How Raul Ibanez Came To Irritate A Well-Meaning Mariners Fan

Jeff Sullivan · June 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Every single season, I talk myself into it. When I write those If It Goes Right pieces, they’re daydreams, they’re fantasies, but I mean them sincerely. Every single season, I imagine what it would take for the Mariners to go to the playoffs, and inevitably I conclude that it isn’t too far-fetched. It doesn’t matter what they look like in March, because no team is so bad it has zero probability, and I can’t imagine beginning a season feeling already hopeless. The season’s too long not to be buoyed by hope for at least a little while. How long is the season? Tom Wilhelmsen just melted down against the Astros last night. The Mariners lost for the 38th time out of 67 games. They will play another 95 games before they stop playing, unless they have a game rained out and the commissioner’s office mercifully decides it doesn’t need to be made up. See, the Mariners, they won’t be involved in any playoff races. Not this year, again.

The 2013 fantasy isn’t coming true. Neither are entirely too many of the sub-fantasies, the little things that could realistically go right that need to add up to have a big impact. That’s the thing about the big fantasy. The components aren’t insane when you break it down. It’s the probability that can be bonkers. Some things have broken right for this year’s Mariners, but not enough of them have, and Raul Ibanez leads the team in home runs. Ibanez also leads the team in slugging percentage, given a decent playing-time minimum. Ibanez just turned 41 years old. He is older than Garret Anderson, Carlos Delgado, Tony Clark, and Mike Hampton.

This isn’t like a damning-with-faint-praise situation. Ibanez doesn’t lead by default. He’s clobbered 13 dingers, one more than Mike Trout. He’s slugging .506. There were concerns that Ibanez might leave his power in New York after signing with Seattle. Instead, all he does is hit for extra bases. If this is a death rattle, it’s prolonged and it’s loud. It’s probably waking the neighbors.

Raul Ibanez has never done a thing to me, personally. I’ve never met him, and those who have seem to love him, to an individual. He’s certainly beloved in Seattle, and nobody has a single bad thing to say about his personality or his drive or his leadership. A few years back he got all defensive about his fielding numbers, but who wouldn’t have reacted the same way? Ibanez wasn’t a prospect, and he’s still playing and succeeding at 41, and he’s a hell of a story and a hell of a guy. There probably aren’t many better people in the game.

And I just can’t stand Ibanez’s success. Increasingly, it’s more trying, and while I’m not getting angry or visibly frustrated, I don’t celebrate the Raul Ibanez home runs. I roll my eyes. It’s unhealthy and I can’t help it and I feel like I need to explain myself because I know I’m not the only person who feels how I feel.

We’re all baseball fans, and as fans of a team, what we want is for the team to have good things happen. Extra-base hits and home runs are good things, and Ibanez has provided those. But, first,  I can’t help but feel that it’s empty. What are the Mariners going to do this season? Not contend, no, that’s not in the cards. What are they playing for? Why should I care if they win or they lose? I want to believe the Mariners can be good, soon, and Raul Ibanez won’t be a part of that team. God willing. I don’t even know anymore.

And when Raul goes deep, I don’t understand why he’s the one who’s actually coming through. Why he’s one of the ones who’s delivering. Raul has 13 home runs. Jesus Montero is in Tacoma and hurt. Dustin Ackley is in Tacoma. Franklin Gutierrez is in Tacoma. Justin Smoak is in Tacoma. Michael Saunders should be in Tacoma, and probably will be soon. Brandon Maurer is in Tacoma. I’m encouraged by Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin, in that they look like contributors for the long-term future, but then Mike Zunino has some holes, and James Paxton has an ERA near 6, and Danny Hultzen is rehabbing from a shoulder injury, and Erasmo Ramirez is rehabbing from an elbow injury. So many things could’ve gone well to help set the Mariners up for a while. So few of them have, to date, but Raul has 13 home runs. It’s some sort of monkey’s-paw trickery, where we asked for better offense and the paw was like “you got it. wink” and we were like “did you just say ‘wink’?” and the paw was like “whatever.” Every Ibanez home run is a reminder that other players, players more important to the franchise, aren’t working out. Ibanez is working out.

And he’s not even really working out. You know Raul Ibanez’s current WAR? -0.2. That’s on FanGraphs. On Baseball-Reference, it’s -0.3. He was brought in to play sparingly and to provide leadership skills, and instead he’s playing a lot and the team doesn’t look like it has effective, difference-making leaders. For all the talk of Ibanez’s leadership, there was the closed-door meeting. For all the talk of Ibanez helping the young players, look at the young players. Franklin looks good, but he hasn’t been exposed to Ibanez very long. The home runs are another reminder of empty offense.

Which is a reminder of the front office’s warped priorities. Ibanez is kind of the state of things in a nutshell — he hits the ball far and he isn’t good enough at defense and he doesn’t walk and the overall result is not particularly good. They wanted home runs. The Mariners are middle of the pack in home runs. The Mariners, also, are mediocre, and it’s not just because of injuries. Michael Morse has a negative WAR, too. He might well get re-signed. He was the big splash, after all.

It’s not that I don’t like Raul Ibanez home runs, in isolation. But I don’t and can’t see them out of context. There are so many associated thoughts, so many of them negative, and Matthew and I talked about this in the last podcast. He feels the same way. When Raul hits one out of the yard, I just sit and think, “why this?” It would almost be less cruel if Ibanez were terrible. Maybe it would be less cruel, I don’t know. I just don’t know how to make myself feel good about something so short-term and pointless, when so much else has spiraled…not completely out of control, but almost. Jack Zduriencik asked for an extended timeline for his organizational rebuild. He took over toward the end of 2008.

I’m writing about this not to say that I’m right, that I have the right perspective. I think this might be a shitty perspective, because it’s turning something decently good into something undeniably rotten. Raul Ibanez is a Seattle Mariner, and he’s one of the guys hitting home runs, and that production is surprising, and so at least the season’s not a complete waste. Enjoy the day to day, enjoy the old local hero going out not with a whimper, but with a whole bunch of bangs. There’s no one right way to be a baseball fan, and lots of Mariners fans have been delighted by Raul’s productivity, and that’s fantastic. In some sense I admire those people. But I’m not one of them, and that much has become abundantly clear. My perspective is that Raul’s home runs are irritating by association, and it doesn’t feel right but it is what it is.

This might be a sign of taking baseball too seriously, of worrying too much about the big picture instead of just finding pleasure in each of the dozens of games, produced as entertainment. But what I want is a baseball team that’s sustainably entertaining. Raul Ibanez could’ve been a part of such a team in 2013. He’s sure not, though.

Comments

56 Responses to “How Raul Ibanez Came To Irritate A Well-Meaning Mariners Fan”

  1. IwearMsHats on June 13th, 2013 2:57 pm

    I found myself feeling the exact same way you do about Raul homers. I don’t sir there dictated ie anything, I just say “whatever”. There are fans relishing in his success? Fuck those guys. This is depressing.

  2. 11records on June 13th, 2013 2:59 pm

    The way I’ve come to terms with it, is that hopefully some team on the verge of contending with a lack of a left handed bench bat will trade us a young Shin Soo Choo for him.

    Well, now I’m just more upset.

  3. eponymous coward on June 13th, 2013 3:03 pm

    Morse and Ibañez are this year’s version of Jose Vidros, where the success they are having just gives you that gnawing feeling in your stomach that the Mariners will once again decide that some short term successes will justify a flawed long term philosophy.

    And we don’t even get any Lolla-Blue-Za against the Angels in August…

  4. Jay R. on June 13th, 2013 3:03 pm

    Get the hell out of my head, Sullivan!

  5. stevemotivateir on June 13th, 2013 3:05 pm

    I think most people will agree that Ibanez as platooned DH, isn’t a bad thing.

    But throw fielding into the mix, and consider it may have squeezed Carp out, or prevented the team from acquiring a real outfielder, and the signing still doesn’t make sense.

    I’m glad he’s been productive at the plate. And I don’t fault him for sucking in the field, simply because he’s not the one making out the lineup cards.

    But I stand by my initial complaint(s) when we signed him. I still don’t think he was the right guy to target.

  6. The Wheelhouse on June 13th, 2013 3:05 pm

    I actually get really excited whenever Raul hits a home run, because it reminds me of when I was younger watching him it homers for us. He’s a beloved player doing a victory lap that will hopefully finish at thw end of this season. He’s a bundle of nostalgic joy in an otherwise sad sack of a season.

  7. stevemotivateir on June 13th, 2013 3:09 pm

    If anyone’s curious just how bad his defense has been, his total WAR is -0.3 (Baseball Reference).

  8. terry on June 13th, 2013 3:20 pm

    Ibanez has been successful (.226/.270/.506). Thats news to me.

  9. ensignofcommand on June 13th, 2013 3:26 pm

    Raul went undrafted out of high school, played well enough at a community college to convince a then even more depressingly bad Mariners to draft him in the 36th round. Against all odds he hit his way to the show only to be told again you aren’t good enough.

    He languished on the bench for five seasons (ages 24-28) before he was released, in the eyes of most for good, until he was picked up on the cheap by a very bad Royals. Mashed in limited playing time and earned himself a starting job in the majors, for the first time, at 30.

    He could have quit, but he didn’t, he persevered. I’m not too old to produce, he thought. I’ll bat .280/.341/.477 with 257 HR and 1036 RBI from the ages of 30 to 41. I’ll lead a team of (admittedly mediocre) major league players in HR and SLG% in a tough run scoring environment while being younger than more than a few coaches and executives.

    Am I happy about being 29-38 this far into the season? No. Am I pleased that our leading slugger is a few short decades away from qualifying for social security benefits? Not exactly.

    Am I happy for Raul? Yeah. I’m an animal who empathizes with other animals, who puts the well being of others above my needy wish to vicariously celebrate a World Series Championship.

    Raul is a great person, who is kind of succeeding at an extremely hard thing to do at an extremely advanced age. That is pretty cool.

  10. Mid80sRighty on June 13th, 2013 3:37 pm

    “He’s a beloved player doing a victory lap that will hopefully finish at thw end of this season.”

    The M’s have had too many “victory lap” players recently…

  11. mrb on June 13th, 2013 3:45 pm

    Remember all those years when USSM was fending off accusations of hating the Mariners and hoping for them to fail, if only to prove their sabr-tinged viewpoint on what was the right and wrong way to build a baseball team?

    Hmmmm.

  12. hailcom on June 13th, 2013 3:47 pm

    I understand the feelings, but I have a different take. I think Ibanez is giving you everything he has, at the plate and on the field. He should not be in the outfield, but the Ms have constructed their roster so poorly that he is the “best” option and he does what he can. I hope a playoff bound team decides it wants a good left-handed bat off the bench who can also DH and play outfield in an emergency. He deserves that and we get one of our 40 man spots back and maybe a C prospect. So, every home run is a chance at a better prospect. Go Raul!

  13. Dennisss on June 13th, 2013 3:50 pm

    I think Raul is a remminder that the Mariners have not been particularly unlucky with their off-season additions this year, and yet, they’re bad. They got all they could have expected out of Raul, Morse, Bay, Morales, but it isn’t enough. The approach was misguided, and the core of the team is still weak.

  14. RaoulDuke37 on June 13th, 2013 3:51 pm

    Raul Ibanez is going to punch you in the face.

  15. rowlandice on June 13th, 2013 4:03 pm

    Maybe a 41 year old hitting dingers will show other perpective free agents that maybe Safeco isn’t such a bad place after all! I’m looking at you Nick Swisher.

  16. terryoftacoma on June 13th, 2013 4:19 pm

    I enjoy watching a player give his all which Raul still does at 41. His signing didn’t prevent us from signing others that’s just silly. Should he be in the field? no. But who else do we have? Don’t blame Raul for staying healthy and playing. He didn’t make out this roster and think Guti would still healthy and Ackley, Montero, and Smoak would discover how to hit.

  17. Dave in Palo Alto on June 13th, 2013 4:36 pm

    Needlessly low payroll + ineffective management = Raul Ibanez leading the team in offense. Maybe if your GM is Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman you can succeed with the payroll restraints. Six years in, it seems increasingly clear you can’t with Jack Zduriencik.

  18. californiamariner on June 13th, 2013 5:19 pm

    Tonight Tacoma has Ackley in CF, Smoak and Gutierrez starting, and Erasmo pitching. Imagine reading that in March.

  19. wabbles on June 13th, 2013 5:24 pm

    @Wheelhouse No, no, no. This will NOT be his “victory lap.” Do you have ANY IDEA how much better off this team might be if Junior had simply retired after that refreshing 2009 85-win season? But he didn’t. He wanted ANOTHER victory lap. And we gave it to him. Not only did it screw up the 2010 roster and season (he wasn’t solely responsible, of course) but he arguably our best manager in a while fired. Ibanez on the surface is having a good year. There will be a chorus urging us to sign him for another year. He will want to try it for another year. In the field, not just at DH. We will sign him for another year and play him in the field and at DH. He will play in the field and at DH until it becomes painfully obvious (just as with Junior) that he simply can’t do it anymore. He will retire in late May 2014, 40-50 games into yet another lost season.

  20. Droid Rage on June 13th, 2013 6:04 pm

    I am even more annoyed than Jeff. I swear out loud every time Raul hits a homer. In fact, I swear every time I hear his walk up music. It drives me bat shit crazy that the Mariners keep trying to recapture glimpses of past success instead of going all in to build to the future.

  21. Westside guy on June 13th, 2013 6:30 pm

    I think Raul and Morse have proven the stat-head’s point, really.

    Raul is hitting better than expected. Morse is below his expected numbers, but still has hit 11-ish homers. But the team is not doing well, it is not scoring more runs than last year, and its run differential is worse than last year at this same point.

    These guys are doing pretty much exactly what Wedge thinks they should be doing – and yet the team is hurting because guys like Raul and Morse give away as much or more in the field than they add with the bat.

    And this is obvious WITHOUT looking at any sort of advanced stats at all.

    Raul has 13 home runs, and an OBP of .270. People eventually figured out Miguel Olivo was not helping the team. They figured out Jose Lopez was not helping the team. Raul is having an Olivo/Lopez “good” year, but is even worse than they ever were defensively. He is not contributing.

  22. msfanmike on June 13th, 2013 7:07 pm

    Huh, interesting.

    When Raul has success at this age I think of two things:

    How good could Griffey have been at 40 if he had cared enough to stay in the type of shape that Ibanez has stayed in. The two were light years apart in talent at the age of 25.

    And

    How late Raul came to tasting any success … And how close he actually was to quitting earlier in his career because of the lack of success.

    Raul can be used as an example that careers do not always start off quickly and success is not experienced right away. And the team has a bunch of guys that need to understand that and hopefully benefit from it.

    Ibanez should never bother bringing a glove with him to the park, but there is nothing I find upsetting when he hits the ball hard. I wish we were seeing less of him, but there is no negative feeling when he does something well. The dude has earned everything he has ever gotten.

  23. heyoka on June 13th, 2013 7:22 pm

    generally, guys who come in late and blossom, stay later, guys who come in early and blossom, leave earlier. Good plus players usually max out at 20 years no matter what. I imagine Griffey was in decent enough shape.

    As a fan, I get mad at Raul not whether or not he has success (I want him to do well), but as a symptom of the disease that is the team’s overall problem – outfield depth.

  24. Twoodard89 on June 13th, 2013 7:27 pm

    Man, for some reason this post really puts into perspective for me on how far away this team is. I’d been holding onto Raul as being one of the few bright spots and getting way too excited about Franklin.

    The only really redeeming thing about this season, is the fact that Jeff still writes about the mariners. Going cold turkey might have actually killed my fandom.

  25. heyoka on June 13th, 2013 7:45 pm

    The root of all this frustration is that the Mariners are more like the Pittsburgh Pirates than they are the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.

  26. PackBob on June 13th, 2013 7:54 pm

    Raul’s success hitting dingers is indicative of how truly bad it has gone for the Mariners this year. Each dinger is like another nail in the coffin of futility. Part of me is on the same page Jeff has written.

    Another part of me just has to celebrate that Raul still has it in him to compete. I have no doubt that he puts everything he has into a game, is a total team player. I can see why Wedge loves him and wants his example for the young players. Hard to find a better.

    But it also makes me feel like this is still 2008 and the Mariners haven’t progressed one bit.

  27. Bremerton guy on June 13th, 2013 8:49 pm

    Jeff, man I love your writing. I love how you meander around an issue, like you’re just shooting the sh*t with a buddy while you’re sitting on the grass beyond left field watching a high school baseball game. There’s no hurry to your thoughts, no need to get it out on the page and move to the next topic. It reminds me of sportswriters from the 40s and 50s, like John Owen and Royal Brougham of the old P-I. I like how you write and don’t want you to change.

    All that being said, I can’t disagree with you more. In this wreck of a baseball season, the success that Raul’s had at the plate — limited and asterisked as it may be, from a sabermetric standpoint — at least gives us a reason to listen to the games, at least parts of them, on the radio. At this point, I’m looking for any reason to root for this team, and it’s hard. A dinger by Raul, a nice pick by Ryan, a double off the wall by Franklin, a nice curve across the plate by Iwakuma — these are the things that sustain me and keep me hoping that the outcome in the game tomorrow — in the figurative sense –might be different. While we can lament that Raul’s success is proof of the ineptitude of the front office, I prefer to think of it as a reason to root for the team. Bad process, bad result? Maybe so, but at this point I’ll take what I can get.

  28. Don Money on June 13th, 2013 9:26 pm

    I use to work with a group of people who were always looking for the flaw in a person or situation. The highlight of their week was when something bad happened and they could all gloat, “I told you that was going to happen”. What a depressing rat hole. I quit before I had another job lined up because I saw how easy it was to get sucked into negativity and what a miserable way it was to live. Jack Z has not built the perfect roster but the situation has been made much worse by injuries, none of which are season ending. I am sure he didn’t plan on starting Liddi and Raul but both are playing out of necessity. Look at the Angels! They are at full strength and just got swept by the Stro’s, now that would be depressing!

  29. shirley37 on June 13th, 2013 9:32 pm

    How can anyone not like Ibanez? He is one of the few that is exciting to watch bat. Shouldn’t play defense but that is not his fault. He needs to be a full time DH .

  30. Breadbaker on June 13th, 2013 9:33 pm

    I remember seeing Raul as a kid in Tacoma in the 90s. But I don’t get the idea that he is doing a victory lap because he was never an important part of a victorious Mariners team. He can do his victory lap in Philadelphia if he’d like.

  31. Don Money on June 13th, 2013 9:38 pm

    One other comment as long as I am rambling. I grew up in WI as a Packer fan, my dad had seasons since the late 50′s for Milwaukee and Green Bay. I missed only a handful of games from about ’65 to ’75 and made it back for at least a game a season till just a few years ago. Most people don’t (or won’t) remember how awful the Packers were for most of the 70′s but I do and all it did was make the winning years that much more enjoyable. I feel strongly the dark days of the M’s are behind us and we are right on the cusp of them turning the season around but it won’t happen until a few guys get healthy and are back in the line-up, like Smoak, Ackley and Pryor.

  32. mossi on June 13th, 2013 10:23 pm

    A good post. Sadly, Raul is one of the few actual hitters the organization can play in the outfield. The owners of this team are to blame. There is no easy fix. At least Raul provides a certain professionalism that, lacking as it may be in certain qualities, usually manifests in a decent at bat. Perhaps Saunders or another younger guy watched the twelve pitch-at-bat home run. Raul facing a righty in the 8th or 9th is still fun(!?),especially compared to most of the other players. It is by injury and necessity that he has an expanded role, but he’s made the most out of what he’s got left to give. Admirable, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps it’s sad, in a team direction and statistical sense, but it’s uplifting in an “at least there’s a chance we win today” sense. I would definately say he’s had a greater actual on-the-field benefit to the team than Griffey did on his victory lap. I think a lot of winning teams would employ Raul in a heartbeat in the same role he was meant to play for us this year. I think that your post about him makes sense from the standpoint of what this site is about and for the future, but is a post of misguided anger. The roster mistakes have already been made. It’s not Raul’s fault. I look at your post as one that was probably very therapeutic for you to get off your chest as the possibility lingers that he may be re-signed. Or maybe the Wedge thing just got boring. I’d be glad if he did re-sign for ’14 because, performance-wise, at this rate, this organization is completely irrelevant(as in why bother?) without people, old or young, who can actually square up a baseball, and for better or worse, he provides some entertainment. Who should be getting his at-bats? Would you pay to watch Peguero whiff? Who is our Mike Trout waiting in the wings? … I was hoping for some marked improvement from Smaok,Ackley,Montero,Saunders etc., but oh well. Not so much. Perhaps winning and losing is irrelevant when a team like this is going nowhere, but take the vets away and … we’re worse even than Houston. (Even with the veterans that’s open to debate). Your post is quite valid, when directed at the management, but it seems like an “OK, who to turn against now?” kind of thing.If throwing the blame around makes you feel good, go with it. But, no. At least give me a game that’s competitive. Is there a better current alternative?

  33. mossi on June 13th, 2013 10:37 pm

    Plus, my wife thinks it’s cool to “stick up for Raul”. She didn’t say that about the last twenty guys that got bad reviews here. I agree that there is very little to feel positive about this season. I figured it wouldn’t be long until the sharks closed in on Ibanez, but the dude’s been hitting. In other news, Perhaps the M’s will use my advertising idea for Iwakuma. (Imagine the Heart song “Barracuda” substituting “Iwakuma” instead. No, I really did call the team’s production dept. this morning).

  34. Easley45 on June 13th, 2013 10:37 pm

    If Ackley were raking, if Montero was the bat many thought he would be, if Maurer was effective, if Smoak was good, if Guti was healthy… Basically, if ‘The Plan’ of building a young home grown core was moving along nicely, Raul’s production would be gloriously fun. Nostalgia and everything.

    Raul shouldn’t be in the field, but I don’t think that was ever really the plan. He was pressed into service because of injury (say what you will about roster construction).

    Frustration with Raul seems like misplaced anger over the slow development of the young players.

  35. mossi on June 13th, 2013 10:41 pm

    Breadbaker: a victory lap can be run by any player who is well loved by his team’s fans. Just because there is no ring, doesn’t mean there cannot be a lap. Maybe he’s just “lap-dancing” because, at this rate, he could get another contract or two.

  36. Choo on June 13th, 2013 11:01 pm

    Every Ibanez homer is the scene from Animal House where Belushi says, “Who’s with me? Let’s go!” and then runs out alone.

  37. GLS on June 14th, 2013 12:03 am

    I’m sure Raul would appreciate a trade to a team in contention.

  38. scraps on June 14th, 2013 1:49 am

    Shirley37:

    “How can anyone not like Ibanez?” I like him personally. I would like him more in another uniform. And man, he’s been there for years, on and off, putting up mediocre numbers — he’s putting up mediocre numbers this year, too — and all he does is streaks of home runs, and that’s all. He’s okay, I guess, but so many think he’s one of the answers. That’s why, to me, he’s so frustrating… and every time we get rid of him, there he is again!

  39. pgreyy on June 14th, 2013 2:16 am

    Even Raul doesn’t know how he got here…

  40. steve_lse on June 14th, 2013 2:24 am

    “he’s been there for years, on and off, putting up mediocre numbers”

    I wouldn’t go that far. He was a good player flirting with being an excellent one (e.g. 2006) between 2004-2008. That’s even with the bad defense.

    Right now he’s a 41 year old who’s doing a good job of tricking everyone into thinking he’s still got a lot to offer, but that doesn’t take anything away from what he did earlier in his career. He actually stands out as one of the few positives in a period of failure (post-2004).

  41. mossi on June 14th, 2013 3:59 am

    C’mon… Ibanez isn’t the problem. Symbolically perhaps, but this falls on the owner and management. You are ostensibly laying blame on a fine pinch hitter and spot starter who’s been pressed into regular duty, but you are really directing the jab at management because you shiver like wet dog thinking about an Ibanez re-up. Since it’s old news to call out Z and W, you’ve zero’d in on an easy target. For shame. The owners of this team are lucky to have him,(he can actually hit a baseball and attract a few live humans to the park unlike Smoak/Montero/Ackley/Saunders). Why are the owners of the team such idiots at running a ball club? Do they really care? Lay the blame where it should rest and leave Raul out of it! His doing well (in certain aspects) is not the issue. Every successful club relies on a few older vets along with their youth. Ibanez was not slated to play so much before the injuries/failures of others. Pity that you must be so irritated by Raul but are not addressing the true culprits. The “sage old” M’s may sign him for another season, but that’s still no reason to be so misguided with your anger.

  42. mossi on June 14th, 2013 4:27 am

    (my comments should be directed more at the swelling anti-Ibanez junior commentators, than at the author of the post. Re-reading it i see that it’s obvious we’re on the same page and i didn’t need to defend Ibanez from the “misguided anger” that wasn’t yours).
    This is a very good post, actually, so i apologize for my reaction being “misdirected” towards you. Life is irony. The failing kids and injuries, and the management are truly at the core of your post, (between the lines or right on them), and i missed that initially, (duh). I’m looking forward to your next post. Maybe it will read something like “Felix’s futile greatness in a Mariner uniform is actually setting us back years in team development”. We’ve recycled the blame for years,but will we ever be able to fully accept it’s true home ? Anyway, I understand the argument, but Raul? At least we aren’t watching Bradley, Langerhans, Figgins,Current-Ichiro, Robinson, Wells, Thames, Peguero, etc. In yet another lost season, Raul brings a small reason to pay some attention. Those home runs may be statistically flat or hollow in a future sense, but someone needs to swing a freakin’ bat! Anyone. Raul? … Until better comes along, so be it.

  43. daveblev on June 14th, 2013 7:15 am

    I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that he gets injured this year and no longer plays this season, I hope the same goes for Jason Bay. Should have kept Capser Wells and Trayvon Robinson, at least they had a future ahead of them.

  44. Omerta on June 14th, 2013 8:18 am

    Poor roster construction had led us down the road of Ibanez batting clean-up like it’s 2006. I don’t get irritated at his “success” or his playing time…don’t feel anything really, as once again apathy has embraced me in it’s warm, comfortable grip.

    Let the 3rd rebuild commence.

  45. mariner68 on June 14th, 2013 9:22 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but my perception is that all of Raul’s home runs have been important ones off of quality pitchers – very few have been meaningless HR’s in garbage times. My perception of Montero, Smoak, et al, was that almost all – not all – but almost all came at random times, often late in games that were out of reach against sub-par relievers. Perhaps Raul’s HR’s seeming to come at important times simply shows that the M’s are mostly playing close games, but their run differential is pretty bad so they can’t all be close. Does WAR account for things like that?

  46. Athanasius on June 14th, 2013 9:37 am

    The main culprit of the Mariners current situation is a plan that went “all in” on what had been a continually endorsed prospect development plan (Smoak, Ackley, Montero, et al) to build a long-term, sustainable winner. That plan blew up in their faces.

    As a result, it seems the FO changed course, which has resulted in questionable acquisitions and roster construction, although to be fair, some of those acquisitions (Morse), if the media is to be believed, were not plan A (Hamilton) or even plan B (Upton).

    Since the true culprit is not the present roster construction (which is bad), but the failure of the initial prospect plan, I don’t see the current roster as damning evidence of the ineptitude of the current FO. We can scream “process over results” all we want, but when my arse is on the line due to getting results, I think I can grant some latitude to change course if the results aren’t happening as was initially anticipated and believed.

    Would anyone say the process of the initial plan was incorrect? I can’t say I would suggest anything differently if I had to again.

  47. Badbadger on June 14th, 2013 9:57 am

    I hope the M’s are exploring trade options for Bonderman and/or Harang.

  48. BillyJive on June 14th, 2013 10:03 am

    I understand the reasoning….but how can anyone root against Raul??? Wow…this is a really depressing post. Thanks. I’m going to go finish my Mini Wheats now.

  49. scraps on June 14th, 2013 2:16 pm

    blockquote
    Maybe it’s just me, but my perception is that all of Raul’s home runs have been important ones off of quality pitchers – very few have been meaningless HR’s in garbage times. My perception of Montero, Smoak, et al, was that almost all – not all – but almost all came at random times, often late in games that were out of reach against sub-par relievers.

    With respect, fans do that line all the time, always with fan favorites, almost never with evidence.

    And — again, with respect — you like Raul, more than Montero, Smoak, etc, right?

  50. scraps on June 14th, 2013 2:18 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but my perception is that all of Raul’s home runs have been important ones off of quality pitchers – very few have been meaningless HR’s in garbage times. My perception of Montero, Smoak, et al, was that almost all – not all – but almost all came at random times, often late in games that were out of reach against sub-par relievers.

    With respect, fans do that line all the time, always with fan favorites, almost never with evidence.

    And — again, with respect — you like Raul, more than Montero, Smoak, etc, right?

  51. mariner68 on June 14th, 2013 7:30 pm

    I do like Raul a lot – and that is why I like him, he gets important hits – and has during his entire career. He’s one of the better players I’ve seen in a Mariner uniform. I’ve seen Smoak get one potential game winning home run, and I haven’t seen Montero get any. I watch every game.

  52. mariner68 on June 14th, 2013 7:37 pm

    My other favorite players were Alvin Davis, Mark Langston, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, and Edgar Martinez. I feel Raul has been as good as AD, and has won quite a few games through the years for the M’s. I’m sorry if all my favorite players actually suck and cloud my vision with “dingers” or whatever.

  53. mariner68 on June 14th, 2013 7:52 pm

    I want Smoak and Montero to do well, It just seems that they may have been overrated. Smoak has a long swing, and Montero is very unathletic. However, Smoak seems to have improved his pitch recognition, and a long swing didn’t stop Jay Buhner from having a good career, although I doubt Smoak will ever hit to the opposite field. Montero hit a home run in Houston that made me say “Whoa – this guy does have some kind of unusual power hidden in there somewhere”.

  54. scraps on June 15th, 2013 12:18 am

    Okay. I disagree, pretty much 100%, with Raul (or pretty much anyone) getting important hits, or unimportant hits; =good hitters= get more important hits, and =bad hitters= get less, but I don’t believe in Clutch, mostly. If I did, I don’t believe as Raul as a clutch hitter, more than his average. Yes, I watched him all the way, too (I’m 49). That’s okay; we don’t have to fight. (By the way — mildly — I don’t think I said anything about your favorite players “actually suck”,or “clouding my vision”; actually, I said “with respect.”)

  55. Adam S on June 15th, 2013 6:59 am

    Raul shouldn’t be in the field, but I don’t think that was ever really the plan. He was pressed into service because of injury.
    They started the year with Smoak and Morales as full-time 1B/DH plus a catcher who was such a good hitter he would DH occasionally, at least in theory. If the plan wasn’t for Ibanez to play the field, then what was it — designated pinch hitter for Brendan Ryan?

    Now if you mean he wasn’t supposed to play 6 days a week, I agree. But the only way Ibanez was going to get at bats was if someone got hurt or tanked and the only was he’d get DH at bats was if that someone was Smoak.

    This is the problem when you break camp with ONE every day outfielder.

    To the larger point, I agree with Jeff. Every Ibanez success is bitter sweet. There’s a lot of “yay Mariners” mixed with concern that “they” think the Ibanez signing is working.

  56. mariner68 on June 15th, 2013 7:34 am

    Scraps – I admit I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to Ibanez, as I have always liked him as a player and a person – best interviews around. I’m sorry to have put words in your mouth – but in fairness, I made it clear that my views of Ibanez getting timely home runs were my perception, and asked if anyone felt similarly or disagreed – you obviously feel that all good hitters get timely hits. I honestly feel that veteran hitters are more productive in the late and extra innings and that there are some mental aspects that come into play, and I’d rather face Alex Rodriguez before Edgar Martinez in the 9th inning.

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