Ok, so Raul Ibanez is having a few good games, so we can either look at this blog as:
1) celebrating his return to form.
2) a final curtain call before he bows out gracefully.
There was that late career career-year that he had in 2009 (34HRs, 93 RBIs, and .272 over 134 games), which led the Phillies to a 2nd place finish against the Yankees in the World Series (no thanks to their offense crapping the bed when it counted as Mighty Ryan whiffed 13 times in 25 plate appearances and only hit a home run in an already decided last game of the season).
This year, he's 22 for 103. If not for the 3 game 8 for 12 swing, he was 14 for 91 before facing Washington's not so formidable pitching staff. On top of this, he has 27 whiffs for those first 91 at bats (none since).
Will he keep his average over the Mendoza Line, or will he go to seed against Atlanta?
I know where my money is (5 whiffs and 2 for 12 in the first series he played against them this year).
Philadelphia fans are fickle. They booed Santa Claus and threw snowballs at the jolly guy back in 1968. In 1999, they greeted JD Drew with D cell batteries after he refused to sign for their team (he never did have that career both the Phillies and Cards thought he would). They booed Mike Schmidt, who is considered the greatest third baseman EVER.
Do you think that they give a hoot about keeping around an over-priced guy who can't get a hit between April 18th and May 3rd? Do you really think a 1 time all star that played 2 stints with Seattle around a few years with Kansas City is going to cause fans to feel bad for his loss? They're already celebrating the fact that Jayson Werth took his over-priced talent to Washington and isn't doing well (.230 with 4 home runs, 8RBIs, and 27 strikeouts).
The Phillies are more concerned about not having Chase Utley and Dominic Brown than not having an aging outfielder that has been on the decline for ages with a few years of over-achievement. To this, I knew what was coming, but alas, the guy in my fantasy league that begged me to have Ibanez (I wouldn't budge - I'm not known for giving in when I know that I'm right) wanted to pretend differently (even though he tried to pass him off like a free T-shift giveaway that nobody really wants (but you can use it to wipe off your car oil after you change it!).
The reality is that of the 2 choices for what this blog today is, it's all about what Ibanez isn't and that he should go the way of the dodo bird. In this, I'm not alone - Eric Seidman of ESPN concurs with me as he says, "These are all signs that point to the end of a player's career. Ibanez will undoubtedly have a hot streak or two this season wherein Phillies fans and fantasy owners will convince themselves that he has regained his stroke. The streaks are temporary fixes, however, like using a piece of gum to plug a hole, and before we know it the Ibanez who looks his age will be back. Other players may have been prematurely written off in the past, but the same cannot be said of Ibanez. Practically everything he has shown so far this season suggests that he has reached the end of his career."
The only question is when can the Phillies get their injured players back and when can they start dealing with other teams that have called the game early?
And let's be honest - there aren't many teams ready to call their seasons (Houston and San Diego are about it, and even they aren't THAT FAR off of the .500 pace that could take them back into contention). Hell, even Kansas City and Pittsburgh are playing competitively.
Which really says we are in new baseball times.