Let me be a little more specific about Ibanez’s suckiness
Ibanez is essentially making an argument that for a set of reasons, the systems are stacked against him. That it’s based on probability, doesn’t consider defensive positioning, that people doing the stats are evaluating it off TV, and that they don’t do enough on how hard balls are hit.
All of which is fine. These are flaws in the system that we can consider.
How is it, though, that these flaws have conspired year after year to show Ibanez as an increasingly crappy fielder? Wild coincidence? Horrible luck?
Ibanez mentions the ballpark factor. But as Dave’s alluded to, if there’s any bias in measurements of outfielders at Safeco Field it’s in their favor, as the wind hangs up balls for easy outs. And again, there’s no reason why this factor makes Ibanez particularly look bad and didn’t make (say) Randy Winn equally bad.
He mentions that people are prejudiced about him. This is — frankly — bunk. If there’s going to be a strong perception bias, what you’d see is that defensive stats wouldn’t disagree so vehemently with Gold Glove voting (which Ibanez thinks suck too). Defensive stats showed that a number of guys who have media perceptions as good defenders stink. Michael Young is awful out there, for instance — but if there was a bias in the measurement of stats based on how he was perceived, you’d see the defensive stats agree.
Or if you want to argue there’s some bias effect, then it wouldn’t explain how Ibanez, who is not the marquee name other fielders carry and is certainly not well known as a defensive butcher in the Manny mode, has been so consistently rated poor and gotten worse over the years.
That’s the big thing. Also,
But if you go around the game, and you ask the players, you ask quality major league scouts, you ask managers, they’ll tell you I’m the type of player they want on their team.
Ibanez never says he’s good defensively, we should note. Or, to be snarky, why they want him on their team or in what role. He’s taking offense at the suggestion that he’s one of the worst fielders in baseball, which he is. And I don’t blame the other players and managers and whoever he’s talked to for not breaking the news to him. It’s not polite.
But if Ibanez seriously believes that if I went out and asked a couple of quality major league scouts who’d seen him play left field for a couple of games what they thought of his defense that they would rave about it, well, he’s delusional. Remember Peter Gammons quoting someone describing Ibanez’s routes in the outfield as someone being chased by a swarm of bees? That was years ago. He hasn’t gotten faster, or better. He’s older, slower, and worse.
I like Ibanez as a guy, and he’s been one of the few offensive threats on this team over the last few years except when he wasn’t pretending he was healthy but actually injured. I don’t blame him for wanting to try and maintain some dignity about taking a huge deal to play the outfield every day. But I really think that he might have been better off looking for a DH job, because he wipes out so much of his contributions by being worthless with the glove that it’s going to become a big deal at some point, and all the animated GIFs and whatever other mockery he’s endured so far will pale in comparison to what they’ll dish out in Philly.