10 Better than Ibanez
It’s strange enough that Joe Beimel might be on the Mets’ “wish list”, but now the rumblings are that Raul Ibanez is a target.
As mentioned this morning, I’m all for considering Ibanez IF the Mariners do not offer him arbitration, and the “Type A” status is removed. At age 37, with declining skills, he isn’t worth a #1 draft pick. Further, Ibanez is a terrible fielder and a lefthanded hitter — I thought the Mets were looking to improve their defense, and add a righthanded bat?
That said, herewith is a list of TEN righthanded-hitting outfielders with superior defensive tools who are free agents, but NOT Type-A:
1. Casey Blake
2. Jay Payton
3. Milton Bradley
4. Ray Durham
5. Juan Rivera
6. Rocco Baldelli
7. Gabe Kapler
8. Emil Brown
9. Kevin Millar
10. Jason Michaels
OK, not everyone on this list can put up the .290 / 20 HR / 90 RBI numbers that Ibanez has accomplished in recent years. But we can expect his production to drop by adjusting to NL pitching and playing half his games in the potentially pitcher-friendly Citi Field. Additionally, the Mets don’t necessarily need an everyday leftfielder, but rather, someone who can platoon with any of Fernando Tatis, Dan Murphy, Nick Evans, Endy Chavez, and — dare I suggest? — Fernando Martinez. Most of the ten outfielders above would fit very nicely in a part-time role.
Durham is actually a switch-hitter and has the additional ability to play second base, which could come in handy. Bradley also bats both but is a potential headache so he’s not at the top of the list. Baldelli would be higher if not for his health concerns plus the fact he’ll likely return to Tampa Bay. Before you sneeze at Jason Michaels, check out his numbers — despite his .224 average, he was surprisingly productive last year (8 homers and 53 RBI in 286 ABs). Casey Blake and Kevin Millar have useful versatility, as well as leadership skills. Not a bad group of alternatives, wouldn’t you agree?
Further, there are at least a few lefthanded-hitting outfielders who can field better than Ibanez, will perform similarly to him on offense, and are not Type A. Garrett Anderson, Eric Hinske, and Cliff Floyd, for example. Put Brad Wilkerson on that list if you think he’ll return to the form of his days in Montreal (and prior to PEDs testing).
Just Say No to Raul Ibanez!