Jayson Stark of ESPN is reporting that the Phillies have signed OF Raul Ibanez to a deal believed to be worth 3-years over $30 million. The 36-year-old will have to first pass a physical.
Ibanez will replace Pat Burrell as the Phils' everyday leftfielder. Pat will surely be missed here, but it was made clear pretty early that his return would be very unlikely. At least he got a hero's sendoff.
Stark on Ibanez:
Ibanez, who turns 37 next June, has spent the past five seasons with
the Mariners, where he was a long-time favorite of outgoing Phillies GM
Pat Gillick. He hit .293 this season, with 23 homers, 110 RBIs, a .358
on-base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage. He is one of just
five outfielders who have driven in at least 100 runs in each of the
last three seasons.
The Phillies had been interested in the Cubs' Mark DeRosa, who could have filled in for Chase Utley while the All-Star recovered from hip surgery, then move to LF. But when the Cubs backed out of the Peavy deal, Ruben Amaro Jr. quickly shifted gears to Ibanez. It had been reported last week that Philadelphia was Ibanez's top choice.
Already a lefty-heavy lineup, adding another southpaw doesn't exactly sound like a great idea, despite Ibanez's overall numbers. But he did hit lefties well last season, better, in fact, than he hit righties. His average against lefties was .305, and his OBP was .371, and he slugged .497. Versus righties, those numbers were .288, .352, and .470, respectively.
However, those splits might be misleading. Over the last three years, here are his numbers against lefties: .269 avg, .325 OBP, and .410 slugging; against righties over that span: .300, .366, .526, respectively.
Did the old dog learn some new tricks, or should we expect a regression against lefties?
In any case, the Phillies just ensured that their leftfielder will hit for a very solid average and provide excellent run production.