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Raul Ibanez: What Am I Missing?

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Per Jayson Stark, the Mets are among a handful of teams who are interested in ::holds back vomit:: free agent left fielder Raul Ibanez. Why are so many teams so interested in Ibanez when he clearly isn't a very interesting player? One team official clues us in:

"Character. Proven run producer. In better shape than a lot of 25-year-olds. And he'll play hard every day, every game, every second he has the uniform on."

That quote didn't come affixed with any emoticons, editorial assides or anything else that might otherwise indicate its tongue-in-cheek intent, so I'm going to assume that the "team official" was being serious. It is now apparently clear why I'm writing a blog instead of being involved in front office decision-making for a big league club. When evaluating available talent, real live actual major league executives (at least one, anyway) look for the following, which I will cleverly refer to as "The Fantastic Four":

  1. Character
  2. Proven run producer
  3. In better shape than a lot of 25-year-olds
  4. Plays hard every day, every game, every second he has the uniform on

That's the secret formula, people. Not power, discipline, defense and base-running. Character > talent; playing hard > playing well. Here is my four-reason retort to why the Mets should stay away from Ibanez this offseason. The "Craptastic Four", if you will:

  1. He is a terrible defensive player.
  2. He will be 37 in 2009.
  3. He is a Type A free agent. Type. A.
  4. Given equivalent playing time, he's probably not any better than Fernando Tatis, whom the Mets already have.

Ibanez is far from an awful hitter, but he is the very epitomy epitome of an awful fielder, and he will be expensive (in money and picks) and old, playing a position where offense is relatively easy to find (see: Tatis). Do. Not. Want. (DNW!)