What is Raul Ibañez doing with his three-year, $31.5 million contract he received from the Phillies? Joe Lemire of SI.com has the scoop, and thoughts on why this contract was awesome.
"We have really great, funny conversations during pitching changes," Ibañez said. "A lot of random things get brought up -- it's almost like an episode of Seinfeld."
[This has been happening for years in major league baseball, though. Everyone remembers when David Cone re-enacted "The Contest" episode in the bullpen years ago....]
For starters, Ibañez and Werth are avid watchers of infomercials. Though they declined to reveal what absurdities they've recently purchased for fear of giving an undue endorsement, it's not hard to imagine their homes are strewn with Snuggies, ShamWows and Swiffer SweeperVacs.
[Big blow to the ShamWow Guy-- heard he was really holding out for a Raul Ibañnez endorsement.]
"We both agree that it's tough to watch an infomercial and not want to at least try it," Werth said with a laugh. "Maybe we're both suckers."
[Is this really what ball-players do on the road at night? Watch infomercials? I miss the '86 Mets....]
The man Ibañez replaced, Pat Burrell, as well as another ex-Phillie, Bobby Abreu, both had comparable slugging numbers over the last five years, and they settled for contracts of two years, $16 million, and one year, $5 million, respectively.
[So this was... bad value, right?]
But Ibañez's hot start has helped dispel the notion that he was an unnecessary purchase.
[Oh, right-- forget about the part where we analyze multi-year contracts based upon the first 6% of the contract duration. Good point.]
Should opponents start summoning more lefty relievers to face him in the late innings, Ibañez ought to be equipped for the challenge. He's a .267 career hitter against southpaws, and this year is batting .250 with one homer.
[Was that second sentence ironic?]
One of the knocks on Ibañez was his defense, but he has had a renaissance on Philadelphia's south side.... Ibañez's cerebral approach to fielding includes noting the cut of the grass to predict which way a ball is likely to skip.
[This is great stuff.]
"Raul's a winner," Werth said of Ibañez, whose Mariner teams averaged only 72 wins per game. "That's really tough to say about somebody who's played for teams that haven't won."
[Bordering on amazing stuff.]