Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I'm as big a fan of Raul Ibanez as anyone.

Wait, let me start over.

I'm as big a fan of Raul Ibanez as anyone, provided he's hitting against a right hander.

Apparently, he is drawing interest from several teams.

Let's recap what we know about the M's roster and Ibanez:

* Ibanez shouldn't be allowed to hit vs. lefties. He hit .256 with a staggeringly low .650 OPS vs. left handed pitchers. This isn't an anomaly - he posted a .663 OPS vs. lefties in 2006.

* He is productive vs. righties with a career .293 batting average. His '06 and '07 campaigns vs. right handers were among the best of his career as well, hitting over .300 and posting an OPS of .899 and .956

* He is to outfield defense as George Bush is to eloquent oratory. My three fingered grandfather with cataracts in both eyes could probably do the same job as Ibanez. He is a massive liability on defense. Some statistic guru could give you the +/- on runs I'm sure.

* He is noted as a "good clubhouse guy" - which in the McLaren regime, means you play every day regardless of your production or how badly it will hurt the team.

* He wants to be Edgar Martinez, which must be really frustrating for him on a daily basis.

* He is owed a modest sum of money, relatively speaking, at 5.5 mil. Even if McLaren came to his senses and only played him at DH vs. right handers, that would be cheap given his production vs. righties.

* There's not a damned thing available in free agency for any self-respecting team looking for a starter. $48 million for Carlos Silva is about as smart as trading Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez. Oh god, I just threw up in my mouth...

* M's have Vidro, Broussard, and Sexson - all of whom I would love to call someone else's problem - under contract for 2008. All are defensive liabilities, all should DH (if they play at all), and two have contracts that are almost impossible to get rid of.

* Yes, the referenced article suggest the Indians offered Laffey for Ibanez, which would be a little silly. Young and cheap, yes - but he hasn't really lit the world on fire in the minors - decent ERA, horrible strikeout ratio, nothing exciting. He has a robust future as a non-roster-invitee for teams hoping to find a back of the rotation innings-eater. Congrats, kid.

However, moving Ibanez could make sense - and if the Tigers are truly involved, I know of some young hurlers on that squad that would look really nice in Mariner blue. I don't want to get into all the ridiculous fantasy-baseball-like speculation about who we could package in trades, but it seems to me that moving Ibanez is a damned good idea if it is part of a deal that can help our horrible, horrible problems in the rotation.

Go M's. Mahalo.

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