This morning I started my day by heading first to ESPN.com, then to MLB Trade Rumors, then to Philly.com, searching for any news about a possible trade that could help the Phillies get back in the playoff hunt.
Instead, I found this article by Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Hagen, who suggests the Phils trade struggling and elderly outfielder Raul Ibanez to the Seattle Mariners:
The pitch would go something like this.
You thought you had a contending team this year. It didn’t work out, but except for Cliff Lee (there’s that name again) you still have the nucleus you thought so highly of in the spring. Now that Ken Griffey Jr . has retired, you could use a veteran with World Series experience. Remember, when Ibanez departed Seattle as a free agent, several players left behind described him as the best teammate they’ve ever had. He’s wildly popular with your fans. He’s hitting a little better lately. And, as a bonus, we’ll pay half of the approximately $15.5 million he has left on his contract.
That’s quite a pitch, right? I imagine Seattle’s response, after the laughter subsided, would go something like this:
First of all, Ken Griffey Jr. never played in a World Series. Never. Moreover, we’ve already got Chone Figgins, who possesses a World Series ring and a .229 batting average, and that’s all the veteran leadership we can stand at the moment. What we need is offense. We’ve scored fewer runs than any team in baseball, and that’s a direct result of posting the lowest slugging percentage of any MLB team, and the lowest OBP of any team not named Houston. We need mashers, but you’re trying to convince us to take a rapidly declining outfielder who is struggling to hit for power in one of the most hitter-friendly parks around? There are five left fielders with a lower OBP than Ibanez this season, and only one guy (Carlos Lee) with a lower batting average. Also, guess what? We’ve seen Ibanez play defense in Safeco, and it isn’t pretty. But hey, no biggie, because he’s a great teammate! And he’ll only cost us $8 million! Where do we sign?
I’m honestly not sure if there’s a team out there that could find room for Ibanez on it’s roster, even if he were making the league minimum. There’s just not a huge market for light-hitting outfielders who play below average defense. The fact that Ibanez is scheduled to make $11.5 million in 2011 makes him untradeable, which Hagen confesses is the “conventional wisdom.”