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Astronomics

Houston Astros blog by a long time fan. Go Astros.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Raul Ibanez

OK so it is a proven fact. The Astros need help offensively. Maybe you have read or heard that they are hitting much better lately, like in the last 30 games or so. Coinincidentally, the Astros have been winning many games. But to be honest, weak opponents' pitching, slumping opponents, and injuries have contributed to the winning in a big way. Of course Lance Berkman coming around and Morgan Ensberg getting hot really helped to carry this team. But Ensberg is playing the best baseball of his career and no one is immune to the laws of gravity. So, in my opinion, it is time to make a trade.

I have my eye on Raul Ibanez, just ahead of Juan Encarnacion. The team could most easily improve in the outfield, where Jason Lane and Chris Burke have failed to be effective up to this point. Among the players on the market, Ibanez might be the best candidate to pick up. At least Ibanez has more potential than Randy Winn or Matt Lawton. Before we get to deep though, lets get a quick look at Raul Ibanez.

Here is an ESPN scouting reoprt:

Raul Ibanez was one of the few Mariners who got off to a good start in 2004 at the plate. He was hitting .266 with a team-high 10 home runs and 27 RBI heading into June when he severely strained his right hamstring. He missed a month of action and it took all of July for him to get his swing back. Ibanez did hit .340 in August and .352 in September. He matched a club record by reaching base 11 consecutive times, including a six-hit game.

Ibanez has a compact line-drive swing, though a slight uppercut allows for him to hit for power on occasion. In the past, Ibanez typically had trouble against lefthanded pitchers. But he hit .295 against southpaws in 2004, driving the ball the other way better and showing improved patience at the plate. Some scouts think that Ibanez' short stroke is the perfect fit for gaps at Safeco Field. He was also one of Seattle's top two-strike hitters, and he didn't lose much when he had to shorten his swing. Originally drafted as a catcher, Ibanez spent most of the season playing left field. He took much better routes for flyballs than he did in the past in Kansas City. He doesn't have a plus arm. Ibanez has adequate speed, though he didn't run much after straining his hamstring in June. He moved to first base later in the season and struggled there at times.

So obviously, Raul is having a really good season. Now it comes down to what do we have to give up and who do the Mariners want in return.

Well it easier to identify what the Mariners want because they have no pitching. So they want pitching. I'm not sure if we could get Backe for Ibanez straight up. Plugging that into the ABC Theory, Geoff Blum for Brandon Backe for Raul Ibanez makes it Geoff Blum for Raul Ibanez. That would be perfectly acceptable and is considered a landslide victory in the Astros favor. Truthfully though, I'm unsure if we are giving the Mariners too much in Backe. Or way too little. The Mariners have position on us though in that we are approaching them for their player. There are some young guys you can't touch on this team. You aren't getting Willy Taveras. But if Zeqe Astacio and Jason Lane went to Seattle I don't mind that at all. I would start with that offer and if they laughed in my face I would mention Brandon Backe's name. I would only allow the following names to be discussed. Ezequiel Astacio, Brandon Backe, Chad Harville, Luke Scott, and Jason Lane. And Backe is a last resort. Obviously they are looking for pitching and Astacio might do the trick.

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