The Philadelphia Phillies left-fielder Raul Ibanez may be on the trading block.
At the finish of the general managers meetings, Ruben Amaro Jr. has not made any significant moves. There are no good signs for Philadelphia fans related to Jayson Werth and the team has yet to add a proven left-handed reliever.
The Philadelphia general manager was talking up Ibanez and compared his numbers to those of Werth's.
Is Ruben trying to downplay the potential loss of Werth? Or is he attempting to make Raul look more appealing to other MLB teams?
"He was still a pretty productive player and when you look at his numbers, they’re not all that different from Jayson’s last year. What did he have, 83 RBI? Jayson had 85. He didn’t have as many opportunities as Jayson did to drive in runs. Clearly Jayson had more runs scored and his on-base percentage and stuff were better, but [Ibanez] had 37 doubles and five triples. The difference in their production was not all that great.”
These comments may be directed to Werth's agent, Scott Boras. Several general managers and Boras are most likely having heated discussions about how much his client is worth, so it makes sense for Amaro underemphasize the importance of retaining Werth.
Ibanez did have a great second half of the season. In the 70 games after the all-star break, Raul hit .309 with nine home runs and 44 RBI. Although, he did not play well in the playoffs.
Clearly, Ibanez has been a valuable piece to this Phillies lineup the last two seasons. Ruben just needs to compare that value to other needs on the team and decide whether or not to move him.
Should the Philadelphia Phillies Trade Ibanez?
Ibanez is due $11.5 million next season and the outfielder will turn 39 years old next summer. He got off to a very slow start last season, but finished the second half strong.
Which Raul should Philadelphia fans expect to see next season? How much will his production and skills diminish, if they diminish at all?
Trading Ibanez could be beneficial to the Phillies in a couple ways.
One, the team could use the now available $11 million to added left-handed relief and possibly a solidified No. 5 starter.
Two, the Phillies could anticipate the loss of Werth and sign a right-handed outfielder that could play left field or platoon with Dominic Brown in right field.
Three, Amaro could use the extra money and attempt to sign Jayson Werth. Boras is seeking a seven-year, $120 million contract for his client.
The ideal scenario would be to have Werth, Victorino, and Brown in the outfield next season. Brown replaces Ibanez's left-handed bat and the team still has Werth's right-handed power in the middle of the lineup.
However, do the Phillies necessarily want to give Werth a seven-year contract?
If Ruben could pull off a miracle, he would trade Ibanez and sign Werth for a three or four year contract worth more money, especially in the first year.
I may be dreaming right now, but hopefully Werth feels some loyalty to the Phillies.
The future of his career as a MLB player looked doomed before arriving in Philadelphia, as he has benefited from Philadelphia's strong lineup that includes Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
Raaaauuuullllll would certainly be missed by Philadelphia fans, though. He is a great, hard-working guy whose performance has never lacked in effort.
Which Teams Will Trade for Ibanez?
In Salisbury's article, he mentions the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants as possible suitors for Ibanez.
Once again, it will be a difficult task to move the 38-year-old outfielder. He is due $11.5 million next year and he also has a partial no-trade clause.
Ibanez can play in either the National League or American League. He is not the fastest, most athletic outfielder, but he is still solid out there and hardly makes errors.
If he is moved to an AL team, he could switch game-by-game between either starting as the DH or in left field.
It should be pointed out, that Ibanez may be more much valuable to other teams than to the Phillies.
Philadelphia does not need another left-handed power bat. In fact, too many left-handed bats has been a liability.
However, other teams would kill for a player like Ibanez in the middle of their lineup. His value should not be under-estimated, as he did hit for 16 home runs and 83 RBIs last season.
It would be a great move to trade Ibanez, as long as Amaro can re-sign Werth, add left-handed relief, or a solid, younger right-handed outfielder.