Tag:Raul Ibanez
Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:29 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Ruben Amaro's best, worst moves

Amaro

By Evan Brunell

Now that Charlie Manuel is in the books with a two-year extension, the Phillies are turning to Ruben Amaro, the GM that has steered the club to two consecutive playoff berths after replacing Pat Gillick. Philly.com reports that Amaro's own extension is "lacking just the finishing touches."

That begs the question: what has been Amaro's best and worst moves to date? For all of the machinations that Amaro has done -- some of which were head-scratching -- it's impressive that there were a litany of candidates for Amaro's best moves, but aside from one painfully obvious move, none of his worst moves are truly terrible.

3 UP

1. Welcome to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee! (And welcome back.)

At the trade deadline of 2009, Ruben Amaro pulled off a trade that cemented Philadelphia as a team to be feared. Lacking a clear ace, Lee predictably became a monster in the NL and helped lead Philadelphia to a second straight NL pennant. While Lee would be traded in the offseason (we'll get back to this), the impact he had on the club was immeasurable. 

Even better is that Ben Francisco came along for the ride and provided an excellent bat off the bench as backup outfielder -- and now may be poised to open the year as the starting right fielder after a hot spring. In fact. Francisco may make this deal look even better if and when he finally settles in as a full-time player. Don't forget that he received a ton of playing time in Cleveland and showed he was capable of being a solid starter.

All the club gave up was Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Knapp and Jason Donald. Carrasco looks like a fungible back-of-the-rotation pitcher while Marson shows no aptitude for hitting and figures to have a lengthy career as a backup catcher -- not a  player to miss. Donald, meanwhile, has been getting all the playing time he can handle and doesn't look any better than a second-division starter best used as a utility player. Knapp could be the player that pays the deal off for Cleveland, but even he's in doubt with his checkered injury history.

Also counted in this category is bringing Lee back to town. While trading Lee to the Mariners ended up being a mistake, every ounce of credit is deserved by Amaro for being unafraid to tactically admit a mistake. After claiming Lee simply wanted too much to resign, they bounced him to Seattle and then opened the checkbook to bring him back and got a steal by convincing Lee to ink a five-year deal. While the average annual value of the deal is higher as a result (with a total value of $120 million), the Phillies did very well to only lock themselves into five years.

2. What's up, Doc?

Amaro wasn't done spinning blockbuster deals for starting pitchers, as he would bring in Roy Halladay five months later to be the new anchor of the team. All Halladay did in his first NL season was toss a perfect game against the Marlins and stifle the Reds during Game 1 of the NLDS with a no-hitter. He nailed down a Cy Young Award with a 2.44 ERA in 250 2/3 innings, posting a Lee-ian 7.30 BB/K ratio. In addition, Halladay did so while agreeing to a three-year, $60 million pact with a fourth-year option. Philadelphia had told Halladay they did not want to go beyond three guaranteed years, something they clearly changed their mind on with Lee, but regardless, they locked Doc up to a sweetheart of a deal.

So why does this rank below Lee? Simple: This time around, Amaro gave up a pretty decent package to snag Halladay. Kyle Drabek has already made his major-league debut and there is already talk of Drabek hitting 200 innings pitched in his first full season once 2011 rolls around. You can't project Drabek to be another Halladay, but the Jays did well to get a replacement for the top of the rotation. They also snagged outfielder Michael Taylor who was sent to Oakland for Brett Wallace. While Taylor bombed in Triple-A for the A's, he still remains a solid prospect worth watching. Wallace would later be dealt to Houston for center fielder Anthony Gose, a player the Jays had tried to get included in the Halladay deal that Amaro shipped away in the Roy Oswalt trade. Lastly, Toronto netted Travis D'Arnaud, who ranked No. 61 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list and could be Toronto's catcher for a very long time.

But make no mistake about it: the Halladay deal was fantastic for Philadelphia, especially because Amaro clearly recognized the window of opportunity for Philadelphia to win was now, with well-established players capable of winning a World Series. Sure, these players Amaro dealt away could have helped the Phillies extend their winning window, but there are no guarantees of the future, plus Philadelphia still improbably has a strong farm system after decimating it in the Lee, Halladay and Oswalt trades.

3. Signing Chan-Ho Park

Yes, I couldn't think up a clever title for this one. But signing Park to a one-year, $2.5 million deal ended up paying off big time when Park was finally convinced to vacate the rotation in favor of the bullpen. By the time the South Korean arrived in Philadelphia, he had been a top starter for the Dodgers, a massive bust who made millions of dollars in Texas, rebuilt his value in San Diego, missed an entire year as a member of the Mets, then returned to L.A. and turned heads with his production out of the bullpen.

However, Park still wanted to start. Amaro granted his wish, but after seven disastrous starts in which Park put up a 7.29 ERA, he was exiled to the bullpen where he instantly became a weapon. In 50 relief innings, Park went on to whiff 52 and walk 16 while posting a 2.52 ERA. Unfortunately, that would be Park's only (so far) season in Philly as he insisted on another crack at the rotation. He would eventually go to the Yankees where he experienced bad luck, then returned to his strong self as a reliever in the nether regions known as Pittsburgh. Park will pitch in Japan for the 2011 season where, presumably, he will get his wish to start.

It may have just been one year, but the production Amaro received out of Park was invaluable in the march to the NL pennant. Not all successful moves are of the blockbuster variety. In many cases, it's the smaller, unheralded pieces that end up being crucial.

Phillies

3 DOWN

1. He did WHAT?

Yes, Ruben Amaro signed Ryan Howard to a massive five-year, $125 million deal in April, virtually a full two years before the deal will kick in. Who thought this was a good idea?

Howard was a fantastic player before 2010, but was entering his age-30 year. As someone who had a late start to his career and doesn't appear that he can hold up well thanks to old-people skills (tied up in walks and power), any slippage of Howard's power reduces his value significantly.

And that's what happened in 2010, as he hit "just" 31 home runs and 23 doubles. But hey, five triples. Howard will begin his massive deal at age 32, and it's hard to fathom anyone giving him five years and $125 million as a 32-year-old, even if he rebounds with a strong year. In addition, it's not as if Philadelphia got a discount. They could have easily waited a year and then locked Howard into the deal. This was just completely unnecessary and will unfortunately become known as a disastrous deal.

2. Driving off a Cliff (Lee)

Yes, Cliff Lee is Amaro's 1 and 1A best moves of his tenure, but trading Lee away continues to be a head-scratcher, doubly so given Lee's return as a free agent. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, so what was the issue at the time?

Simply put, Lee was expected to command a huge extension and the overtures that Amaro/Philadelphia made were rebuffed. It doesn't appear that any thought was given to a deal that eventually ended up bringing Lee back, but that's purely speculation. What we do know is that the price Lee was thought to be commanding influenced the trade. In addition, Amaro wanted to restock the farm system after the initial Lee and Halladay deal.

But that's where he went off course, agreeing to import Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez for Lee. And simply put, none of these players appear to have the ceiling of the prospects Philly surrendured to get Lee. Aumont is a reliever who may never reach the majors, Gillies is a speedster with a questionable bat and questionable off-field issues and Ramirez is a mildly intriguing prospect. This is one trade that, from the day it was consummated (not unlike the Howard contract) was panned, and not just because of the concept behind the deal, but the return as well.

3. Jumping the gun on Ibanez

When Raul Ibanez was inked to a three-year, $31.5 million pact the day after Christmas of 2008, many didn't quite understand the deal, but it wasn't thought to be terrible. That changed quickly, as that was the offseason that the market corrected itself and many players were frozen out until well into the new year. If Ibanez had waited just a couple more weeks, he would have easily seen his market drop to no more than two guaranteed years, and it's unlikely he could have commanded $10 million per year.

Ibanez kicked off 2009 with an absolutely silly .309/.367/.649 mark in 289 plate appearances, but upon returning from a left groin strain, it was an entirely different year as Ibanez finished the drive with a .232/.326/.448 line, but he ended up with a ring. Last season, Ibanez continued where he left 2009 off, finishing with a .275/.349/.444 mark and 16 home runs -- lowest since 2004, when he also had 16, and also his lowest as a full-time starter. Couple that with his defense and inability to hit left-handed pitchers and Ibanez isn't quite living up to his deal as he enters the final year.

However, this is one deal that stood up better than most expected when it was signed. And if this is only Amaro's third worst move, he's doing fairly well. But that Howard contract...

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: August 25, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: August 25, 2010 1:49 pm
 

Oswalt plays in left

It was certainly an odd thing to hear -- "now batting, the left fielder, Roy Oswalt."

But it was said and it was correct.

Roy Oswalt Oswalt then grounded out to end the game, a 4-2 Astros victory in 16 innings at Citizen's Bank Park. The game started Tuesday and finished early Wednesday morning in five hours and 20 minutes. The Astros intentionally walked Chase Utley, putting the tying run on first, to get to Oswalt with two outs in the 16th.

Oswalt entered the game as the left fielder for the 15th inning after Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was ejected after he was called out on a check swing to end the 14th inning with two runners on.

After the checked swing, Howard flipped his bat and was tossed. Howard had already given third-base umpire Scott Barry a stare-down after a similar call. Once Howard was ejected, the first baseman stormed down the baseline toward Barry and had to be held back by his teammates.

Ross Gload, currently on the disabled list, was also ejected for his comments from the dugout.

With no position players available, Oswalt was put in left field and Raul Ibanez was moved from left to first.

"We felt like Oswalt's athletic, he catches fly balls and stuff so we put him in the outfield," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

To lead off the 15th, Houston's Jason Castro flied out to Oswalt in left. Ibanez, making his first appearance at first since 2005, then recorded two putouts, including a nice play on Michael Bourn's bunt attempt.

Oswalt became the second pitcher to record an out in the outfield this season. St. Louis' Kyle Lohse had a putout in the April 17 game between the Mets and Cardinals that went 20 innings.

Ibanez was unable to come up with a throw on a double play attempt in the 16th that led to a run.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Posted on: August 11, 2010 8:29 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Victorino homers in rehab game


Shane Victorino The Phillies got encouraging news earlier today with Chase Utley and even more good news later as Shane Victorino tripled and homered in his first two at-bats of a rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Victorino had a single in two at-bats in his first game Monday. Afterwards, he told the Bucks County Courier Times : "I'm not feeling it at all."

Apparently he's feeling it tonight against the Pawtucket Red Sox. He singled in the first and homered in the third off of Pawtucket lefty Kris Johnson. He is scheduled to play seven innings tonight.

Victorino has been on the disabled list since straining his left abdominal muscle on July 27.

He's scheduled to play nine innings Thursday for the Iron Pigs, but if he's ready now, why not call him up right away?

He'll be back soon enough, and when he is back with the Phillies, does the team send top prospect Domonic Brown back to the minors?

Brown went into Wednesday's game hitting .257/.237/.400 with a homer and 10 RBI in 10 games with the Phillies. He drove in the team's first run Wednesday night against the Dodgers.

With Victorino back, it's likely the Phillies would go back to their regular outfield with Raul Ibanez in left and Jayson Werth in right. For Brown to get in his at-bats, he'll have to go back to the minors until his September call-up.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: July 7, 2010 1:36 am
 

Phillies won't call up Brown unless he plays

Domonic Brown The Philadelphia Phillies are struggling, but they won't call up their top prospect to provide a shot in the arm.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer says that GM Ruben Amaro admitted Domonic Brown could help the team later this year, but wouldn't do so unless he plays every day.

Since the outfield is full-up with Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, that won't happen any time soon even though Brown, considered by many the best prospect in the game still in the minors, is banging on the door.

The youngster was recently promoted to Triple-A and has demolished that level to the tune of a .405/.435/.762 line in 46 plate appearances, this after posting a .318/.391/.602 line in 271 PAs for Double-A.

There are three possibilities for Brown to join the team. The first is the most obvious: an injury to a starting outfielder. Brown would be the most logical player to step in, even ahead of backup Ben Francisco and Ross Gload.

Second would be if Raul Ibanez was benched. The veteran was inked to an inadvisable three-year deal prior to 2009. While he was one of the best first-half sluggers for the Phillies, since the second half of 2009 he's been poor. However, Ibanez isn't at the point where he should be benched, and likely won't be until 2011, if then.

That leaves the only remaining option being the departure of Jayson Werth. The Phillies currently are five games out of first and unless they go on a streak soon, will fall too far behind the Braves and Mets what with Chase Utley and Placido Polanco out. That could open up Werth to be dealt at the deadline, which would pave the way for Brown in right.

Otherwise, Brown will have to bide his time until 2011, at which point Werth will most likely have departed as a free agent. If, somehow, the Phillies pull off Werth staying in town, then Brown either becomes trade bait or -- most likely -- Ibanez is sent to the bench.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 30, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Reds' Rhodes bounces back


Arthur Rhodes CINCINNATI -- Tuesday night Reds reliever Arthur Rhodes had a streak of 33 consecutive appearances without allowing a run snapped by the Phillies in a 9-6 loss.

So what did Rhodes do on Wednesday?

"Start a new streak," Rhodes said.

Not only did he exercise his daemons against the same team, he did it against the same hitters.

Tuesday Rhodes gave up a double, walk and double to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez in the 10th inning, to give Rhodes the loss. Wednesday afternoon he struck out Howard and Werth before getting Ibanez to fly out to end the eighth. Not only that, thanks to Jay Bruce's homer off of Roy Halladay in the eighth, Rhodes picked up his third victory of the season.

"I had revenge on some guys I have to go out and get," Rhodes said.

Reds manager Dusty Baker has always stressed the importance of getting a reliever back in a game after a bad game to give him an opportunity to make good, and Baker said it was just as important for a veteran like Rhodes to get that chance as any rookie.

"Arthur was the first one to come in and say, 'Thanks for getting me back out there,'" Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I really didn't need that, I was going to get him back out there no matter what. It's important to anybody. It's apropos he got the loss last night and the win tonight."

Rhodes' streak of scoreless appearances tied for the most in one season, shared by Mark Guthrie of the Mets in 2002 and Mike Myers of the Rockies in 2000.

Rhodes had stopped talking about the streak to the press -- not that he speaks much with the press anyway -- but hadn't stopped thinking about it.

"It was only mind for a little bit, when you've got something going on like that, a hitting streak or a home run streak, you think about it every day" Rhodes said on Wednesday. "That was on my mind the whole day. Now it's over with and started a new one today."

At 40, Rhodes is having an All-Star calibre season, allowing four runs (three of those last night) in 37 games and 33 innings, good for a 1.09 ERA. He's struck out 32 batters and walked 12, while allowing 18 hits.

"I'm pitching about the same I did in 2001," Rhodes said. "I've got to keep it going, doing what I'm doing."

In 2001, Rhodes went 8-0 with a 1.72 ERA for Seattle.

Also in 2001, Bruce was 14.

"That is a long time, I'm not going back further than that," Rhodes said. "I don't want to."

Bruce had yet to turn five when Rhodes made his big-league debut in 1991 and 10 when Rhodes finished 20th in MVP balloting in 1997 with Baltimore , where he was 10-3 with a 3.02 ERA.

Rhodes has likely been more valuable to the Reds this season, three years after Tommy John surgery. While many of the Reds relievers, including closer Francisco Cordero and Nick Masset, have struggled, Rhodes has been the bullpen's rock allowing the team to battle for first place with St. Louis. That's why it was nice to see Reds fans acknowledge that Tuesday night, when they gave him a standing ovation as he exited the game in the 10th inning, having just given up runs that would mean the team would drop out of first place.

"They appreciate quality, they appreciate what this guy has meant to the organization and the pride of the city in winning," Baker said. "He's one of the real warriors, I enjoy having on the team."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



Posted on: June 10, 2010 9:40 am
 

Baseball's nice guys

Sports Illustrated surveyed 347 major league players recently, asking them, "Who is the nicest player in the game?"

The winner was Mariners DH Mike Sweeney, with 20 percent of the votes. Sort of ironic that this comes during a season in which the only news Sweeney has made was when he offered to fight any teammates who told a reporter that Ken Griffey Jr. was napping in the clubhouse during a game.

The rest of the Top 5 nice guys: Jim Thome (17 percent), Johnny Damon (5 percent), Derek Jeter (5 percent) and Raul Ibanez (5 percent).

Apparently people get nicer as they age. The average age of the top five is 36.8.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 7, 2010 1:52 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:21 am
 

Time for Ibanez to go in Philly?


Raul Ibanez arrived in Philadelphia with a bang last season, rejuvenating his career and becoming a popular figure on a team that reached the World Series. But it looks like the dew is off the rose, at least for some fans.

The blog philliesnation.com is calling for the Phillies, who have lost 10 of their past 14, to release the outfielder. And author Corey Seidman makes a compelling argument.

Since his huge first two months of 2009, when Ibanez batted .332 and locked up his first All-Star start, he has batted .234, including a .229 average and three homers in 2010. At age 38 with bad knees, he's also a poor defensive outfielder.

Meanwhile, the Phillies' top prospect, who happens to be an outfielder, is looking increasingly ready for the majors. Domonic Brown is batting .313 at Double-A Reading and leading the Eastern League with a .969 OPS.

It's tough to see the Phillies eating Ibanez's contract -- he's in the second year of a three-year, $31.5 million deal on which he is still owed roughly $17.5 million. And he has a full no-trade clause. As Seidman points out, however, there is precedent for Phillies GM Ruben Amaro cutting loose big contracts. The Phillies ate more than $17 million last season in releasing Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton.

Ibanez is the prototype "veteran clubhouse leader" and a popular figure in Philadelphia after the team's 2009 ride. But if the Phillies continue to underperform, they are going to face a difficult decision.

-- Evan Brunell
Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com