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Ibanez Extension

Someone please explain this to me.

Reasons This Deal Is Good:

  • Raul is known to be able to hit in Safeco Field

  • He's the quiet professional type who's fairly popular with the fans

  • There aren't really any starter-quality bats in the organization who're going to be ready next April, by which point Ibanez would've left via free agency

  • PECOTA doesn't predict any sort of performance or playing time drop-off through 2008

Reasons This Deal Is Bad:
  • Raul's bat is hardly worth building around, and at 33 years old, it's not getting any better

  • Raul's a bad defensive left fielder, meaning the Mariners just committed $11m to either a liability in the outfield or a DH who doesn't hit enough for the money

  • Just as was the case with Everett, there are guys out there who could approximate Ibanez's production for a fraction of the cost, and fewer years

  • PECOTA has missed on Ibanez several times before

  • Difficult to accomodate potential arrivals of Adam Jones, Chris Snelling, or even Shin-soo Choo

  • Deal shows that the Mariners still prefer going after the known veteran quantity instead of someone with more risk/reward upside

There are probably more things I could slap onto those lists, It's not an awful, potentially franchise-ruining move like the Washburn contract, but it's bad. Think about it for a moment. Where's the upside? I don't really think a .280/.355/.436-hitting LF/DH (park factors do not apply) is worth $5.5m a year, so the Mariners will need Ibanez to improve in his age 34, 35, and 36 seasons to match the deal. How does that make sense? More likely that, come 2008, the team finds itself saddled with a moderately expensive .725 OPS on the bench, which is just wasted money.

In simpler terms, the potential for this deal to go bad is much greater than the potential for this deal to end up making sense. When a guy is nearing his mid-30's, the last thing you need to do is make sure that you have him locked up to a shiny contract for the next three seasons. Unless you're talking about a legitimate superstar, you really need to take these older players one year at a time as often as you can, so the fact that the Mariners seemingly rushed to lock up Raul for another two seasons when he's still a year away from finishing his old contract makes me think bad things.

I don't like it. And the most I can realistically hope for is that, over the next three years, I don't come to hate it.

Raul's a neat player, and his performance the last two years has been one of the few bright spots on the team, but I just don't understand this move at all.