Raul Ibanez and Philadelphia Phillies Ink a Three-Year Deal

C KSenior Analyst IDecember 12, 2008

Earlier today, news broke that the Philadelphia Phillies had signed Raul Ibanez to a three-year, $30 million contract.

The Phillies were looking for a right-handed bat in left field, but ended up settling with the 36-year-old lefty who hit .293 this past season, with 23 home runs and 110 runs.

So what does this all mean for the Phightin' Phils? I think we all know. It means Pat Burrell will not return as a Phillie next season.

Burrell was greatly scrutinized for the early half of his Philadelphia career, but since then, he has become an idol in the city. He was the longest tenured Phillie, and there wasn't a single player on the team who bled Philly more than Pat.

When the Phillies won the World Series this year, Pat was the most recognized and thanked player on the team. At the parade, cheers of "Stay, Pat, Stay!" could be heard throughout the streets and stadiums.

Burrell was unique in that he understood why he was booed when he didn't perform, and he accepted it. He played through it, and gained the love of the fans by hard work and determination. He was truly a Philadelphia Phillie.

But the time has come to move on, and I can only hope that Pat goes to a team the Phillies will play.

Burrell can still crack the ball out of the park, but his speed and range in the field limit him. The American League seems ideal for Burrell, so it wasn't expected for him to re-sign with the Phillies.

So who would I rather have? Pat or Raul? I hate to say it, but I want Ibanez.

Why? It's simple.

Ibanez shows no signs of wear and tear and plays with much more consistency without the slumps that Burrell has. Pat has his terrible streaks that really hurt a team, and Raul doesn't.

Ibanez may be four years older, but his average is much higher and he doesn't seem to be breaking down. Also, he is 12th in the league in RBI over the past three seasons and has hit for at least 20 home runs in four straight seasons.

I can easily see Ibanez making all three of this contract's seasons worth it, even with his age, while I'm not sure Pat would be able to play at a high level for three years.

Plus, Ibanez signed for a decent amount less than Burrell wanted, so the Phillies kept some room open to sign Jamie Moyer and another starting pitcher.

Let's just hope the Phillies use this as momentum to sign that pivotal pitcher and possibly sign/trade for a right-handed third-baseman. Either way, at least the Phillies answered the Mets' big signings with a very good signing of their own.