Thursday, November 1, 2012

Yankees Interested In Bringing Back Ichiro and Ibanez

According to Wally Matthews the Yankees are interested in re-signing both Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez. I've already written about Ichiro in my Offseason Decisions series. I had something written for Ibanez, and was going to save it, but may as well post it now...

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Raul Ibanez could be one of those players for whom the phrase "what have you done for me lately" works in reverse. Normally that phrase is used for a player that at one point in his career was great, but lately hasn't been getting the job done. However, thanks to three huge home runs for the Yankees in the postseason, people may very well forget that Raul also hit .240/.308/.453 in 2012. They may also forget that Ibanez hit under .200 in two different months, and had an on-base percentage of less than .300 in three separate months.

Raul also had a very uncharacteristically good season in left field. Although I'm not a big fan of Ultimate Zone Rating, I think it's a fine way to compare one fielder to others. I mean, do I really think Ibanez saved 4.8 runs this season, or 11.8 if that was spread over 150 games? No. And that also brings up another problem some people have when using UZR, that being that they go by a single season. I really think you have to look at 3+ seasons to get a good idea of what type of fielder a guy is. Anyway... Raul's UZR/150 over the past 3 years is -9.5, which is tied for 12th among 14 left fielders in Major League Baseball with at least 2000 innings there.

For the record, yes... I said Ibanez could fake it in left field before this past season, and therefore lobbied for the team to sign him over the other options on the free agent market. By no means did I think he was even "okay" in LF, and therefore hoped he'd rarely... if ever... step foot out there. Thanks to Brett Gardner's elbow, my wish did not come true.

My last issue with Raul Ibanez relates to his age. He will be 41 next June, and therefore I have little to no reason to believe he'll improve enough to make me think "damn, I wish the Yankees brought him back". That not only goes for his bat, but also his glove. And God forbid the Yankees do re-sign Ibanez, and we need him to start another 65 games in left field in 2013.

So thank you for extending the Yankees' season over and over again, Mr. Ibanez, but in my opinion the Yankees should wish you well in your future endeavors.

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