Raul Ibanez' Age-42 Contract
If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman

.

I took a walk around the world
To ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere
In the sands of time
But I watched the world float
To the dark side of the moon

I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah

I watched the world float
To the dark side of the moon
After all I knew it had to be
Something to do with you
I really don’t mind what happens now and then
As long as you’ll be my friend at the end

............

This one is in the free area at Bill James Online, the last 30 days' worth of Hey Bills:

...........

Supposing Raul Ibanez finished the season, hitting about the way he is now -- .250/.300/.550, or even anywhere in that vicinity. The Red Sox needed an outfielder and asked you for a projection for Raul for 2014. How would you approach such a problem, since there is so little precedent? How do you organize your thinking?
Asked by: jemanji
Answered: 7/13/2013
Aging accelerates as players age, but one assumes the same principles apply.    There is a normal relationship between what a player does ages 33-35 and what he will do at 36.   There is a normal relationship between what a player does at 34-36 and what he does at 37.   Being a year or two older than normal doesn't destroy the normal relationships.  
...........

That input comes as a pleasant surprise.  There are two basic paradigms here, each one of which has several variations:

  1. At age 40+ you can't hit, and if somebody does, you treat it as a fluke.
  2. You plot the age-arc curve normally, more or less, no matter what age a player is.

The thing that makes you lean towards (1) above is that --- > Rauullll physically looks 100.00% as quick as he did at age 41. ... some sabermetricians will not care about that, but do you think the Seattle Mariners' decision-making process includes their scouts' assessments of batspeed?

.

So When Do We Start the Schuss

After age 36, 37, you plot the age-arc decline down fairly steeply.  But Raul's age-arc plot hasn't even started down!  His OPS+ right now is 147; his previous high was 132, the World Series year with Philadelphia.

We remember having this conversation with James, back when Nolan Ryan was 40, 41, 42.  James would point out exactly that:  "Everybody is skiing down a slope.  Ryan has not started down yet."  Of course, Ryan was still a great pitcher at 42-44, still a star at 45.

.

If That's Selling Out, Gimme a Pen

Raul has reinvented himself at age 41; his EYE ratio used to be 0.50 and now it's 0.30.  His ISO used to be 170-200; now it's 300.  As Gordon noticed several weeks ago, Ibanez has a strong understanding of what he can do and what he can't.  He has evidently decided that what he can do, is stalk his pitch and do damage to it.  He has apparently chosen to move into a Gorman Thomas mode -- guess curve, get curve, and then when you get it, put an extra biscuit into the swing.  

Chad Young, who followed on Gordon's insight, called this "selling out for power."  For SURE a hitter can choose to dial up the PWR tool at the expense of the HIT tool, and vice versa.

But the 0.30 EYE does not imply, in his case, that his batspeed is down.  His EYE was 0.31 two years ago, with the Phillies, and you would have thought that was it.  But last year, his EYE bounced back up to 0.52 with the Yankees.

More compelling than the up-and-down EYE lately, is Rauuulll's splits this year vs left hand pitchers.  Do you have any idea what Rauuull's SLG is against lefties?  It's .603.  It is precisely in the LH-vs-LH (not RH-vs RH as much) that you see batspeed the most ... 

.

Dr's Prognosis

Raul is year to year, obviously.  But if he has a strong second half, then in 2014 he is worth more than the $2.75M he made this year.

Assuming that he doesn't hit the end of the line here in 2H 2013, then --- > in my book he's an ideal #25 roster player for 2014.  After which point he'd probably wind up batting fourth again...

Cheers,

Dr D

Blog: 

Comments

1

Wound up looking at it, after this was up :- ) ... nice to see we're all on the same sheet of music as usual ...
Have all y'all been liking Grant's Shout Box digest?

2

Thanks for calling attention to the reality that there was a shout box digest, Doc. I didn't see it on the page until you made me look around intently for it. Those tabs at the top are the smallest visual features on the page so I rarely notice they're there.
Now that I know this is available, though, I'll make use of it when I want to go back and view a conversation or refer to an older conversation. Thanks for the klat team's efforts!
As for Rauuuuuuuul, statistically speaking, there are really only two things that have changed about Ibanez' game. His K rate is up a bit (and his BB rate is down a bit)...and that is partially because they're pitching around him more and, given the make-up of the team, he has been unwilling to let them get away with that (we wants to do damage because someone in the line-up has to do it and only he, Seager and Morales have proven they can consistently). The pitch-around trend has halted since he moved to the three-hole, however, and as a result, his batting average is now climbing (because he's getting more to hit).
And the second thing that's changed...his flyball rate. He used to be more of a topspin hitter...lots of grounders and line drives. Now you can tell he's trying to hit everything in the air. Note:
Career GB/FB: 1.12
Last three seasons: 1.32, 1.06, 0.82
Career HR/FB, 13.6% (the normal rate for a topspin hitter), this season: 27.6% (probably unsustainably high, but it is normal to expect an increase when you're hitting more flyballs by choice)
His ISO probably won't be .300 when the dust settles...and the choice to be a cripple hitter means his BA probably won't stay >.250 (more Ks and less speed and more flyballs in play...all of which lower BA or BABIP, one or the other)...but you could still be looking at a 42 year old who hits .230/.290/.450, which would have its uses.

3

I hadn't noticed it either, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Shout Box Digest. What an amazingly quick response to the suggestion! Thanks are due to you AND Grant!

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Chat: 7/28/15 12:52am
Interests: Book Men News Money (201257)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-07-30 19:47

Gotta be alder or doug fir, not pine, at Safeco.

2015-07-30 19:46

Steve Baron (who was taken at #33 in that 2009 draft) is hitting .295 at Tacoma since his call-up. Meanwhile, John Hicks has snapped out of his funk and is hitting ~.330 in July, including 2 hits so far tonight. Are they smelling the sweet alder of an MLB BU job?

2015-07-30 19:23

That's got to be BS, Moe. The only chance the Ms had to get Trout (other than taking him 2nd overall) is if they had not signed Bavasi's last pick Josh Fields, in which case they would have had the 21st pick. Trout went 25th and the Ms took Nick Franklin with #27. The Ms knew about Trout, but he went before they could get him. No overruling there.

In 2007 (under Bavasi), however, it is said that several Ms staffers wanted Giancarlo Stanton in the 2nd round. The Ms took Danny Almonte, and Stanton went to the Marlins with the very next pick.

2015-07-30 19:12

Reading one site today, somebody suggested that Z overruled his Scouts who were pushing for drafting Trout. I had not heard that before. I'm not sure I'm buying it. Anybody ever hear that?

2015-07-30 18:27

They've busted on some first round picks for sure. Ackley is not Z's fault though. He was pretty much a consensus best bet. An awful lot of GMs in that position would have also "failed".

2015-07-30 18:10

Test shout

2015-07-30 17:57

Montero not in the lineup in #El_Paso tonight. He's either on a flight or traded. Have the TV guys said anything?

2015-07-30 17:44

M's offense revives, M's pitching collapses. Seth Smith gives them a 2-0 first inning lead, and when Happ is done in the first inning we're down 5-2.

2015-07-30 17:00

Nah, The Yankees won't shave Ackley until the off season. They are too afraid of what kind of nasty ringworm fungus they might find underneath all of that beard.

2015-07-30 16:44

Ramirez has yet to run a WHIP in MiLB less than 1.2. I don't care about his 95 mile an hour heater...he most gets hit. I would ratehr we had Gamel, who MIGHT be some kind of a CF'er. Watch Ackley hit when he shaves. How can Montero be a "questionable" call up? He should be at 1B tonight, regardless of who is throwing.

2015-07-30 16:30

Hard to argue with Ackley trade. Changes beginning now. Look for things to pick up in next month or so. Also after anon showing those busts....begs to wonder how Mr GM has lasted as long as he had..brutal

2015-07-30 16:20

Hard to believe they still have that policy.. and yes.. he us not beard -worthy

2015-07-30 15:51

It's not that I don't like beards at all, it's just that on Ackley it looked TERRIBLE! If he had maintained a close-cropped beard it probably would have looked okay. Some guys CAN wear lumberjack beards and it just fits. Ackley ain't one of them.

2015-07-30 15:49

Hah Hah Hah! Just saw a note that with the Yankees' "no facial hair" policy Ackley will have to lose his beard. That makes the trade worth it by itself!

2015-07-30 15:42

JC Ramirez is not 40-man; Jose Ramirez and Ramon Flores were added, which gives 41 for now, with apparently more moves to come.

2015-07-30 15:22

Does either JC Ramirez or Jose A Ramirez ever get added to 40 man guys? more spaghetti please....

2015-07-30 15:12

Before this year I didn't feel too badly about out first rounders. Zunino would obviously learn to hit in a year or two, Ackley had shown glimmers, #Jackson and Morgan had talent and if DJ wasn't exactly Kris Bryant he still looked like a plus major leaguer. I dunno if it's our minor league coaches this year, the players, or what - but the farm is as devoid of joy as the big-league club. Somebody perform an exorcism on the entire system before it's too late. Maybe trading Ackley will send that mojo #New_York's way.

2015-07-30 15:08

Blown 1st round picks: Ackley (el busto), Franklin (traded for the corpse of #Jackson, doin' not much), Baron (never making the bigs), Hultzen (double busto - at least Ackley has gotten to the bigs). Zunino might be a bust as an offensive player. Alex #Jackson has struggled MIGHTILY this year with batting eye and power both, and Gareth Morgan ($2 mil signing bonus makes him a 1st rounder in my #Book) is never gonna make it out of the low minors if his batting eye stays where it is. Did I mention DJ Peterson has an OPS in the .600s and #Austin Wilson (another over-slot, high-bonus dude) can't stay on the field and couldn't even hit in the Cal League this season? It's uuuugly... ~G

2015-07-30 15:07

The Brewers have needs at 1B, 3B, MIF backup, LHSP, and might need a new CF. If you're talking future there, Morrison, D.J., Marte, Happ/Elias/Paxton/Hultzen/Yarbrough and Jones have gotta be of some interest - and D.J. and Marte would give it some prospect shine. Really wondering if that kinda move is percolating. Gomez was going to the Mets for the equivalent of Paxton and Ackley or Taylor. Lucroy would probably be even pricier. But with Seager at 3B, and Miller/Taylor/Marte/Smith/#Jackson and others in the SS depth, maybe Marte and D.J. would make sense as chips.

2015-07-30 14:54

Happ, Morrison, #Jackson, Marte, D.J., Elias, Morban, Jones, and others should hold their breath until Carlos Gomez is traded elsewhere or the deadline passes. Word that Montero "may or may not" be called up makes it sound like JackZ has another iron in the fire. If he could get Gomez AND Lucroy for even most of the guys listed I might be a little less down about the season

2015-07-30 14:37

Of course all GM's make mistakes, and any single mistake can be overcome, but the now-official bust of Dustin Ackley (as a Mariner) as the first of Zduriencik's prized high draft picks epitomizes, symbolizes, and signals the failure of Jack's regime.

2015-07-30 14:20

My guess is that Montero will now get called up to be the primary DH, and we'll be seeing much more of Trumbo the Dumbo in the OF

2015-07-30 14:18

Made no sense to put any more #Money into Ackley either. Getting anything of substance for him now is a good deal...regardless of how he performs from here.

2015-07-30 13:51

Ackley now traded to the Yankees for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez. That's a better return than the other one being discussed...Ramirez is an interesting relief pitcher with some upside (lord knows we need to find some relievers) and Flores might be of some use as a cheap, controllable Endy Chavez clone.

2015-07-30 13:43

Ackley's now a sunk cost. A trade for anything is no big thing. He wasn't going to make it here. It matters not what he does now in pinstripes. Though it will emotionally....

2015-07-30 13:17

Yeah, I don't blame him for not trading Ackley for two minor league org fillers. The opportunity cost of those org fillers is the AB's they take from the existing minor leaguers. I would rather those AB's go to the guys the M's already have. I would be looking for some other org's version of Ackley - busted top prospect. Odds are he remains broken but some small percentage of the 'change of scenery' scenarios work out. Go for the upside.

2015-07-30 13:05

Agreed, Matt. Ackley may not be worth a premium piece, but he's worth more than the Yanks wanted to give.

Jack has painted himself into a corner. If he sells off "his" guys on the cheap, he only underscores his own failures. If he doesn't and just keeps this train wreck of a team rollin' down the track, he completely loses any credibility and the fans for the rest of the season.

If I'm top brass, I've already put the leash on Jack re: transactions. Marching orders: ANY significant transactions are subject to top brass review. Otherwise you could have a GM under the gun making panic moves.

2015-07-30 12:24

I would not have taken Flores and Gamel...they are totally useless. I don't blame Z for that one.

2015-07-30 12:05

And Pineda on the DL today for the Yankees. They will be sniffing about 'Kuma.

2015-07-30 12:03

More on the Yankees discussions. BTW, if Jack Z. turned down such an offer for Ackley (or wanted more)....assuming this is accurate...that's enough reason for me to get rid of Jack. The Yankees recently reached out to the Mariners to express interest in Dustin Ackley, reports Mark Feinsand of the #New_York Daily #News (Twitter link). The two sides discussed a scenario in which outfielders Ramon Flores and Ben Gamel would’ve gone to the Mariners, but #Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik wanted more for Ackley, and talks have since cooled, per Feinsand. Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is again struggling this season and has batted a mere .215/.270/.366. Many have speculated that Zduriencik is loath to undertake in any type of #Sale, as his job security could be tied to the Mariners’ finish this season. Nonetheless, it’s a bit surprising to hear him holding out for any sort of return on Ackley, though Flores and Gamel admittedly aren’t all that well-regarded. Flores ranked 27th on MLB.com’s midseason edition of the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects, while Gamel didn’t place.

2015-07-30 09:08

Meant to include that trade talks evidently fell through. But let's roll Montero out there nearly everyday for a while. Watching him demolish more AAA pitching isn't what we need. Let's see if he's got his MLB chops back. Morrison now at .123-.208-.262 for his last 28 days. Whooop-eeeee!

2015-07-30 07:57

SI reporting that the M's and Yankees had trade talks involving several players. Hmmmmmm? 'Kuma, I bet. Yanks also need 2B help as Drew is not good. Would they look at Ackley? Why not just give Refsnyder the fulltime gig? They could also use a 1B/DH bench typ bat. Montero....??? With his handful of hits last night (w/a 2B and HR), the kid is .465-.530-.775 over the last 28 days. Trade Ackley, DL LoMo, do something....but get Montero into our everyday lineup. Deej had two knocks in his Tacoma debut, btw.

2015-07-30 07:46

Indubitably.

2015-07-30 07:08

Imagine a future MLB park where the strike zone data is displayed on the jumbotron right next to the batter's picture and stats in real time, and where a sign is placed behind the plate and in two other spots on the outfield walls, and on the ribbon banners between the upper and lower decks on each side of the field that flashes red for strikes and green for balls the instant the pitch crosses the plate. Won't at bats be more fun to watch in that context?

2015-07-30 07:05

In short...it's only a matter of time. This is the best #News I've heard in my 25 years of watching baseball. I mean that.

2015-07-30 07:04

If the #Cali league is actually doing this and sticks with it for any length of time, two things will happen almost immediately:

1) The minor league statistics of batters and pitchers w/r/t plate discipline will get considerably more reliable (MLB teams will like this) because minor league umpires are known to be incompetent on a level far exceeding our MLB blue...and the MLB blue is pretty bad.

2) Minor league players who come from this league will begin demanding the automated strike zone in higher leagues as they advance. The players association will realize that the computerized zone is way better for their clients, and they will pressure MLB to adopt it.

2015-07-30 06:45

gnatto, yeah, bring it on.

2015-07-30 05:00

wowzers...couple of blockbusters last night...Hamels to the Rangers for six guys and Olivera to the Braves, prospects to the Marlins and Latos/Morse/Wood/Relievers to the Dodgers.

2015-07-30 00:17
2015-07-29 19:42

Also as for playing for draft pick.. start that up now.. Let us all face it.. no matter how close we may be to a spot, we are nowhere close. Not at all...Lloyd is not going to make it to the end of the year..,or should not.. start to shake up things sooner rather than later.

2015-07-29 19:39

Baseball team making me sick.. on to football chat yet..? football team not in total danger.. but after "passing" up anither ring.. off season has been filled with some negativity.. 2 d backs coming off injury..other 2 about to holdout. Star qb in middle of contract talk.. atleast they locked up Beastmode..but that got dicey. Hard to keep a champ together these days in the NFL or any league

2015-07-29 17:14

DJ going to Tacoma must mean Montero coming up to create room... so say hello to the DL Mr. LoMo

2015-07-29 16:19

When do we start playing for the high draft pick? Anyone worth hoping for?

2015-07-29 16:00

Good thing you aren't on twitter, DaddyO!!! People would be protesting at your house. I myself appreciate a good joke. I always thought the Confucius jokes were mocking the bad TV portrayal of the Chinese, so it's some deft comedy to turn it on the good ship mariner, which is a bad portrayal of a baseball team.

2015-07-29 15:31

Confucious say, man with egg on face not smile. Me say, How Li not smiling. Jack Z not smiling. Lloyd Mac not smiling. Confucious also say, sometime not sufficient wipe egg off face, face must be replaced. Confucious very wise man. (No offense intended; before PC correctness of the current era, when DaddyO was a kid, Confucious jokes were common, not to mock Confucious, but to use his reputed wisdom to, oh I guess, to mock someone else. Did I just admit to mocking Mariners' franchise leadership?)

2015-07-29 15:20

D-backs in process of completing the sweep. Clearly now the Mariners are dead #Men walking. Some SERIOUS shakeup in the offing, either soon or in the offseason. I find it difficult to imagine top brass doing nothing at all until the end of the season. This team has become a talented embarrass#Ment.

2015-07-29 14:44

Yeah. Where will his PT come from?

2015-07-29 14:34

Seems like an odd promotion. DJ has hardly been tearin' it up at #Jackson.

2015-07-29 11:33

Well that's something.

2015-07-29 10:05

@CurtoWorld: D.J. Peterson is joining the Rainiers today. Zach Shank sent to AA-#Jackson.

2015-07-29 08:00

Let's make room for Montero, huh? With his 3-4 last night (w/a 2B and ANOTHER 3B) he's .449-.519-.725 over his last 28 days, including the #Seattle stint. Morrison? .125-.222-.266 w/ a .104 BABIP. Trade #Jackson or DL Morrison (Hangnail?) or demote Ackley to #Everett, but do something! Heck, even trade Montero for something...at least that would be doing something. Well, don't trade him, really...but "C'mon #Dover! Move your bloomin' arse!" (for you My Fair Lady aficionados). And if we don't know now that 'Kuma will extend, then let's swap him out for something useful, too. Then resign him after the year.

2015-07-29 07:24

Mariners reacquire J.C. Ramirez. Remember him?

2015-07-28 23:06

Matt/Tacoma: I think the only team that gets away with weird platoons these days are the A's, and it's mostly because they have a super-fungible lineup with pronounced strengths/flaws. Like Matt said, it takes a fine touch and also the fact that a skill isn't linear and down to the resulting stats. If you played by the math #Book, you might miss out on a Walker-type power pitcher having a bad day, or the simple occurrence that a high FB pitcher might actually miss their intended target.

2015-07-28 22:57

So the Royals essentially go out and get Cueto, an awesome starter, and the best IF/OF backup in the league with Zobrist. Talk about taking things seriously!

2015-07-28 20:42

My anger management counselor says 70% of communication is body language. Ackley looks stressed/desperate.

2015-07-28 19:12

If we lose, It's your fault, browns

2015-07-28 18:23

Excited to see Iwakuna again as he continues to look good after getting back into the starting rotation. Hopefully I do not jinx him. Should be able to get a W tonight though

2015-07-28 15:35

Note to admins...I can't load the site from my android using chrome. Some sort of weird database error

Reply - admin - 7/28/15 5:55pm
Works for me now. Please try it again. Glitches happen...
2015-07-28 13:35

Matt... as much as the match ups for batters vs pitchers, I was wondering how much the umpire's strike zone comes into play in the decision... for instance Zunino can't hit the high fastball, but young umpire Davidson won't call a high strike on the fastball, so Zunino has a better chance to actually get on base then.

2015-07-28 12:55
note to admins - something within the facebook plugin or something media6degrees.com - is forcing a reload of pages - which deletes in progress comments. Kind of annoying...
2015-07-28 12:48

Royals sure going for it

2015-07-28 11:43

Plus sabr and tacoma.., the other team is constantly adjusting too. You should always field your best 9, and with the good teams...those 9 do not change too often. Maybe some lineup changes..,but not overall in and out of games

2015-07-28 10:55

Tacoma...that would be absolutely correct if players were strat-o-matic cards. If you manage a team too heavily on match-ups, however, players tend to take that as a lack of confidence in them by you, the manager. E.g. if you find out that Zunino can't hit high fastballs anymore (he can't), and you bench him every time he has to fact a power pitcher with a high fastball affection, you're telling him "I don't believe you'll ever hit a high fastball".

2015-07-28 00:52

Matt - dumb question time... but first my assumptions.
1. teams track their own players strengths and weaknesses when batting
2. teams track and know what each opposing pitcher is good at - meaning tracking where each pitch is thrown effectively in a zone, like most pitchers have trouble throwing off speed stuff inside
3. each umpire is know to have a normal strike zone that they adhere to most of the time

Thus, if a manager is doing his job, he should be using these pieces of information to help pick which players should be playing each day... Correct???
Does anyone think Lloyd this?

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