Oh and Ibanez is gone

DMZ · December 8, 2008 at 9:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Declined arb, says the PI, Times, and everyone else.

We knew he would, and if he didn’t, he’d be a nice enough fit at DH next year (though they’d have to work out the playing time issues) etc.

Still, Ibanez was one of the best pickups Gillick made. At the time, we carped about signing him ahead of the arbitration deadline, giving up a pick when the Royals had no intention of offering it (but then, Gillick didn’t like his high picks and wanted to punt them, soooooo…). Gillick & Company said he had a swing tailor-made for Safeco Field, that he was going to hit great, and I was skeptical. I thought they were wrong, more properly. It’s turned out the M’s were absolutely right and I got to admit I was wrong over and over and over (and I couldn’t have been happier about that).

What the team does to replace his production will be one of the most interesting tests of the new leadership. Given their work on patching first base, though, you have to be optimistic right now.

Comments

36 Responses to “Oh and Ibanez is gone”

  1. Carson on December 8th, 2008 9:11 am

    Raul is a great guy, loved playing here, and we loved him back. So, it is a bit sad to see him go, but at the same time it’s refreshing to see a FO who recognizes when it is time to move in a new direction.

    Thanks, Raul. Thanks, Jack.

  2. ernier on December 8th, 2008 9:23 am

    Well said Carson! I’ll miss Raul, but it’s the right move.

  3. Five Number Ones on December 8th, 2008 9:59 am

    A great quotation from a commenter on Baker’s blog:

    USS RAULSUCKS has broken out the champagne in celebration, while at the same time looking for a new target. Don’t worry – they’ll find one.

    Any thoughts on who the next target should be? And how do I get some of that champagne?

  4. joser on December 8th, 2008 10:00 am

    I too appreciated everything Ibanez brought to the team, and everything he did at the plate (in the field… not so much). And he seemed like a decent guy. Hopefully he goes on to have a crazy, Edgar-esque “late bloomer” career.

    But I’m content with him doing it on someone else’s dime while we feast on those yummy, yummy draft picks.

    (Cue the KJR callers bitching and moaning about how the M’s let him go for “nothing.”)

  5. joser on December 8th, 2008 10:03 am

    Any thoughts on who the next target should be?

    I don’t think we have to look further than the middle infield, and in particular, slightly to the left of 2nd base. Given the ever-increasing size of that target, he’s kind of hard to miss.

    This is a blog — this is all you get.

  6. DarkKnight1680 on December 8th, 2008 10:15 am

    How will we find another guy with a tilde in his name somewhere? No Raul, no Joel…

  7. Typical Idiot Fan on December 8th, 2008 10:22 am

    Times like these make me remember not to pay attention to the national media folks. Buster Olney was convinced Raul would accept arbitration.

    Oh Buster…

  8. msb on December 8th, 2008 10:43 am

    yum. champagne.

    How will we find another guy with a tilde in his name somewhere?

    well, we do have The Hypen.

  9. Dobbs on December 8th, 2008 10:47 am

    By Gillick… did you mean Bavasi?

    Gillick left as GM after they won 93 games and missed the playoffs in 2003. Bavasi subsequently took over, failed to offer arbitration to Mike Cameron and signed Ibanez before KC could decline offering arbitration…

    So we punted three draft picks that off-season under Bavasi.

  10. joser on December 8th, 2008 10:54 am

    C’mon, we have Zduriencik, Wakamatsu, and Ty Van Burkleo — before anybody even takes the field — and you’re complaining about a missing tilde?

    Also, there are some great keyboard exercisers in the future forty like Jharmidy De Jesus and Aaron Pribanic. But perhaps Efrain Nunez could be your tilde-bearer (anybody know if there should be one in his last name?)

  11. HerseyChris on December 8th, 2008 10:56 am

    Posted by Steve Phillips on ESPN’s Winter Blog

    “The Braves … identified free agent Raul Ibanez as the best fit because he hits for power and plays solid defense. Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu, who are also free agents, don’t interest the Braves as much because their defense is suspect”

    I can’t stop laughing at this.

  12. DMZ on December 8th, 2008 11:03 am

    Ibanez was a Gillick move — Bavasi was hired 11/7/03. Ibanez signed with the team on the 19th, and I’d have to go hit the books for sourcing, but I believe was known to be the team’s off-season priority even before that.

  13. msb on December 8th, 2008 11:27 am

    the Times, Nov 10, at the Winter Mtgs

    “Bavasi is expected to lean heavily on former GM Pat Gillick, who stays on for now in a consulting role … They are definitely interested in bringing back relievers Hasegawa and Rhodes and outfielder Raul Ibanez.

  14. Benne on December 8th, 2008 11:30 am

    Alright, guys. One more time, for the road.

    RAUUUUUUUUUULLLLLLLLLLLL.

    Godspeed, Ibanez.

  15. Graham on December 8th, 2008 11:44 am

    Best bat on the team. Bye Raul.

  16. PaulMolitorCocktail on December 8th, 2008 11:51 am

    Raul was a classy guy. Here’s hoping that he lands himself in a good club and gets a ring.

  17. AquaFrog on December 8th, 2008 11:53 am

    [off-topic]

  18. jwgrandsalami on December 8th, 2008 11:54 am

    I’m pretty excited at the news that Ibanez is leaving. Lost in his decent overall numbers, has anyone else noticed that the M’s have been 92 games under .500 since he returned after the ’03 season (when Seattle finished 24 games over .500)?

    He’s also one of the streakiest hitters around. The M’s have basically been doomed having a #3 or 4 hitter who often goes a month at a time without a home run.

    Here’s some numbers to chew on:

    April 6-12, 2008: Ibanez hits 5 HRs in one week and is named Co-Player of the Week in the AL. He follows that up by going 26 straight games without a home run, not going deep again until May 11th. But John McLaren doesn’t notice that Ibanez is slumping and still writes his name on the lineup card every day. The M’s go 8-18 during this 26-game stretch and their season is
    effectively O-V-E-R.

    This is not an isolated occurrence. Here’s some other wonderful stretches from Raul’s time in Seattle:

    May 13-31, 2008: Ibanez has another 16-game stretch without hitting a home run; the M’s go 6-10 in those games.

    June 2-23, 2008: Ibanez goes another 19 straight games without a long ball; the M’s go 6-13 in these games.

    To top things off, Ibanez goes homerless in his final 21 games as a Mariner; the M’s go 6-15 in these games.

    So in 2008 alone, Ibanez had four stretches of 16 games or more without going deep and the M’s went 26-56 in those games (a .317 winning pctg, 60
    points lower than their overall winning pctg)…

    A contending team simply cannot have one of their middle of the order hitters going that many games at a time without a home run, especially when
    the team’s manager either doesn’t notice, doesn’t care or doesn’t have any other options for that spot in the batting order…

    And if you think Raul’s streakiness was a one-year thing, here’s some fun numbers from 2007:

    April 20-June 8, 2007: Ibanez goes 46(!) straight games without hitting a
    home run

    July 1-August 5, 2007: Ibanez goes another 31 straight games without a home
    run.

    He also had separate homerless streaks of 16, 15 and 13 games in 2006. And
    in ’05, he had separate homerless streaks of 19 games, 17 games, 16 games
    and 15 games. And in his first year back in Seattle, 2004, he went homerless
    in the first 11 games of the year as the M’s started out 3-8 and began their
    five-year decline.

    Simply put, Raul Ibanez was an overrated player who could put up decent enough numbers over a full season, but he’s too streaky a player to be a
    major part of a winning team.

    Finally, we always hear what a great guy he is and how he’s a team leader. If that’s the case, how the hell did the M’s clubhouse disintegrate into the disaster it was last season? Probably because Raul was busy in the weight room when he should have been exercising leadership in the clubhouse.

    Don’t cry no tears for Raul or the Mariners. He’ll get his dough, he’ll eventually be replaced by a more consistent productive bat — and the M’s get two high draft picks. Sounds like a win-win-win to me. Hopefully the whining from the Ibanez fans who don’t know what to do their #28 jerseys and their seven U’s will go away when we get back on the winning track.

    Go M’s!

  19. Steve T on December 8th, 2008 12:12 pm

    Why is it better to hit, say, 30 HR evenly spaced over the season than to be “streaky”? 30 HR is 30 HR. Streakiness wasn’t Raul’s problem; terrible defense was.

  20. pgreyy on December 8th, 2008 12:26 pm

    My wife is the one crying the tears at the moment, but I will definitely be one of those who will miss Raul as a Mariner.

    My participation on this site has helped me realize the extent of his defensive shortcomings–and that fueled my frustration with an organization that couldn’t maximize his upside while better managing his limitations.

    The sad truth is that the “Best Christmas Gift Ever” that I gave my wife last year–a game worn Raul away jersey–now finds a home next to my authentic Packers jersey…the one with the big number 4 on it…

    Not to compare those two in any other way than the simple truth that those jerseys are now inaccurate.

    (And, to be honest, Favre’s defensive skills were never that great either.)

    pg

  21. Beniitec on December 8th, 2008 1:00 pm

    HR’s aren’t everything. He was the most consistent power hitter on a crappy hitting team. I sure hope Z has plans to not only shore up the defense but bring in offense to replace Raul. We’ve done the platoon thing…and pick guys up with upside. That hasn’t worked in the past for the Mariners very well. Sorry, so far, I see nothing “yet” to get excited about…at least nothing I can point to that says, what a great move that is to shore up our pitching, or offense. Nothing yet that says, this move will define Z’s new rule with the M’s. I’m waiting…

    BTW, so long Raul. I sure am going to miss you.

  22. Carson on December 8th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Posted by Steve Phillips on ESPN’s Winter Blog

    “The Braves … identified free agent Raul Ibanez as the best fit because he hits for power and plays solid defense. Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu, who are also free agents, don’t interest the Braves as much because their defense is suspect”

    I can’t stop laughing at this.

    Aye, I got a hearty laugh out of this. I’m not sure what’s worse, the Braves thinking that (which I’m not sure I believe), or someone who used to be in charge of a baseball team just rolling with it.

    Seriously, this man evaluated talent before?

  23. JerBear on December 8th, 2008 1:36 pm

    I’m in the boat with pgreyy – my wife’s the one that’s upset. Although she’s not really a big baseball fan. But for some reason she loved Raul. What’s up with women and old bald guys, eh?

    Defense aside, I liked Raul a lot too. He was an extremely classy guy, and I’m kind of sad to see him go. But I know it’s the right move for the M’s and I wish him the best of luck in someone else’s left field.

  24. Paul B on December 8th, 2008 1:46 pm

    They could get a cheap good-glove-no-bat player (somebody like Reed) to play LF and in the big scheme the M’s would come out about even. That’s how bad Raul’s defense in left is, to negate his hitting.

    Unfortunately for the M’s, his defensive weakness was speed, or complete lack thereof, which made it look to the casual observer (including a couple of recent Mariner managers) as if he was actually a good fielder because he caught the balls he could get to, and made plays that looked exciting on balls that another fielder would have caught easily. I call it the Carney Lansford syndrome.

    Two high level draft picks for an aging veteran with no speed who will be falling off a cliff within a year or two at the most? Yum.

  25. Jeff Nye on December 8th, 2008 2:15 pm

    Personally, I was never a big Ibanez fan, and I’m glad to see the team moving forward to actually get some defense into left field (I hope).

    Paul B expresses my sentiments almost exactly, in fact.

  26. TomTuttle on December 8th, 2008 2:23 pm

    This move is fine knowing he didn’t want to be a DH, but it hurts knowing that things are only going to get worse before they get better most likely.

  27. Breadbaker on December 8th, 2008 2:33 pm

    I only disagree with PaulB in the sense that last year in particular there were an awful lot of routine balls hit to left that turned into doubles. The word was out that Raul was moving so slowly that even a relatively slow runner could expect to turn a routine single into a stand up double.

  28. lokiforever on December 8th, 2008 2:38 pm

    While this is the right move, I’ll be disappointed if Raul turns into a DH next year, or the year after for another club.

  29. Bob Kayline on December 8th, 2008 2:57 pm

    While Raul is an exemplary human being and a decent ballplayer, the only way he gets into the Hall of Fame is by buying a ticket.

    I apologize in advance for the lack of precision in my argument, but signing Raul was part of the unmaking of the Mariners following the 2003 season. Three linked decisions in the 2003-04 offseason doomed the franchise: releasing Mike Cameron, giving Carlos Guillen away to the Tigers for a bag of beans and choosing Raul over spending the kitchen sink on Vladimir Alvino Guerrero. The Mariner brain trust choose to “spread the money around” and sign Raul, rather than spend for Vlad, a first ballot Hall of Famer. I seem to remember that Raul’ new 2004 salary plus the savings on Kaz’s salary plus $500,000 equalled what the A’s paid Vlad when he was signed in January 2004. Of course, there is no way to know if the Ms would have won that bidding war, but it would have been nice to find out.

  30. joser on December 8th, 2008 3:17 pm

    I was (and in some ways still am) one of the biggest Vlad fans around (I was tooting his horn back when he was excelling in obscurity in Montreal) but remember that he went into free agency with ominous back problems that scared off a few teams. While I was pretty sure he was worth the money the Angels (not the A’s, but I know you know that — I make that typo too) spent, he was by no means a completely sure thing at the time.

    What’s up with women and old bald guys, eh?

    They often have money.

    Sorry, so far, I see nothing “yet” to get excited about…at least nothing I can point to that says, what a great move that is to shore up our pitching, or offense.

    And how many teams have done anything yet that you could point to that says “what a great move”? There have been zero significant signings/trades so far this offseason. That’s likely to change soon with the winter meetings going on, and certainly the dominoes will start to fall once the top-of-the-market guys (Tex and CC) move, but I don’t see a basis for criticism yet. Zduriencik has only made little moves so far, yes, but so has everyone else, and his little moves have shown hints of sensible evaluation of both talent and value — unlike the little moves made by, say, Bavasi (eg contrast the cost of Shelton+Branyan with Broussard+Perez). Zdurencik could still screw the pooch with a major signing, of course, but all the signs so far are positive, not negative. Nobody’s trying to start a parade, but we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt so far.

    As I said before — we’ve just sat down at the table knowing the evening is going to consist of a 25 course meal (some of which will be leftovers). We’ve just picked up a couple of breadsticks, and people are complaining they haven’t seen the dessert yet.

  31. msb on December 8th, 2008 3:21 pm

    I was (and in some ways still am) one of the biggest Vlad fans around (I was tooting his horn back when he was excelling in obscurity in Montreal) but remember that he went into free agency with ominous back problems that scared off a few teams.

    and he had a very specific wish-list for where he settled, and apparently his idol Alfredo Griffin was a good salesman.

  32. Steve Nelson on December 8th, 2008 3:30 pm

    Unfortunately for the M’s, his defensive weakness was speed, or complete lack thereof, which made it look to the casual observer (including a couple of recent Mariner managers) as if he was actually a good fielder because he caught the balls he could get to, and made plays that looked exciting on balls that another fielder would have caught easily. I call it the Carney Lansford syndrome.

    When we lived in the Bay Area years ago I remember a game between Minnesota and the As near the end of the time when Canseco was playing for the As. That was well into the time when Canseco had decided he didn’t care about anything except for home runs.

    The Twins clearly came into the game with a strategy to hit to right field as often as they could. After about the fourth inning it was getting comical, and it was working. My daughter had a gradeschool-girl crush on Canseco, and went ballistic when one of my sons and I started laughing every time the Twins hit a fly ball to right field.

  33. JoeintheClutch on December 8th, 2008 4:39 pm

    And how many teams have done anything yet that you could point to that says “what a great move”? There have been zero significant signings/trades so far this offseason.

    Not to nitpick too much, but I would say that the A’s trade for Matt Holliday is significant. It worries me that they might be on the upswing again.

  34. chimera on December 9th, 2008 12:01 pm

    Earlier this year, wasn’t there a thread betting the date when Ibanez would be resigned? Anyone have a link?

  35. chimera on December 9th, 2008 12:15 pm

    Nevermind, I found it here.

    I answered all 3 questions correctly (about the 30th post down the list). Will I still receive a lovely prize?

    ;)

  36. joser on December 9th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Not to nitpick too much, but I would say that the A’s trade for Matt Holliday is significant. It worries me that they might be on the upswing again.

    True enough. I try not to think about the A’s. And I fear they’re not done spending money (though not for the re-treads Heyman proposes). Figures — the M’s FO smartens up only to discover Beane now has money to spend….

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