Raul Ibanez is so nice. He sees Sarge coming for a post game interview and never throws a bat at him. He was voted onto a list of nice people by his peers. He just took his kid and 40 other people to a sleepover… in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Which is what makes it so difficult, I’m sure, to approach his house with the intention of firing him. If he was a brazen idiot or if a doctor was telling Gary Matthews’ family right now that if they removed the bat from his head, his brain would fall out, it would be a much simpler process to let go of Raul Ibanez.
Unfortunately, the mainstay left fielder best known for April-June 2009 and for being older just isn’t that kind of guy, somehow, and with the painful process of not re-signing him rearing its ugly head, we can only hope he doesn’t snap and start yelling phrases like “AFTER ALL I’VE DONE FOR YOU?!” and “YOU’LL LIVE TO REGRET THIS!!” and all those other things people say during contract and probably hostage negotiations.
Actually, we don’t have to hope that. Not only was Raul cool about the whole thing, he even agreed to be fired in a particular way that was even more beneficial to the people firing him. I mean, sure, he coul come back for 2012. He was offered arbitration, just like Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson, two guys who will definitely be playing for the Phillies next season.
Sadly, that was all part of the charade. Raul declined arbitration almost immediately as a favor to the team, and now the Phillies will get an extra draft pick if he signs somewhere else, instead of the nothing and middle finger they would have gotten had he accepted. I guess. In case you haven’t been able to tell in every offseason prior to this one, I’m usually a little hazy as to how this works.
To conclude, Raul Ibanez: Way classy guy, subpar fielder, streaky hitter, wonderful father, funny swinger, stone cold awesome 2009-er. Very soon, he will be relaxing on that beautiful, pristine farm that former Phillies who aren’t hated go to live on after exciting, fruitful careers with the greatest team ever. The end.