It doesn’t happen very often, hardly ever, actually, but someone in the front office for the Phils has said something so surprising it requires immediate attention. Take it away, Ruben Amaro, from today’s Inquirer:

Though Amaro never spoke specifically about negotiations with Jayson Werth’s agent Scott Boras, he did send another signal that the Phillies are ready to move on without their free-agent rightfielder, even talking about him in the past tense at times.

“I’m not going to discuss Jayson Werth,” Amaro said. “I talked to Scott about a bunch of his free agents.”

Amaro, however, did bring Werth into the discussion when asked about leftfielder Raul Ibanez’ 2010 season.

Ibanez “was still a pretty productive player and . . . his numbers are not all that different from Jayson’s last year,” he said. “What did [Ibanez] have, 83 RBIs? Jayson had 85. [Ibanez] didn’t have as many opportunities as Jayson did to drive in runs.

“Clearly, Jayson had more runs scored [106 for Werth and 75 for Ibanez] and his on-base percentage and stuff were better, but [Ibanez] had 37 doubles and five triples. . . . The difference in their production was not all that great.”

Yes it was. And if Ruben Amaro doesn’t know that, the Phillies are in a whole lot of trouble.

I’m of the opinion that Werth was probably the fifth-best offensive outfielder in all of baseball last season. Ibanez really definitely wasn’t. It’s pretty hard to argue that Ibanez is a better defensive player than Werth.

Also, “on-base percentage and stuff”? Please? No, seriously, please? Can we get some kind of a do-over where we all get to pretend that never, ever happened? I’m holding out hope that he misspoke and what he meant by “on-base percentage and stuff” was actually “everything measurable in the world except for RBI.” It leaves me with this horrid vision of a round table discussion in the front office where they have the offensive production for players divided into two categories: RBI and “on-base percentage and stuff.”

For the record, on-base percentage and stuff is more important.

Among other things, Werth out produced Ibanez in 2010 in doubles, home runs, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. He stole more bases, scored more runs, hit into fewer double-plays and made fewer outs. The offensive production of the two players wasn’t close:

Ibanez 636 37 16 275/349/444
Werth 652 46 27 296/388/532

Werth’s OPS was 128 points higher than Ibanez’s. He out on-based him .388 to .349. Among the 183 NL players with 200 plate appearances, Werth’s .532 slugging percentage was 17th-best in the league. Ibanez’s .444 was 59th.

Here’s their runs created per 27 outs for 2010 and their NL rank among the 160 NL players with 250 plate appearances for the season:

created per 27 outs
NL Rank
Werth 7.51 4
Ibanez 5.37 55

On the plus side, I find it pretty hard to believe that Amaro feels Ibanez and Werth had similar offensive seasons in 2010. But while I don’t know what he’s trying to do, I don’t think telling people that there wasn’t a lot of difference between what Werth and Ibanez did last year offensively isn’t likely to help him do it.

The Phils signed lefty Dan Meyer to a minor league deal, which is a great move. A former first-round pick of the Braves, Meyer is 29-years-old and threw to a 3.09 ERA and a 1.17 ratio for the Fish in 2009. That’s the only year of his career in which he’s thrown more than 30 innings in a season. He’s been hit hard in his non-’09 action, throwing to a 7.97 ERA with a 1.95 ratio over 55 1/3 innings.