So, the conventional wisdom is that the Phillies are limiting themselves to corner outfielders who also happen to hit right-handed.
But the conventional wisdom isn't necesarrily correct. When I talked to Ruben Amaro Jr. Friday night, he made a point of saying that the team was looking at all options, including those who happen to hit from the Western side of the plate. Which lends some credence to Newsday's report today that the Phillies are considering Raul Ibanez.
Why does Newsday care? Because the Mets are also reportedly considering the 36-year-old veteran. First, I wouldn't get too carried away. Expressing interest isn't the same thing as getting a date, if you know what I mean.
But for kicks and giggles, let's break down Ibanez.
Here are the things that make him attractive (in a baseball sort-of-way)
1) He is kind of a poor man's Burrell, in a left-handed hitting, Cuban desecendant, older man sort of way. He puts up solid power numbers -- 20+ home runs and 100+ RBI in each of the last three seasons. He isn't a great fielder, but can play the position. He is experienced.
2) He puts the ball in play, relatively speaking. He's hit at least .280 in each of the last eight seasons, and has struck out more than 100 times in just two of them.
3) He is coming off a season in which he hit over .300 against lefties. If you can't find a right-handed middle-of-the-order bat, perhaps you can find a left-handed one that has had success against the type of pitchers that give Ryan Howard fits.
4) He could be cheaper than Burrell. Ibanez made just $5.5 million this year. While he will likely get a nice pay-day from somebody, the Phillies could bring him in and still have some $$$$$ left over for a solid right-handed bat.
5) He is durable, playing in all 162 games last season, the second time he has done so in his career.
Here are some downsides:
1) He is 36 going on 37, and players can deteriorate rapidly at that age.
2) He wouldn't be a huge upgrade over Burrell in the field.
3) Though he hits for a significantly higher average than Burrell, his career OBP is 21 points lower (.346 vs. .367)
4) Though he did well hitting lefties last season, he hits .263 against them for his career. Still not horrible, of course.
That's all from me for now. . .