Free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez has reached a preliminary agreement with the Phils on a three-year, $30 million deal pending a physical, according to ESPN.com and FOX Sports.
Ibanez, 36, hit .293/.358/.479 with 23 homers and 110 RBIs last season for the Mariners. Considered a good clutch hitter, hitting .305/.380/.493 lifetime with RISP, the signing signals the end of the Pat Burrell era in Philadelphia. Ibanez, who bats from the left side and is a 734 lifetime OPS hitter against lefties, .849 against righties, has stolen only four bases in three seasons and like Burrell is considered one of the worst defensive leftfielders in baseball. The Phillies will forfeit a draft pick to Seattle for the Type-A free agent and will need to solve the lefty logjam at corner outfield before the season.
Beerleaguer: I'm in total agreement with the majority of posters that said this deal makes very little logical sense. Three years is extremely bothersome, the cost is prohibitive, and while he's a good player who should produce, the Phils are locked into using a left-field caddy for the next three seasons.
To borrow what's been written on FanGraphs.com, "it makes no sense to sign someone with similar skills that is less productive, older, and almost as, if not equally, costly." Perhaps more costly, when you consider the lost draft picks, tallying three when you add together the forfeitted pick to Seattle and the two lost picks that would come from offering Burrell arbitration a week ago.
The fact that the Phils get together with Ibanez, a very good player but no superstar, and decide to set the bar this way in a saturated market for corner outfield isn't the way I'd hoped Amaro would play this. He didn't maximize his resources. There was little to seperate Ibanez, who isn't an exact fit for their needs being another lefty bat and will push 40 by the end of this contract, from Burrel or many of the other options, including lesser players who could have served a platoon role.
I think Amaro and his men are basing this decision on clutch hitting and a high batting average - areas of typical fluctuation - while ignoring many of the negative aspects of Ibanez's game, areas like defense that more and more clubs deem crucial. Above all, I can't get past the age and cost, adding years - five over Burrell - to a team that's starting to have a few too many. Thumbs down.