Raul Ibanez

Photo Source: Flickr.com

Raul Ibanez has been terrible. Should we have seen this coming? I mean, he had a bad second-half in 2009, and he looked like David Bell at the plate this spring. So, what's the deal? Do we play wait and see, or do we make a move for maybe a better bat? Well, the truth is we can't. We are stuck with him and his mendoza line average. So, what do we do?

Raul needs to get his timing back. Without it, he will either ground-out, hit a pop up, or will strike out. All are results that the Phillies do not need. Some of you may be thinking, and it is a logical thought, that we really don't need the production from Raul. We have Utley, Werth, Howard, Polanco, Victorino, Chooch; that right there is enough offense. But, when it comes time to face the tougher pitching that the better NL teams offer (STL, LAD, SF, SD), Raul will need to be counted on to provide better offense. These are the kind of teams that you play small-ball against, so while the better hitters are getting on base, Raul is gonna be counted on to drive them in. However, as I said earlier, Raul needs to get back his timing, and the majors is not the place to do that. So….what do we do? Ask him to to take a voluntary trip to the minors.

Sending Raul to the minors I think will take pressure off him. He can get back to basics down there and rediscover the swing that we signed him for. Now, Im not saying I want a .300 average with 35 homeruns and 100 RBIs. We will get that kind of production from the 3-4-5 hitters. What I want from him is a .270 to .275 average with 20 homers and 80 RBIs. I think if he can get back his timing, he will be able to put up those numbers easily. It's all in the timing, and 2 weeks in the minors can help him get it back. But, will he except a trip to the minors? Well, he is a true professional. He isn't some hothead like the guy out in left for the Dodgers; he doesn't put himself before the game. He will except a trip because he wants to be productive, and I'm sure he knows that his lack of productivity is hurting the team. So, I think he will accept a 2 week trip to the minors to rediscover his swing.

As for who will play left field, how about Ben Francisco? He provides some pop, and has good speed and defense. Also, it gives us a chance to see how productive he is as an everyday starter. With Jayson Werth headed to free agency after the season, knowing what Francisco can do everyday is key. To me, its a win-win for the Phillies. You get Raul back into the swing of things, and you get to see if Francisco can be a productive everyday outfielder. What would you do about Raul?