ibanez deal is incentive heavy. only $2.75M guaranteed, but can earn $5M total.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 18, 2013
While Ibanez may not be the sexiest name (or face), it is hard not to like this deal. Even with if he achieves all the incentives, $5 million is perfectly reasonable for what Ibanez can provide. He is coming off of one of the greatest seasons even for a 41-year old, one that he has pretty much zero chance at replicating, but it at least proves that he should have something left in the tank for his age 42 season.
Even with a preposterous 20.7 HR/FB%, hitting 29 homers while playing your home games at Safeco Field (where he hit 17) is no small feat. Moving to the Big A should make things a little bit easier for Ibanez. There has also been a lot of people pointing out that he has a career .349/.407/.522 slash line in 70 career games in Anaheim. That is encouraging, but it probably isn't all that meaningful since those numbers have been compiled over a long career. What the Angels can probably reasonably expect is for Ibanez to hit around .250 with an OBP around .300 and maybe 20 homers (Steamer actually has him at .239/.305/.416). That is basically like having Trumbo, but without as much power. That's kind of the whole point of having Trumbo, but it isn't as if the Angels are giving up value in several other areas at the same time, just the power department.
as will being able to DH full-time. For those of you staring at Ibanez's WAR and wondering why it is negative, just like at the defensive components. For some god forsaken reason, the Mariners let Ibanez play 832 innings in the outfield, which he has no business doing. I'd be surprised if he sees even 50 innings in the outfield for Anaheim. If he does play the field, it will likely be to spell Albert Pujols at first base, where his defensive deficiencies should be far less damaging.
What will be interesting to see is what the Angels do from here. As of right now, Ibanez is the full-time DH, but that may be a terrible idea. His platoon splits were basically even last season, but Ibanez had been a disaster against southpaws the previous two season. Adding a right-handed platoon-mate would make a lot of sense. Seeing how there is also some concern that Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun might be vulnerable to left-handed pitching, bringing in a right-handed bench to interchange with all three players makes even more sense.
The question is if the Angels have the money to pull it off. By my calculations, the Angels have about $16 million under the luxury tax line (if Ibanez achieves none of his incentives). That is just enough room to sign Garza or Tanaka (maybe, Tanaka's bidding could get ridiculous). But it wouldn't leave much room for else. Jeff Fletcher of the OC Register indicated earlier today that now the team might be willing to go slightly into luxury tax territory now to get that pitcher, but would they be willing to go even further to add a quality right-handed bench bat?
I would hope they would, but if they don't, I can at least rest easy that J.B. Shuck is no longer the de facto starter at DH. So the Angels have that going for them, which is nice.
For now, we'll just have to stay tuned to see what the Angels have up next. There was some who believed the Angels were putting Ibanez on the backburner until they figured out Garza and Tanaka, so maybe this means a Garza deal is close. Or, more likely, it just means that the team decided to act now and figure out the luxury tax problem later.