Ibanez at DH
In thinking about “how you wedge Jones into the lineup” (see thread below) one of the commonly-mentioned ways is to DH Ibanez and then make Vidro disappear. That wasn’t my solution, but one of the things that’s raised in objection is, as Paul said at Mariner Morsels:
Raul Ibanez also is more comfortable when he’s playing the field, and the potential discomfort he may have could affect his hitting.
Paul doesn’t see these as major risks, but it’s worth addressing.
First, Raul says he prefers to play the field. I don’t think that means much. Bad pitchers want to be starters, or closers. Bloomquist wants to play every day. It’s entirely understandable, but we’ve seen Ibanez DH for the M’s before, and he did just fine.
Second, there’s no evidence that players hit significantly worse or better at DH. We heard similar things about Vidro, but it’s just not there. You can go hunt through those threads if you’re particularly curious, but the short version is that offensive performance isn’t affected by a DH move. What slight decline you do see in some cases is the guy being shifted to DH because of injuries and age.
A player’s preference shouldn’t affect a team’s thinking in a situation like this. If Jones every day in left upgrades the team significantly for the rest of the way, that makes them a better team and more likely to win the division/get into the playoffs/be more competitive when they get there.