Twitter was abuzz during the Sixers-Lakers game tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, not so much because of the game (the Sixers lost to the Lakers 111-98) but because of who was at the game. Sitting courtside was former Phillie and possible future Phillie Raul Ibañez.
Here is a sampling:
Many began to speculate that Ibañez was in town to sign with the Phillies. As I've said before, I do not get the move unless the Phillies are ready to ship Domonic Brown out of town. But, the more I think of it, Ibañez may just be a better option than Cody Ross.
Gone are the days when Ibañez makes $11 million a year and starts in left field. But in the right situation, Ibañez could be an extra outfielder and pinch hitter. Looking at the Phillies outfield as constructed now, they have:
- Ben Revere
- John Mayberry
- Darin Ruf
- Domonic Brown
- Laynce Nix
Do not put Nix on the infielder side of things, since Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis both will likely serve as backups. If the team carries 12 pitchers, they will have room for five outfielders, the four starting infielders, two catchers, and two reserve infielders. Assuming that the Phillies do add a right-handed outfield bat (Cody Ross? Alfonso Soriano? Other?) the Phillies would have to remove two different players from this list.
Brown could head out in a deal if the Phillies make a trade. Ruf could easily be optioned to the minor leagues. Mayberry's defensive ability makes him a good bet to stick around and fill in at all three positions. Would the Phillies let Nix go to bring in Ibañez? I tend to think no, but maybe someone would take him in trade.
If the Phillies do NOT add another outfielder, an Ibañez-Mayberry plattoon in left with a Brown-Ruf plattoon in right would cover the positions. The Phillies made it to the World Series in 1993 with Milt Thompson and Pete Incaviglia in left field and Jim Eisenreich and Wes Chamberlain in right field. For this to happen and Nix to stick around the Phillies would have to do without Galvis and leave Frandsen as the lone infield backup.
The more time that passes, I believe more and more the Phillies will do the outfield on the cheap. Would Ibañez-Mayberry give the Phillies as much as a Cody Ross would? Here's a rough sketch of some 2012 numbers:
Ibañez vs. right-handed pitching: .248, 19 home runs, 57 RBI in 323 at bats
Mayberry vs. left-handed pitching: .271, 8 home runs, 19 RBI in 166 at bats
Total, combined: .251, 27 home runs, 76 RBI in 489 at bats
Cody Ross, 2012: 267, 22 home runs, 81 RBI in 476 at bats
Maybe an inexpensive Ibañez and Mayberry compared to an expensive Ross isn't that bad. Then, right field could be a Brown/Ruf plattoon, Nix/Ruf plattoon, all Brown, all Ruf, or who knows. Ibañez will play less than the past, but combined with Mayberry, the duo could spare the Phillies the high cost of Cody Ross.