Raul Ibanez, not really an outfielder

Now, to be fair, I don’t have a problem with Swisher getting a day off from playing the outfield. He was dealing with a groin injury through most of Spring Training, so making sure that he didn’t play three straight games on the turf at The Trop is certainly defensible. However, some consideration of the circumstances must be taken into account when making these decisions and, suffice it to say, sticking a fielder as poor as Ibanez in right field with a fly ball pitcher on the mound facing a lineup full of left-handed pull hitters was hardly an inspired choice. If Girardi really wanted to give Swisher the proverbial half-day off (and for all of the talk about how the DH spot was going to be used to give guys “rest,” it’s rather curious that the one Yankee who has actually had trouble with injuries over the past few seasons played third base in all three games) during yesterday’s game, he should have hand Andruw Jones in right field, regardless of what hand the pitcher threw with. Even better, Girardi could have had Swisher DH Saturday and played Jones in right field, with David Price starting for the Rays, and let Brett Gardner play left field. But that would have required either sitting Derek Jeter/A-Rod altogether or not starting Nunez, and we couldn’t very well have that, now could we?

Look, there can be a lot of disagreement between the various defensive metrics, the “eyeball test,” etc., but one thing they can all agree on is this: Raul Ibanez is not a good outfielder. He’s just not. He’s not a dead fish out there, on his good days, so if you really need to stick him in the outfield you can probably justify it, but you need to pick your spots. Putting him in right field at Yankee Stadium with Ivan Nova pitching during a long stretch in June? Okay, I can see that. The third game of the year with arguably your most fly ball prone starter getting the call? Nonsensical.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

19 thoughts on “Raul Ibanez, not really an outfielder

  1. williamjtasker

    It was a terrible weekend for Girardi.

  2. jay_robertson

    I don't even like Maddon – but he flat schooled Girardi this weekend. Saying Cashman should always go to the Series with the money spent is like saying Girardi should win with the players he has. Both manage to find ways to fail.

    I don't like Ibanez guitars, and I'm not sure I don't prefer Thames in the field over Raul – and I never thought I'd prefer Thames's fielding over anyone with a beating heart.

  3. williamjtasker

    And don't forget allowing Logan to pitch to Keppinger. Another gem.

    • roadrider

      Yeah that was a real head scratcher – especially when he had Wade all set to come in. And the explanation about how he can't use Soriano, D-Rob and Mo every day? WTF? How does that even enter into it since those guys almost never pitch when the Yankees are trailing? He still has his long man, Phelps, whom he ended up using for only two outs available. And the real kicker is that Joe went to such lengths to match up CC with Pena in the first inning on Friday but didn't feel the need to do it for Logan who's ostensibly a lefty specialist.

    • not Montero's dad

      Boone Logan should be able to get Jeff Keppinger out. Or at least not let him homer.

      • BrienJackson

        Keppinger is a career .327.373/.488 hitter vs. LHP.

      • roadrider

        So he trusted Logan to get out a guy who has good numbers against LHP but CC to do the same thing in the first inning on Friday?

        • roadrider

          That is "didn't trust CC to do the same thing"

  4. The Comedian

    Why do guys need days off the 1st weekend of baseball?Three games in and we've seen the same old nunez and the just old ibanez field like extras in Major League 3:Back to the Minors.

    • BrienJackson

      Astrotuf and nagging groin injuries aren't exactly bread and butter.

      • jay_robertson

        then why not use your idea, and give Swish the day off on SATURDAY?

        (why am I AGREEING with you?) — but seriously, you're likely paid a bit less than Joe, it isn't your job, and you still figured it out.

        • BrienJackson

          It'll be interesting to see what they do tonight. A-Rod just played three straight games, on turf, and Chavez hasn't gotten any time yet, but there's a lefty on the mound, so presumably that means a start for Nunez.

          Incidentally, I'll be sitting right behind the Yankee dugout Wednesday night…

          • makjak2

            Same here! God I love how dirt cheap Baltimore tickets are.

      • The Comedian

        If Swisher's groin was that much of an issue they needed another outfielder on the bench more than they need a 12th pitcher. Ibanez and Jones are sub par outfielders at this stage of their careers.Also,like you've said and the other reply mentioned,why not switch the line up for sat instead of sunday and maximize the benefit?

  5. Professor Longnose

    If the Yankees really plan to rotate guys in and out of the lineup, they need better guys rotating than Nunez and Ibanez.

    • BrienJackson

      If they're going to make their utility infielder a semi-regular, I'd much prefer they use Ramiro Pena rather than Nunez.

      • jay_robertson

        Good point – although, they've already gone with a defense only catcher; hate to imagine the lineup with Pena and Stewart in the lineup at the same time. Juggling that would make Joe's head explode.

  6. Dan

    I am no where near close to panicking, but Girardi has to take a more relaxed approach to chill out a little bit with his managerial decisions. Also, they need to find a way to beat the shift.

  7. makjak2

    Ibanez had a -18.9 UZR last year… ugh. And Cashman wanted Ibanez so he could give the regular outfielders a spell every once in a while. Let's hope every once in a while is never again.

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