Ibanez vs. Burrell
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.