It isn’t out of the question that the Phillies could move Raul Ibanez and his $11.5 million salary, provided of course that the Phils take back a similar player, and that Ibanez is open to a deal.
For those who think Ibanez is untradeable, keep in mind that Major League Baseball is loaded with aging players with bloated contracts and the art of swapping albatross for albatross is happening with greater frequency. With Ibanez set to turn 39, and with the lineup likely to become even more lefty dominant with the inclusion of Domonic Brown, here are a couple of right-handed hitting outfielders the Phillies could target this winter, if Ibanez is willing to waive his no-trade clause.
Aaron Rowand, Giants: The ex-Phils center fielder is owed $12 million in each of the next two seasons by the Giants, who benched Rowand midway through this season. This trade actually makes some sense, assuming the Giants agree to cover part of Rowand’s contract. He could prove to be a better fit in the Phillies’ southpaw-heavy lineup, while Ibanez could balance out the Giants’ righty-heavy lineup.
Carlos Lee, Astros: The three-time All-Star has basically seen his numbers decline the last four years. He is due $18.5 million over each of the next two seasons, but his bat would fit significantly better in the Phillies’ lineup than Ibanez. The Phillies love to trade with Astros GM Ed Wade, who would probably jump at the chance to unload Lee, even if it means bringing in a player who is less talented and four years older.
Milton Bradley, Mariners: You’re probably cringing at the mere thought of bringing in Bradley, who has worn out his welcome everywhere he’s ever been. Bradley is owed $12 million next season, hit only .205 in 73 games last year and left the team to handle some personal issues. The money is basically a wash with him and Ibanez, plus the M’s would almost certainly kick in $6-to-$8 million to send Bradley out of town. Depending on how desperate the Phillies are to add a right-handed bat (Bradley is a switch-hitter but has always hit better righty), this could be a potential option, though certainly not an exciting one. Ibanez spent 10 productive years in Seattle and hit .293/.358/.479 in his 2008 swan song, so the prospect of bringing him back for one season coule be appealing.
Other considerations: Several other outfielders fit the mold of high salary-for-little production: Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Alfonso Soriano among them. However, their contracts are so outrageous that the Phillies would likely balk at any deal. There are also a couple of pitchers who would be dumped in an instant for Ibanez – Barry Zito, A.J. Burnett and possibly Carlos Zambrano – but again, it appears unlikely the Phils would make those trades.
- Written for Beerleaguer by Drew Silverman
Transactions: Catcher Paul Hoover was outrighted to Lehigh Valley, which takes him off the 40-man roster. The 15 players on the 40-man roster who were not on the postseason active roster were all reactivated over the last few days. The 40-man roster is now at 39 plus Jamie Moyer, who is still listed on the 60-day disabled list.