Ibanez vs. Burrell

pat burrell.jpgPat Gillick
addressed Pat Burrell and Raul Ibanez yesterday, and he had some interesting things to say.

He said the Phillies tried during the season to bring back Burrell, but Burrell was looking for too much (i.e. money and years, although he said the years concerned the Phillies the most). So the Phillies stepped back, let Burrell walk and signed Ibanez to a three-year, $31.5 million contract.

Burrell turned into a fan favorite late in his Phillies career, but I think Ibanez is an upgrade. Remember that Burrell hit just .215 after the all-star break and just .230 after May 4. He had been 0 for 13 in the World Series before his leadoff double in the seventh inning in Game 5 of the World Series. He was prone to long slumps. He couldn’t run. Charlie Manuel regularly replaced him in left field in the late innings. Now, I’m not saying Burrell isn’t a productive hitter. He averaged 31 homers and 99 RBIs the last four years. That’s productive. That’s very productive. But if it meant signing Burrell to a four-year, $48 million contract mid-season or signing Ibanez to a three-year, $31.5 million in the off-season, I’d take Ibanez.

Of course, look around. Bobby Abreu just signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Angels. Adam Dunn just signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Nationals.

Didn’t the Phillies overpay for Ibanez?

Hard to say. Gillick said the Cubs were hot after Ibanez, too. I also heard the Angels, Braves and Mets pursued him. Why? Because it seems those teams also considered him the best lefthanded-hitting outfielder on the market. So I don’t think the Phillies could have gotten Ibanez for two years, $20 million like Dunn because I think somebody else would have gotten Ibanez before the price would have dropped on him.

“The Cubs were in it pretty thick,” Gillick said. “It’s funny. When I was over there (in Seattle), Lou (Piniella) didn’t play (Ibanez) a lot. He became a free agent and went to Kansas City. He did well in Kansas City. Even though he didn’t play for us, they had a good relationship. So I thought Lou was in there plugging pretty good with the Cubs on this deal. I don’t think he would have been (available). The Cubs were searching for lefthanded hitting. My opinion would be that I would prefer Ibanez over Milton Bradley. I’d prefer this guy over Milton Bradley just from an injury standpoint. Milton Bradley to me is an American League player who’s a DH, part-time outfielder. He’s not a day in and day out player in the National League.”

Ibanez’s age (he’s 36) doesn’t concern him?

“No, he’s in great shape,” Gillick said. “In my mind he is (an upgrade over Burrell).”


Ryan Howard meets with reporters after his workout today. J.C. Romero meets with reporters tomorrow.


Look forward to hearing what Ryan and J.C. have to say. I think the Phils made some excellent off-season moves. Ibanez from all appearances appears to be a nice addition to the team (much as I liked Pat-the-bat).

Gillick is so full of it sometimes…signing a guy for that much money at 36 years old for THREE years is utterly insane. It is the same kind of arguement he made for NOT signing Rowand last year and he is much younger than Ibanez, plus an amazing leader. I like Ibanez, but not for 3 years and he IS way overpaid. I agree Pat was always prone to big slumps, but his defense did markedly improve this past year and there was no reason to pull him in that regard; it just became a ritual to do so. Taguchi screwed up a play evertime he went in for Burrrell! But yes, Ibanez is still an upgrade. I just don’t think the money is appropriate.


Burrell put up good AVERAGES during his tenure here (HR, RBI, BB) but his main issue is that he was wildly inconsistent. You never knew from month to month who you were going to get. People say his defense isn’t that bad, but his range is terrible. That why he doesn’t make many errors, he doesn’t even get TO the ball. I’ve seen some amazing catches down the foul line, but remember that at home, left-field is incredibly short.

As for Ibanez, I don’t know much about him. He hit well against lefties last year, but that’s not the norm for him. I do hear that he as a great work ethic. Utley-esque if you will. At least Cholly won’t pull him late in the game for Eric Bruntlett.

I have no idea where this sentiment comes from that Ibanez is not as streaky as Burrell, but it’s downright incorrect.

2008, Raul Ibanez, OPS by month:

March/April: .827
May: .673
June: .827
July: .916
August: 1.154
Sept/Oct: .593

2008, Pat Burrell, OPS by month:

March/April: 1.156
May: .856
June: .956
July: .976
August: .618
Sept/Oct: .719

In 2008, by month, Ibanez’s OPS fluctuated, plus or minus at least 150 OPS points, four times. For Burrell, it happened twice.

In fact, Ibanez is the type of player more prone to streaks than Burrell — a player whose OBP is largely based off of a solid batting average, rather than a consistent walk rate.

The fact of the matter is that the Phillies overpaid for a player who wasn’t as good as what they had (Burrell). Ibanez is a very poor outfielder, and a left-handed hitter who got extremely lucky against left-handed pitching last year. He played well above his career averages. This kind of stuff take 30 seconds to look up, but nobody does it anyway.

The Phillies signed Ibanez when cheaper (Dunn, Burrell) or better (Dunn, Burrell, MANNY RAMIREZ) alternatives were available.

Ibanez will produce, but this was a tragically bad signing from a new GM looking to “make his mark.”

jason, I bet you think Abreu would’ve been a good fit too! Hilarious. Good stuff, dude. Your funny, I like you.

Thanks for your convincing argument, sully. I presented evidence to you, and you come in with some snappy one-liner.

I don’t see why it’s so hard for the WIP crowd to look up simple statistics that show Ibanez was a poor signing. He’s an awful outfielder, he’s slow and he’s a doubles hitter that benefited from a doubles park (Safeco). His batting average (which is a worthless statistic anyway, but to appease the WIP crowd) will fall at CBP.

I’m not saying Ibanez is a bad player — he isn’t. But the Phillies overpaid for a guy who isn’t a good fit in the lineup and isn’t better than what they had (AND more expensive).

Oh, and since your type completely ignores statistical analysis, let me show you something you can interpret: Ibanez making a fool of himself in the outfield.

I’m taking a *wait and see* attitude on Ibanez. On paper it looks good, but I’m a little concerned about his age, too.
Gauging from his interview when he was signed, he sure seems like he’ll fit in well with the team.

“Tragically bad” signing?
Wow, lighten up dude. Tragic is a plane falling out of the sky. This is a entertainment.
Ibanez is a solid producer and an upgrade over Burrell. You don’t want your #5 hitter working pitchers. You want him seeing the pitch and hitting it. I’m not worried about the money. Ibanez was the hot product on the market and the Phillies had to pay market value.

can’t wait…

Jason, great argument – you present one stat (OPS) and then go one to say that another (AVG) is worthless…so, what your saying is that you’d prefer to have someone batting 5th in the Phils lineup that hits around .200 with runners on base vs. someone that hits between .300 and .400???

Why don’t you take some of your own advise and dig a bit deeper into the stats…I’m not saying that OPS isn’t a good one to look at, I’m just saying it’s not the only one.

Phan52 nailed it…

I was going to delve a little bit deeper but these fine people already did the groundwork for me.

Take a look.


Anyway, my argument isn’t that the Phillies overpaid for the hot item… it’s that Ibanez shouldn’t have been the hot item in the first place.

fair enough Jason – I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it works out – the one thing that I like (and that isn’t completely explained in the link that you provided) is Ibanez’s RBIs – you may think that he just had more opportunities (especially considering that Burrell hit behind Big Brown), but it actually isn’t the case …they’ve basically had the same # of opportunities with RISP/on base. So, what I’m looking forward to is having a more consistent (in terms of AVG) hitter in that spot in the lineup that can clean up after howards strike outs…

let’s go Fightins!

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