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  1. nice turnaround for raul. i, for one, agreed w/ baer and incorrectly assumed that raul was cooked. it’s nice to be surprised. he’s really been a force in the phils lineup, especially w/ utley, howard, and victorino out.

    w/out running the numbers, i’m guessing he’s just about produced at the level of his contract, if he’s not exceeding it.

    Comment by Conshy Matt — August 9, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  2. Hopefully the trend continues and now that you’ve posted a big piece on Ibanez’s resurgence, he’ll start tanking again.

    Comment by Temo — August 9, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  3. Ibanez had a low BAbip all year and a BAbip on LD around .600 (well over 100 points below career norms) all year, and his LD% has been right around 18-19% overall for most of the season. Given this, and his 2007 season, and the way HR/FB can change dramatically in a short period of time, patience was the best policy with Ibanez.

    Abandoning on a veteran bat is a sports radio error.

    Comment by Sophist — August 9, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  4. The law of averages obviously comes into play, however it would also be telling to analyze whether or not any of the players mentioned have had extended down turns from which they have recovered previously, ie are they ‘streaky’ players, or have they been consistent and this is the first decline. Any aberration to their typical ‘style’ of accumulating numbers is far more telling than the numbers themselves.

    Comment by rewFer — August 9, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  5. Ibanez being well Ibanez, long extended slumps mixed with ridiculous hot streaks over the course of a season.

    Comment by BN — August 9, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  6. I think the main reason for the Phillies not releasing Raul in June was the 15 million left on his contract. If Raul starts out 2011 the same way he started 2010, the decision might be easier.

    Comment by Bay Slugga — August 9, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

  7. Probably anecdotal, but in an interview earlier in the season (VERY early, before the struggles had REALLY set in), Ibanez was asked how his off-season surgery had affected him. He laid out what apparently has been his routine for the last 5+yrs, an 8-week preparatory program he does prior to ST. The recovery from surgery completely negated that, as he was told to do next to nothing almost right up to ST.

    Who knows if it was unpreparedness due to the injury, age, or just Ibanez being his streaky self…but he’s squaring up balls he had no chance against earlier in the season. He literally couldn’t catch a high-80’s fastball, whereas now he’s getting around on mid-90’s stuff.

    Comment by Mike — August 9, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  8. Yeah, I caught that article in the Inquirer in my travels. It was tough to work in, but Ibanez did say that he KNEW that thinking too much about his mechanics was why he hit so poorly in ST.

    Comment by Joe Pawlikowski — August 9, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  9. “Abandoning on a veteran bat (sic) is a sports radio error.”

    Sometimes. And at other times the heady, and correct, move.

    Comment by Jason B — August 9, 2010 @ 2:34 pm

  10. I could be wrong, but watching Phillies games recently it seems like he changed timing. Before he would usually just stay mostly still with slight bat movement, but now hes bouncing all over the place, allowing him to be already in motion instead of taking time to start his swing.

    Comment by Larry — August 9, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  11. He had no prep last winter…and it took him some time to get into game form. He’s always been super streaky so its no surprise that he’s having a great 2nd half.

    Comment by NEPP — August 9, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  12. I doubt they’d cut him next year if he struggles the first couple months. First, they have this year as evidence that it could just be another slump. Second, he’s a sunk cost at that point so they might as well use him as at least a 4th OF/PH in the mold of Matt Stairs in 2008/2009 or Mike Sweeney now.

    There’s nothing to gain from dumping him as its not as if they’ll have a bunch of other OFs knocking at the door next year and they’ll have a very tight payroll as it is.

    Based on his splits, he’d still be a very good option as a platoon LF at worst and I could see them going with a Ibanez/Francisco platoon in LF next year…or maybe using Francisco as a loose platoon in LF and subbing out Dom Brown in RF occasionally too.

    Comment by NEPP — August 9, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  13. Sure, but context, peripherals, and team medical/scouting reports trump the fan’s observation that “his bat is slow” and his BA/OBP/SLG. That’s all I was saying. Just trying to summarize one fan’s frustration with the fanbase re Ibanez with a pithy line.

    Comment by Sophist — August 9, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  14. This is exactly why articles proclaiming someone’s “fall off a cliff” need to be few and far between. I was trying to find an article that was written here back in June, it was on Adam Dunn and his “lost” power. Dunn had 10HR’s on June 6 and somebody wrote an article saying it was time to sell Adam Dunn cuz his power had disappeared and the peripheral’s showed no signs of a rebound…. uhhhh yeah. I remember asking at the time, who’s to say that Dunn doesn’t hit 15 bombs between now and the All Star break? Well, I think he hit 13, and needless to say Dunn has alot of home runs left in that giant Donkey frame!!

    Comment by DonCoburleone — August 9, 2010 @ 3:42 pm

  15. The primary takehome lesson is that Corey Seidman is really stupid.

    Comment by really — August 9, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  16. Ibanez was also forced into a pseudo-platoon with Ben Francisco right about when his numbers began to pick back up. That’s since been abandoned with Francisco platooning with Dom Brown after Vic went down, and his numbers have stayed up despite facing LHP. So I don’t know how/if that helped him out, but the timing is pretty fortuitous and he does still have pretty awful numbers against lefties.

    Comment by Zach — August 9, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  17. Probably the biggest bargain in baseball ever since Dave Cameron declared that ‘old-player skills’ will lead to a certain decline. I think that was about 7 years ago. And here I thought the certainty of his demise guaranteed by Cameron as part of pushing some other bit of over-reaching knowledge wasn’t to be questioned. Quite a burden to be a slugging left fielder when the Sabes come around, I don’t think that one of them escape predictions of doom, and declarations of how easy their production levels are to duplicate.

    Comment by CaR — August 9, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  18. Ibanez a bargain? Unless the value of a win is over 10 million then no.

    Comment by Brett — August 9, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  19. If you read the rest of the comment (i.e. judging him on the last seven years), he has indeed been a slight bargain – he’s been paid about $42.1M and been “worth” about $66.5M. Of course that’s nowhere near the “biggest” bargain, even among post-arbitration players.

    Comment by Carligula — August 9, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

  20. Sad but true. Its ok to have a homer tilt, but its ridiculous to be a writer and have absolutely no objectivity.

    Comment by Evan — August 10, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  21. There’s a bunch of players that have put up that production, for that money, over 7 years? Who would they be? $25M savings post arby on production? I doubt that the list is long. No matter, point stands, most Mariner previews written by Dave over at least a 5 year period predicted a cliff-fall first because he wasn’t really a good hitter, then he was a poor hitter for his position, then we needed to learn about old-player skills, and finally, his defense HAD to cost at least 40 runs a year. I have an idea that part of the recent push to accept the phony run and win values associated with UZR was in part to try to save some face about screwing the pooch for so long.

    Comment by CaR — August 10, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  22. If either of you bothered to read my article, I’m about 99.7% sure that you would agree with the logic used and judgments made.

    Or you can just spread insults without actually knowing what your talking about. Enjoy doing so.

    Just because an extremely improbable outcome in which nobody EXCEPT the true Phillies homers foresaw took place doesn’t make the evidence and logic used at the time “wrong.”

    The “Release Raul” article wasn’t agreed with in many, many circles for no reason.

    But, as I’ve stated numerous times on Twitter, I’ve never been glad to be more wrong.

    Comment by Corey Seidman — August 10, 2010 @ 2:36 am

  23. And I’m not quite sure what the “objectivity” remark is even in reference to. I was the “Phillies homer” LOOKING at the evidence, analyzing it, seeing that Ibanez had been on a year-long steady decline in which he failed to catch up to all fastballs and inside pitches, continued his poor defense, and was (at the time) roadblocking Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown.

    I love and feed off constructive criticism, but I have an extremely tough time interacting with uninformed people who spew negative rhetoric for the sake of doing so.

    Comment by Corey Seidman — August 10, 2010 @ 2:38 am

  24. Corey Seidman, you’re looking mighty defensive here. Tone it down a notch.

    Comment by JM — August 10, 2010 @ 4:58 am

  25. Objectivity? Did you even read the post or Cory’s for that matter? You wouldn’t know objectivity if it threw a brick in your face.

    Anyways, It’s nice to see Raul finally come through after some early season struggles. I’d just like to mention I stopped looking at Raul Ibanez’s stats in an attempt to justify his contract, I simply look at it as how I would expect a 38 year old to play pro baseball. If you wanted to base all of this on Raul’s career stats you can see that through almost every season he has played there are normally two months in a year where he is completely lost.

    2006 May/July
    2007 April/July
    2008 May/September
    2009 June(injured)/August
    2010 April/June

    I’m just hoping this trend continues and the worst is behind us.

    Comment by Schwam — August 10, 2010 @ 5:39 am

  26. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
    Placido Polanco, $83.1 value for $27.0 salary = $56.1M savings (over only 6 years since FA!)
    Randy Winn, $74.2 value for $37.2 salary = $37.0M savings
    Scott Rolen, $107.7 value for $74.0 salary = $33.7M savings
    Mike Cameron, $79.2 value for $48.3 salary = $30.9M savings

    I don’t know if this means your point still stands, because it’s so wrapped in conspiracy theories that I can’t find it, but mine certainly does.

    Comment by Carligula — August 10, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  27. “Just because an extremely improbable outcome in which nobody EXCEPT the true Phillies homers foresaw took place doesn’t make the evidence and logic used at the time “wrong.””

    Corey, your point re Ibanez was well-argued and didn’t strike me as homerism at all. That said, this is an overstatement. But back in June Bill Baer made a perfectly reasonable counterargument (

    Over the following weeks the statistical underpinnings of Baer’s argument went unchanged (Ibanez even now has a career low BAbip on LD, though his overall BAbip is reverting to career norms; and HR/FB can change quickly with a short hot streak; Raul’s 2007 stood as a clear example of the kind of streakiness to which he’s capable).

    It wasn’t extremely improbable. It’s hard to say whether it was even more probable than not. But there was a statistical argument to be made that Ibanez would turn it around and it didn’t take a homer to notice it or make that argument.

    Comment by Sophist — August 10, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  28. interesting comment. i remember two years ago, in the forum section of the article from this site announcing the deal, a common refrain from Ms fans was that all of raul’s production comes in two or three months and you never know which months they’ll be.

    i wonder how really dissimilar he is in that regard to other ball players.

    Comment by drk12 — August 10, 2010 @ 10:52 am

  29. In this case though, it didn’t seem to make any sense to release him. His expected outcomes were still as good or better than your standard replacement players. In the worst case, you could use him extremely effectively as a pinch hitter or 4rth OF.

    The whole line of discourse on releasing him was a dumb one. For some reason, people seem to think that dropping an overpaid player somehow “gets the money back.” This isn’t football, contracts are guaranteed. While a 4rth OF being paid 11 million is a poor value, it’s still better to have that then to drop him for nothing (unless he’s actually likely to provide negative value). The Seidman article seemed to forget that we could drop say… anybody except Dobbs. Ross Gload vs Ibanez? I’d definitely cut Gload before Ibanez, and you should too. Gload isn’t particularly good offensively OR defensively.

    Regardless of his shortcomings, Ibanez was a very productive player on the balance of last season. And also productive the season before and the season before that. Year to year, there was no obvious decline. Looking at his wOBA graph- his wOBA dip from late 2009-early 2010 is very similar to the dip he had in mid-2008. I may be the minority, but I have been of the opinion since the Phillies signed Ibanez that he would probably justify at least 80% of his contract. The fact that he had a bad start to the season (0.295, 0.340, 0.298 wOBA) hardly seemed like a sufficient indicator that he would be worth cutting. Reducing playing time possibly, but definitely not cutting.

    To me, the whole line of thought seemed like a big overreaction and now I get to feel all justified and warm inside. Horray.

    Comment by B N — August 10, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

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