Phillies Should’ve Retained Burrell Over Signing Ibanez

December 12, 2008 at 12:36 pm 3 comments


The Philadelphia Phillies signed type-A leftfielder Raul Ibanez to a 3 year $30M deal instead of retaining Pat Burrell. I’ve gotta say that I am not a fan of this move at all.

Let’s take a look at Ibanez for a second. Ibanez has a career .349 wOBA and a career 113 OPS+. He is awful in leftfield with UZR/150 ratings of -11.0 last season and -23.9 in 2007. He belongs at first base. Is he better than his career wOBA and OPS+? I think so. But not a whole lot better. He has posted in the wOBA of .359, .356, .356 the last three seasons and OPS+ of 125, 121, 124 in those same three seasons. Can he repeat those? Sure. He is good for .290/.350/.470 but with awful defense.

Now let’s look at Burrell. He has a career .367 wOBA and a career 119 OPS+ (remember, OPS+ is park adjusted) which are both higher than Ibanez’s. His UZR/150 ratings were -14.7 last season and -26.9 in 2007, a little bit worse than Ibanez. I also think Burrell is better than those career averages. Over the last four seasons his wOBA is .384, .381, .391, .374 and his OPS+ over that same span is 128, 122, 127, 125. His wOBA is significantly better than Ibanez’s and his OPS+ is a little bit higher and Burrell has more power and draws more walks and is a bit younger.

So, who is the better player? It’s almost even with a slight advantage to Ibanez on defense and a better than slight advantage to Burrell on offense. Burrell is slightly the better player. But what’s it worse is that the Phillies probably could’ve had Burrell for the same price and they would get to keep their first round pick (#28) which is now surrendered to Seattle. With such a shallow and barren farm system, the Phillies would’ve been better suited to keep thier first round pick and to keep the homegrown Burrell at the same price of Ibanez .

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erik  |  December 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I agree that the Phillies should have retained Burrell but this was purely a financial decision (at least in my opinion). Burrell added the right handed pop that the Phils needed to off set the pop of Howard, Utley.

    I don’t think Werth will have the same success he had last year. I think if the Mets were smart they’d get in on Burrell. Granted he had success at Shea and not Citi Field but he will help the mets who seem to be Lefthanded heavy.

  • 2. Danno  |  December 13, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Agree with you 100% Jonathan…and you too Erik. Burrell would be a huge upgrade for the Mets in LF.

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 13, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Most of Werth’s success was against lefites (he may be the best hitter against lefties in the NL) and a full season of him facing righties will hurt his AVG/OBP/SLG. They really lost their minds on this deal. Nice move Amaro Jr.!


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