Mariners Analysis

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ibanez replacement

I've noticed recently a trend. If Willie is actually not playing and gets inserted late in a game as a pinch runner (like last night) he is often moved to LF and Ibanez is benched. The obvious plan is to upgrade the outfield defense.

The first question that comes to mind is why did it take so long? It's such an obvious move you wonder why the M's weren't doing it years ago.

The second question is why now?

Ibanez has always been terrible in LF defensively. He was awful last year, and the year before. Why all of a sudden, for the first time since he joined the Mariners, is Ibanez suddenly being replaced in LF?

I wonder if the recent trade discussions has anything to do with it. Do you think the team called up organizations like Arizona and were shut down when they wouldn't entertain acquiring him because of his defense? Do you think teams said "we like his bat but he can't field his position any more" or "he is only a DH" at this point in his career? I know this may not be a consensus for every team, but it's certainly possible some bright teams are being brutally honest behind closed doors and telling the M's they have a really crappy LF on their hands who is all bat and no glove.

I'm wondering if perhaps this led to the organization viewing Ibanez differently. If this has been discussed else where or we already know the answer, please send me a link as I'd love an explanation. For now, I'm just guessing as to why the light bulb went off after being dormant for so long.