Depressed Mets Fan

Building character since 1962

Phillies sign Raul Ibañez, Mets don’t really care

Posted by jmkraft on December 12, 2008

Sure, the Mets had been linked to Raul Ibañez for some time, and sure, it would have been an nice story for the native New Yorker to come home and open up Citi Field in left field. 

But while the Mets are hardly starved for cash, Ibañez would have been an expensive solution to a problem that can be solved very easily. In fact, it might not even be a problem at all. While many are wary of leaving left field to a combination of Fernando Tatis/Daniel Murphy/Nick Evans, keep in mind that the Mets were getting excellent production out of this position last year.

Even if Omar Minaya desires an upgrade at the position, there are plenty of other more than adequate outfielders on the free agent market. I’m a big fan of signing Juan Rivera, who could be this year’s best free agent bargain. Rivera has been hidden on the Angels bench for much of the past few seasons, and he provides the right-handed power that the Mets have been looking for. In 2006, with the Angels, he hit .310 with 23 HR and 85 RBIs in 124 games. 

Then, there is Ibañez’s fielding. I didn’t realize what a bad fielder he really is, but Matthew Artus of Always Amazin’ does a great job of summing it up:

Yes, Ibanez can hit. He put up a .293/.358/.479 in 2008 with 23 HRs and a BB/K ratio of 0.58 in 707 PAs. And both Bill James (.278/.343/.448 with 22 HRs and a 0.57 BB/K ratio) and Marcel (.277/.342/.461 with 21 HRs and a 0.51 BB/K ratio in 617 PAs) project numbers in that neighborhood for Ibanez’s 2009 season. So he’s consistent. Then why not sign him? 

Because he’s dead weight in left field. That’s a big statement, considering most teams hide their worst defender in left field as its the least busy position on the field. But Ibanez is at the bottom.

Of players with over 500 PAs this season, Ibanez put up a -17.1, ranking last among left fielders in average BIS and STATS rating (as provided by Justin’s Stats). For perspective, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun led left fielders with 500 ABs, posting a 9.1 rating while Fernando Tatis (-3.1 in 306 PAs) and Daniel Murphy (-1.3 in 151 PAs) kept their defense in more respectable areas than Ibanez.

So the only reason to be upset about the Phillies signing Ibañez is the fact that he’s on the Phillies, which means that he will take Pat Burrell‘s place as Met Killer.

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