We get asked about Ibanez a lot. Here’s a terrible article about his early time in Philly.
“Raul’s a winner,” Werth said of IbaÃ±ez, whose Mariner teams averaged only 72 wins per game.
That’s a lot of wins/game. That’s the kind of overperformance clubhouse chemistry advocates claim.
Anyway, it’s a fine example of after the fact justification. Hey, he’s up in UZR? Let’s go reason hunting
One of the knocks on IbaÃ±ez was his defense, but he has had a renaissance on Philadelphia’s south side. Using the ultimate zone rating, a measure of how many runs a player saves or costs his team defensively, IbaÃ±ez cost the Mariners nearly 34 runs the last two seasons. This season, however, he has saved nearly six runs for the Phillies, which ranks third among all major league outfielders, trailing only Jay Bruce and Mike Cameron. IbaÃ±ez has only average speed, but Victorino praises how observant his teammate is to tendencies and how well he uses the scouting reports. IbaÃ±ez’s cerebral approach to fielding includes noting the cut of the grass to predict which way a ball is likely to skip.
Why didn’t any of those things help him in previous seasons? No clue! How did he manage to be so, so bad for so long and then suddenly a defensive whiz? Pony power! Was he injured or something and hiding — no, not Raul! Never.
When you look at defense, look at the long term. Three seasons if you can get it. And two seasons of absolute suck followed by thirty games of relative performance still mean you should consider him a crappy defender, certainly until some reason why his abilities changed is advanced.
And yes, I’m tired of the “why did you let go of Ibanez (or Bloomquist)????” questions.