to consider, which is why we’ll count down all of them, in order of least to most likely to actually land the gig.

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New York Yankees Considering Reuniting with Raul Ibanez

He was the hero of so many games for the New York Yankees in 2012, and now, 41-year-old Raul Ibanez may be heading back to the Bronx.

According to George A. King III and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Yankees are considering offering Ibanez another contract this winter. This comes one year after the team let him walk following a playoff performance New Yorkers have not seen from one player since Reggie Jackson.  

Almost all analysts considered Ibanez’s career near over during spring training in 2012, when he simply could not get a hit. As soon as the regular season started, however, Ibanez found a spark in his swing and put together one of the most memorable seasons of his long career.  

That magical season consisted of Ibanez batting only .240 in 130 games played, which would make little sense to someone who just reads the statistics.

All season long, Ibanez came up with timely hits for the Yankees, delivering more than a handful of game-winning hits for his team. However, it was his postseason performance that forever etched his name in Yankee lore.  

Had it not been for Ibanez, the Yankees probably never would have advanced past the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Division Series. It was his presence that propelled New York to the Championship Series, which it lost in four games to the Tigers. However, Ibanez did everything he could in that series as well, delivering a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth off closer Jose Valverde. 

After reuniting with the Seattle Mariners last season, Ibanez tied Ted Williams’ record of single-season home runs after 40 years of age. The lefty hit 29 home runs last year, giving people in Seattle something to cheer about even when their team had been eliminated from playoff contention.

With a suspension for third baseman Alex Rodriguez looming and extreme demands from Robinson Cano, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, the Yankees could use a cheap and reliable bat in the lineup. He would not come at a great asking price, which is beneficial to an organization doing everything it can to avoid paying the giant luxury tax this season.

Furthermore, Ibanez proved last season that he is far more than just a designated hitter at this point in his career. In 2013, he played 99 games in left field.

Ibanez could provide a spark to a Yankees team that is desperately searching for help in the free-agency market. 

If the Yankees make this move, land Ibanez and make the playoffs, we may witness more of that October magic New Yorkers missed out on last season.  


Statistics Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.


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Mariners Smart to Bring Veteran OF Raul Ibanez Back to Seattle

Raul Ibanez is 40 years old, but apparently the Seattle Mariners still believe that the left-handed power-hitter can contribute.

Ibanez appeared in 130 games for the New York Yankees in 2012. He faced right-hand pitching almost exclusively in that time.

According to The Associated Press (via ESPN), “A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Raul Ibanez and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract.”

Per Baseball-Reference.com, 85 percent of Ibanez’s at-bats came with a platoon advantage.

He posted a batting average of .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI for the Bombers. The last two seasons have seen Ibanez’s batting average dip dramatically. He’s a lifetime .271 hitter, but at this stage of his career, that is a long shot.

He hit .275 in 2010 and .245 in 2011.

He still has some pop from the left side, as he hit 19 home runs in the 2012 season. That is likely the quality that endeared him to Seattle. Power from the left side of the plate is still a rare commodity.

When there is an experienced player with a proven track record availale, he’ll always have suitors.

Ibanez’s power came exclusively against right-handers. He hit all 19 of his home runs against right-handed pitching. Though he played the field the majority of the time for the Yankees, he is not one of the most fleet outfielders.

He could hold his greatest value as a designated hitter, especially in a platoon situation with right-handed slugger Jesus Montero.

Ibanez brings a wealth of playoff experience to the table as well. Over his time with the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, Ibanez has appeared in 44 postseason games.

Overall, this is a good veteran bat to add to the fold.

As long as a team can hit Ibanez seventh or even sixth against right-handed starters, he can certainly help.

Because Ibanez has had two previous stints with the Mariners organization, he fits the team perfectly. He can split time with Montero as a designated hitter, or he can provide depth in the outfield. 

Above all else though, he will provide proven leadership on an unproven team.

That’s exactly what the Mariners are hoping for, and what they need. He’s not a superstar, but Ibanez still gives his new team solid value at this point in his career.


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Seattle Mariners Reportedly Sign OF Raul Ibanez

The Seattle Mariners need a boost offensively, and they’re hoping Raul Ibanez can supply some pop in his return.

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Mariners and Ibanez have reached an agreement:

Sports Radio 66 WFAN reporter Sweeny Murti announced the length of the deal:

Ibanez is 40 years old, but he showed in last year’s playoffs that he can still deliver big home runs when he hit three clutch homers for the New York Yankees. He may not provide 162 games’ worth of production, but he’s still a savvy player.

He hit .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 384 regular-season at-bats with the Yankees last year. He doesn’t provide consistent contact at the dish anymore, but the pop is still there. 

Ibanez probably won’t see much time in the outfield, but he could platoon with Jesus Montero as a designated hitter. If nothing else, he will provide leadership, a solid bench bat and a possible fourth or fifth outfielder depending on the pitching matchup.

He played with Seattle as a rookie in 1996 and stayed there through 2000 before heading to Kansas City for three years. Then he returned to the Mariners from 2004 to 2008 before taking his bat to Philadelphia.

His familiarity with the organization, and with the city, will help him make a quick adjustment this time around.

It would make sense if this is Ibanez’s final major league team. His career would have come full circle, and it seems like a fitting place to end things.

Before he hangs it up, though, he will be expected to provide some excitement in the Mariners’ offensively-challenged lineup next season.

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Hot Stove: Seattle Mariners Eyeing Return of Raul Ibanez?

***UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweeted Saturday evening that the Seattle Mariners and Raul Ibanez had reached a contract agreement.***

George King of the New York Post reported Saturday that the Seattle Mariners are reportedly showing “serious interest” in free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez, who played for the New York Yankees in 2012.

King, citing a “person with knowledge of the situation,” said Seattle would like to sign the 40-year-old who hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 425 plate appearances for New York last season.

Ibanez has served two previous stints with the Mariners, as a reserve from 1996-2000 and as their everyday left fielder and sometimes designated hitter from 2004-08. His second stay with the Mariners included the most productive years of his career, when he hit .291/.354/.477 with 113 homers and 489 RBI over those five seasons. He drove in more than 100 runs three times during that span, including a career-high 123 in 2006.

According to King, the Yankees have been in talks with Ibanez’s agent but stressed those talks have not included actual contract negotiations.

Ibanez said earlier this winter that he would like to return to the Bronx, but the Yankees have not made re-signing him a priority.

Instead, the Yankees have been searching for an outfielder who swings from the right side of the plate to provide some depth and alternatives to lefty-swinging regulars Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki.

New York has interest in free-agent Scott Hairston, but Hairston wants a multi-year contract, and that has been a sticking point for the Yankees, according to King, who also said the Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest in the former New York Met.

On Friday, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted the Atlanta Braves were also interested in Hairston.

One potential right-handed hitting outfielder came off the market Saturday, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Feinsand tweeted Saturday morning that Cody Ross had agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, citing a league source.

The departure of Ibanez—who set a postseason record in 2012 with three home runs in the playoffs hit in the ninth inning or later—could leave Eduardo Nunez as a viable option as the designated hitter, according to King.

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Yankees vs. Red Sox: Raul Ibanez Sparks 4-3 Victory, Reduce Magic Number to 1

The Yankees were shooting themselves in the foot all night when they had opportunities with runners in scoring position.

And then Raul Ibanez came into the game and changed that with two at-bats.

The Yankees had an early opportunity to cut into Boston’s 2-0 lead, with runners on first and third and one out in the first inning.

Mark Teixeira weakly grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Yankees were able to get on the board in the bottom of the second when Eduardo Nunez ripped the ball towards Jose Iglesias, who couldn’t field it cleanly, and Curtis Granderson scored to make it 2-1, Boston.

In the bottom of the third, with runners on first and third again, Teixeira again bounced into another double play to end another possible scoring inning.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, with runners on second and third and two out, Ichiro Suzuki hit a hard liner to center field to end the inning.

In the top of the ninth, Red Sox first baseman, James Loney, gave Boston an insurance run by hitting a solo home run off Yankees closer Rafael Soriano to make it 3-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees’ luck with runners on base changed.

Granderson started off the inning by singling off Boston closer Andrew Bailey, which lead to Ibanez coming up in a pinch-hit situation for Eduardo Nunez.

Ibanez cranks out a two-run, game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 3-3.

Bailey loaded the bases with only one out, and Teixeira had a chance to redeem himself for the awful night at the plate.

Unfortunately, Teixeira’s poor performance at the plate continued as he hit a weak fly ball to Jacoby Ellsbury in center field and it wasn’t deep enough to score the winning run at third. Robinson Cano hit a grounder to second base to end the inning and the scoring threat.

The bullpens continued to battle as Mark Melancon and Vicente Padilla pitched well for Boston while Derek Lowe gave the Yankees two solid innings.

In the bottom of the twelve inning with two outs, Francisco Cervelli was able to draw a walk on lefty Andrew Miller.

Granderson also walked to set up first and second with two outs, which again lead to Ibanez coming up in a big spot.

Ibanez then got a base hit past the shortstop and third baseman, allowing Cervelli to come around to score and win the game for the Yankees 4-3.

Lowe got the win for the Yankees (9-11) while Miller took the loss for Boston.

Because the Orioles defeated the Rays 1-0 on Tuesday night, the Yankees didn’t clinch the A.L. East, but all they have to do is win on Wednesday night and they will lock up the division.

In the 2012 regular season finale, it will be the battle of Japanese pitchers as Hiroki Kuroda looks to lock up the division for the Yankees, while Boston will counter with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

All year long, we’ve talked about the Yankees’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and it’s a reason why the Yankees had to play Boston until the 12th inning.

But Ibanez was able to step in and give the Yankees clutch hits when they needed it most, and hopefully it’s a trend that he can continue in October.

Given how the final month of the season has played out, it’s only fitting that the Yankees have to attempt to win the division on the final day of the season.

Many Yankee fans will be looking for the Bombers to wrap up the division on Wednesday night. I think they will get it done because they don’t want to end up tied with Baltimore and have to go to Camden Yards for a one-game playoff.

Despite a rough night hitting in key situations, the Yankees can feel good knowing they control their own destiny for the postseason.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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Raul Ibanez Will Prove to Be More Valuable This Season Than Jesus Montero

Raul Ibanez has been a pleasant surprise so far for the New York Yankees.

Many fans thought Ibanez would be an automatic out entering the regular season, as his spring training left much to be desired.

Those fans couldn’t have been more wrong.

After Tuesday night’s two home run performance against the Rays, Ibanez now has five home runs and 16 RBI on the season.

He has also put together a respectable line of .267/.317/.520.

When he was signed, the Yankees intended on using him as the primary designated hitter. He would occasionally play the outfield, they said.

Instead, Ibanez has seen significant time in the outfield with Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner both nursing injuries, and he hasn’t played too poorly out there.

If the Yankees still had Jesus Montero, they would not be able to see the same versatility or production that Ibanez has offered.

Montero has provided similar offensive production to Ibanez; his line sits at .286/.294/.448. He has hit four home runs and has also driven in 16 runs.

The real difference, though, is in the field.

Ibanez has played 15 games in the outfield, whereas Montero has played just 11.

Montero is still considered a below-average catcher, so the Mariners have used him as their primary DH to keep his bat in the lineup.

With the Yankees, Montero rarely would have caught because of Russell Martin.

This would have created quite the dilemma for the Yankees.

Should we sit Montero and risk losing his bat to give half-days off to Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez?

Should we keep Montero in the lineup and lose the bats of Jeter and Rodriguez?

With Ibanez’s versatility, the Yankees are given many more options and much less dilemmas. By season’s end, Ibanez will prove to be one of the team’s best offseason pickups. 

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Top 10 Most Obvious "Dippers" in Major League Baseball

When baseball isn’t busy being mired in steroids scandals, it’s a hyper-entertaining sport of men who face off against one another with leather gloves, tight pants, and more superstition than the average human can handle.

That, of course, is the opinion of your average baseball-obsessed super fan (ahem).  To many, baseball is a boring game that requires some sort of stimulant to enjoy.  For some players, it’s no different. Baseball requires a ton of stop-and-go performance, which, despite naysayers, is the No. 1 reason for major injuries.

It’s probably also the No. 1 reason that players make the choice to chew tobacco during games.  With all that standing (and for many, sitting) around, players often choose to let their minds wander with some smokeless tobacco resting in their lower lip or inside their cheek.  

In a sense, you can’t blame them: there are really only three guys playing at a time in baseball, which is truly unlike any other sport.  On the other hand, it’s a little unsettling when you see Tim Lincecum throw in a huge dip after tossing eight shutout innings (not to mention the health risks involved).   

On August 18 of this year’s MLB season, the Colorado Rockies suspended farmhand Mike Jacobs for 50 games when he tested positive for HGH.  Aside from the obvious implication, this story provided us with a perfectly nasty photo (pictured above).

Things can get out of hand (See here: Nyjer Morgan throws his chew at St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter) at times.  With Morgan’s Brewers currently trying to battle back from a 3-2 deficit in the NLCS, we take a look at MLB’s current top 10 most obvious tobacco chewers. 

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2011 Philadelphia Phillies: Why the Phillies Must Trade Raul Ibanez Today

As Philadelphia sports fans, we often tend to shower our affection upon our local athletes in a way that fans from other cities see as, for lack of a crueler word, idiosyncratic.  We tend to be hard on our superstars (lookin’ at you, Donovan McNabb) and love our less-than-valuable fan-favorites (smooches, Aaron Rowand).

One must certainly hope that Phillies’ fans, and more importantly the Phillies’ front office, are not weathering the storm with Raul Ibanez out of some sort of idiosyncratic love for a hard-nosed and likable local favorite.

Because as much as we love Raaauuuuulllll, the Philadelphia Phillies absolutely must trade him to an American League team for whatever is being offered as soon as possible.

And I mean today.

Make no mistake about it: I am a Raul Ibanez fan.  My admiration for Ibanez goes back roughly ten years, to when he suddenly emerged, at the age of 30, as a run-producer and power threat with the Kansas City Royals after a career spent in the Seattle Mariners farm system getting the occasional call-up.

And what Ibanez has done since that season has been amazing.

Ibanez turned 30 in the middle of the 2002 season.  Prior to that season, he had 27 career home runs and 112 career RBI in parts of six seasons.  Then, in 2002 he very nearly matched that production in one season, hitting 24 home runs and driving in 103.  And from 2002 to the present, he has hit 213 home runs and driven in 887 RBI.

It has been an incredible second half of a career.  In fact, Ibanez may end up going down as one of the all time great players who played their first full major league season after turning 30.

But let us not get sentimental: Raul Ibanez is very much hindering this Philadelphia Phillies team.

We are not talking about hitting.  If we were, then the numbers would prove us to be liars.  Oh, sure, his current .246 average, .296 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage are not pretty.  

But in the month of May, Ibanez was practically the Phillies’ leading hitter, hitting seven home runs with 19 RBI while batting .315 with a .941 OPS (compare that to Mr. Ryan Howard).  After a rough start to the season, Ibanez is once again being productive with the bat, so no fears there.

What we are talking about is defense.  As in, it’s the defense, stupid.  As in, pitching and defense win championships.

If a team can live with, and even succeed with, a guy like Ibanez at the plate, it would take a freaking miracle to succeed with such a poor defensive left-fielder.

Where to begin?

How about . . . range factor.

As soon as the baseball world decided to stop relying upon fielding percentage as to the teller of the tale for defense, the baseball world (or should we just say Bill James) developed “range factor,” which is not the latest and best stat, but is a nice starting point.

The league average range factor for left fielders in baseball is 2.16.  That number does not mean anything in a bubble, but know this: Ibanez’s range factor is 1.54, which is significantly lower than 2.16.

So low, in fact, that only a handful of major league outfielders, as in all of baseball, have a worse range factor.

Fangraphs.com, an excellent repository of baseball statistics, has a statistic it tracks called “Range Runs,” which quantifies a player’s range into a runs-style analysis.

Not only is Raul Ibanez last amongst all major league left fielders in Range Runs, but he is last amongst . . . sitting down? . . . . all major league players in Range Runs.

No, really.  Out of 166 major league baseball players who qualify, Ibanez is dead last.

I would love to tell you that this is an anamoly, but it is not.  Fangraphs.com also has a statistic called Ultimate Zone Rating, or UZR, and Ibanez is dead last in that category as well.

Fangraphs.com’s UZR per 150 games?  Dead last.  In all of baseball.

There is also a defensive statistic called Defensive Runs Saved, which both Fangraphs.com tracks using the plus/minus analysis of John Dewan’s company Baseball Info Solutions.  

Ibanez is not dead last in this category, but he is fourth worst amongst all major league outfielders, behind Lance Berkman, Nate McLouth, and Michael Brantley   

From here, the numbers just kind of snowball.

Ibanez is tied for the fifth worst outfielder in what BaseballReference.com calls Total Zone Fielding Runs.

He is tied for the fewest plays made outside of zone with Jayson Heyward, who has played 100 fewer innings than Ibanez.

He is last amongst all major league outfielders in what Fangraphs.com calls Outfield Arm Runs, which is a measure of how many runs an outfielder saves with their arm.

Look, a team can live with a merely above-average fielder, a mediocre fielder, or even a bad fielder.

What a team cannot live with is the worst fielder, by position, in baseball.  And that is what the Phillies currently have in Raul Ibanez.

Right about now, you may be asking yourself the following: Yeah, but how do we know his defense is killing us?


Philadelphia Phillies fans can all agree on one thing this season, I would hope: the Phils have an awesome pitching staff.  Terrific.  Outstanding.  Once in a lifetime.

And that fact has been born out in a number of ways:

  • The Phillies have the third best ERA in all of baseball.
  • The Phillies have the second best runs allowed per game in all of baseball.
  • The Phillies lead the majors in strikeouts.
  • The Phillies lead the majors in strikeout-to-walk ratio by a considerable margin: 3.10 vs. a second-place 2.86.
  • The Phillies have allowed the fifth fewest home runs in all of baseball, and the four teams ahead of the Phillies all play in extreme pitchers parks.

And here’s another one for you: the Phillies rank 13th baseball in hits allowed per nine innings.

. . . . 

Did you hear the needle come scratching off of the record?

Ask yourself the following question: what is it that makes home runs, walks and strikeouts different from hits.  Many of you already know the answer: home runs, walks and strikeouts all reflect purely upon the skill of the pitcher, while hits depend on the defense behind the pitcher.

So what does it say to Phillies’ fans that the Phillies are one of the elite teams in baseball in so many statistics, but are mediocre when it comes to hits allowed?

It says the defense is not getting the job done.

Indeed, while the Phillies are third in baseball in ERA, when you look at the Phillies’ FIP—which stands for fielding-independent-pitching, as in what you would expect this pitching staff to be doing without regard to the defense behind them—the Phillies are the best in baseball.

Now, ask yourself this question: which Philadelphia Phillies pitchers have performed below expectations this season?

Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt each have ERA’s in the twos, while Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have ERA’s in the threes, with Lee approaching 4.00.

Now, other than not being named Roy, what do Hamels and Lee have in common that Halladay and Oswalt do not?

That’s right, they are both left-handers.  Which means, they both have the platoon disadvantage against right-handed hitters.  Which means, they both depend upon the defense of the left-fielder more than their right-handed counterparts.

Want to see something crazy?  Here is the ERA for each of the Phillies’ Big Four, next to their individual FIP, i.e. ERA that does not depend on defense:

Lee: 3.94/2.78 (+1.16)

Hamels: 3.01/2.41 (+0.60)

Halladay: 2.56/2.12 (+0.44)

Oswalt: 2.70/3.41 (-0.69)

By looking at the difference between the ERA and the FIP for each of these players, we can see how their defensive support is helping them or hurting them, and as can see that Lee would be expected to be allowing over a run less per game than he actually he is.  And, in fact, of 137 pitchers with over 40 innings pitched in 2011, Lee ranks 14th in the size of the gap between his ERA and his FIP.

Because of the defense behind him.

The thing of it is, when you have a guy who is killing you like Ibanez is—as in, not merely a bad fielder, but a horrific fielder—you do not need a great or even good fielder to improve your defense and help your pitching staff.   From where Ibanez is sitting, even a mediocre fielder would be a massive improvement over what he is giving the team right now.

But do not take my word for it.  The proof is in the incredibly small sample size of pudding: the Phillies are 4-1 when Ibanez is not in left field, and they have allowed 11 total runs in those five games.  

In the one game they lost, they only gave up one run in a 2-1 loss.  And, the starters only allowed six total runs in those combined five starts.  (Curiously, Cliff Lee has not started a single game without Ibanez as his left fielder.)

A lot has been made of the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2011 pitching staff, and where it ranks amongst the all time great rotations.  When having the discussion about the all time great pitching rotations, three teams have consistently been included in this debate: the Chicago Cubs of 1906-1908, the Baltimore Orioles of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and the Atlanta Braves of the 1990’s.

What has rarely been mentioned is that those teams also had something else in common: they all had tremendous defenses.  

The Braves had numerous Gold Glovers in the hey-day of Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz.

The Baltimore Orioles had one of the great defenses of all time, with Paul Blair, Brooks Robinson and Mark Belanger leading the way.

The Cubs had freaking Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance, the standard by which double-play combinations are measured.

And the Phillies have entrusted their once-in-a-lifetime pitching staff to a defense that features one of the worst defensive players in baseball.

This just cannot stand.

All of which is to say: Nothing against you, Raul.  We love you to death.  But this just is not going to work out, and we’ve got too much riding on this team, and this pitching staff, to give it away out of loyalty to a great but aging guy who simply is not getting it done.

The Philadelphia Phillies simply must trade Raul Ibanez, and they simply must do it today.

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