Dust Off Your First Baseman's Mitt . . . Raul?

With Ross Gload pulling up lame last night, the Phillies are short another position player.  In all likelihood, they're going to have to activate Shane Victorino from the DL tonight or tomorrow and replace him on the shelf with Gload.  (No official word yet on Gload going on the DL, but I can't imagine it won't happen.)

The conventional wisdom is that Mike Sweeney will take Gload's place as the first-base fill-in while Ryan Howard heals.  And, the conventional wisdom is that Domonic Brown will head to the minors to play everyday once Victorino rejoins the big league club.

But the Phillies have another option to consider -- playing Raul Ibanez at first base and filling the outfield with Brown, Victorino, and Jayson Werth.

Over the course of his 15 year big league career, Raul Ibanez has played 1225 games in the outfield, 1 game at third base, 1 game at catcher, . . . and 135 games at first base.  It's been a while, as he hasn't played there since 2005, when he played 4 games there for the Mariners.  The most he's ever played the position was in 2002, when he played 49 games at first for the Royals.

Now, Ibanez has not exactly been a gold glover at first when he's played there.  He's 12 total fielding runs below average per 1200 innings (roughly 135 games) at the position, compared to only 5 total fielding runs below average in left field.  But, putting him at first would get the Phillies a much faster, more athletic outfield, which could make up some of the loss.  Although, to be fair, Brown has been pretty bad in the outfield so far.

The advantage would be getting more major league at-bats for Brown, who is finally off the schneid in the home run and walk department, and saving Sweeney for the bench or for starts against really tough left-handed pitchers.

I think this is a tough call for the Phillies, as I'm not sure that either option is obviously superior to the other.  But, I think I'd lean toward what I'm proposing here -- trying Ibanez at first and getting Brown more exposure.

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