Ibanez Signs With Phillies

The Phillies focused on free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez early on and were able to get a deal done with him on a three-year contract. The signing will cost the Phillies their first round draft pick in next June's Draft.

Raul Ibanez has had a long and successful career, splitting 13 seasons between Seattle and Kansas City. Now, he'll bring his bat to Philadelphia after signing a three-year, $13 million deal with the Phillies.

The Seattle Mariners had offered arbitration to Ibanez, who was a Type-A free agent, which will require the Phillies to forfeit their first round draft pick - the 26th overall pick - to the Seattle Mariners next June.

The Phillies had tried to obtain Mark DeRosa from the Chicago Cubs during the Winter Meetings, but were unsuccessful. They had also looked at free agent outfielders Rocco Baldelli and Juan Rivera, along with considering re-signing Pat Burrell.

Being a left-handed hitter, the Phillies will now have three of their best hitters all swinging from the left side of the plate. Ibanez has generally hit in either the third, fourth or fifth spot in the order, which are also the spots generally covered by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. The other outfielders that the Phillies pursued were all right-handed hitters, who might have all fit into the Phillies lineup a little easier.

Ibanez is a career .286 hitter, who has averaged 23 home runs over the past five seasons. He is also one of just five outfielders who have driven in at least 100 runs in each of the past five seasons, joining Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez in having that distinction.

The Phillies stepped up their efforts after the Los Angeles Angels had made signing Ibanez their number one priority as it now appears that they won't be able to re-sign Mark Teixeira. The Cubs, Mets and Braves were also pursuing Ibanez.

Ibanez' signing is pending a physical.

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