It’s official: Yankees sign Raul Ibanez


The Yankees have official signed Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal, the team announced. Yesterday we heard that the contract was worth $1.1M with incentives that could push the total value to $4M. The Yankees had an open 40-man roster spot following the A.J. Burnett trade, so no other roster move is required. I don’t love the signing, so please go and prove me wrong Raul.

Categories : Asides, Transactions
  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    They gave Raul Ibanez a major league deal? Damn it.

    • DM

      Of course. There would’ve be no reason to wait for the Burnett deal to go thru if they were signing him to a non-guaranteed, minor league deal like Branyan’s. I expect the same for Chavez.

      • Havok9120

        I don’t, but only because we’re out of 40-man spots. If my count is off, then you’re probably right.

        • DM

          nah, 60-day DL for Joba and Pedro opens spots. There was never any roster crunch.

  • JohnC

    Why all the Ibanez hate? Matsui’s knees are shot. Damon is a shell of his former self, and Guererro looks like he is ready for a wheelchair. Ibanez is only gonna play against righties, which he owns, and has always hit well in YS. I don’t get it.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Because he’s also a “shell of his former self.” He’s basically a one tool player, from one side of the plate. Damon can at least still hit righties and lefties, swipe the occassional base, and still get to a ball in the outfield.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        still get to a ball in the outfield.

        We don’t know that at all. Damon was terrible defensively in 2009, and has played about 400 innings in the field over the last two years. Not that Ibanez is great or even good defensively, but at least he’s played the field last two years.

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          Okay, we certainly don’t “know” that and I know that using a single season “Fld” score isn’t perfect, but JD’s Fld in ’09, a year in which we we able to see him on a daily basis and know that he was not good, was -4.4. In comparison, Ibanez is coming off of a year in which his was -18.9, lower than any other OF in the game.

      • http://yes jim

        Clay….what was Marcus Thames? (Maybe even Andruw)

        • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

          What’s your point? Thames wasn’t retained for his lack of fielding abilty.

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t really have a problem with it, I just don’t expect much. Would have preferred a MiLB deal. If they can get a long enough look at both he and Branyan, I think there’s a decent chance one of the two has a decent year. Branyan might walk if he hits in ST and isn’t put on the roster in favor of Ibanez, though. So that’s my only real concern.

      The issue to me is that Ibanez doesn’t own RHP. Not in years. http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....8;season=0 .332, .352, .362, .351… it’s been since 2007 that he really owned RHP. He might be pretty solid, but the upside seems limited. If he does bounce back at 40 years old… maybe you get a .350 wOBA against RHP which is very solid but nothing special. If not… he’s terrible. I like Branyan’s upside because he actually owns RHP when he’s right… nice to have both, though. Can just ditch them both if it doesn’t work and look for a (cheap) bat at the deadline.

  • Raza

    Here’s to Russell Branyan beating him out in ST… (I know its a very unlikely scenario because of Ibanez’ ML contract)

    • DM

      And Branyan is a better option why?

      • Ted Nelson

        Because he crushed RHP 3 of the last 4 years… a claim Ibanez cannot make. Ibanez handled RHP solidly 3 of the past 4 years.

        I like having both, to see who looks like they’ve got more left in the tank in ST (competing with Dickerson, Maxwell, Hall if they sign Chavez, etc.). I just prefer Branyan looks better and wins out, because I see his upside as a lot higher.

    • CJ

      Branyan is not making the team. He’s shot. There is a chance that Raul Ibanez provides a veteran professional hitter better than Jorge 2011. There is an equal chance he is toast, one season too long. I’d say 50-50 with no in-between

      • Ted Nelson

        Why do you say that Branyan is shot and not Ibanez?

        Not sure if you’re aware, but Branyan hits RHP a whole lot better than Ibanez. I’d call Branyan the 50/50 extremes guy, because if he’s healthy he creams RHP but he might not be healthy. With Ibanez’s odds as… I don’t know… 70% pretty crappy (.360 wOBA).

        • Jonathan

          BUT HE’S ALMOST NEVER HEALTHY. I’d agree with your logic that Branyan has more upside than Ibanez but you wanted Branyan over Damon and your logic was that Damon didn’t hit lefties well last year but didn’t mention the fact that Branyan was garbage and injured that same year.

          • Ted Nelson

            Branyan was healthy 2 of the last 3 years… is that almost never?

          • Ted Nelson

            And apparently the Yankees wanted both Branyan and Ibanez over Damon for some combination of reasons… so not sure what your point is there.

      • Needed Pitching

        the likelihood is none of the options are better than Jorge vs. RHP
        Jorge had 814 ops/ 353 wOBA/ 118 wRC+ vs. RHP last year (4th best of the Yankee regulars, shockingly)

        Ibanez exceeded that wOBA and wRC+ vs. RHP only once in the past 4 years -.362/119 in 2009

        Branyan exceeded that vs. RHP in 3 of the past 4 years (.422/ 159 in 2008, .380/ 134 in 2009, .375/ 137 in 2010)

        Damon (for reference) exceeded Posada’s 2011 numbers vs. RHP in 2 of the past 4 years (2008 and 2009 – 388/138 and 375/137)

        Branyan had the worst results of the 3 last season vs. RHP(only 133 PA fwiw), but he is also the youngest of the 3, so likely has the best chance of the 3 to be a beast vs. RHP. Damon and Ibanez ceiling now would probably be at best slightly above average hitting vs. RHP.

  • Vegetable Lasagna

    I would have prefered Johnny. We know what he can bring to a club. Just two years ago his steal of not one but two bases on the same play helped us to win a WS. Just two years ago Hideki was Pedro’s daddy and WS MVP. Why is an older Ibanez any better than these two Yankee greats?

    • hogsmog

      Because they aren’t those Yankee greats anymore. They’re those Yankee greats with shitty knees.

      Though I still would have gone with Johnny over Raul (but remember, we don’t even know if Damon would have taken the part-time deal we were selling)

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Because two years can be the difference between an aging star on a decline and an aging player who is pretty much done.

      Same can obviously be said for Ibanez, but he is who the team chose, so we shall see.

      I expect lots of LOUD NOISES and MORAL INDIGNATION on this thread.

    • DM

      Cashman was on with Kay yesterday. He said he felt that Damon, Matsui and Vlad could all help the Yankees — but the thing that put Ibanez ahead of them all was the ability to play in field for an extended period if needed. He didn’t feel the others could provide that. Nothing about quality defense — just durability to give some coverage. Cashman also felt that he didn’t have much OF coverage at the AAA level either. No one to call up to play for an extended period. It’s really not a mystery as to why Ibanez became the target. He played LF every day last year. The criteria Cashman/Girardi set targeted a “DH” who could play in the field — not a DH that could ONLY DH.

      • mike

        thats kind of disingenous on Cash’s part – Damon could certainly stand in LF and pretend to play the position as well as if not better than Ibanez, and the only reason Ibanez played the field was that he played in the NL, and Tampa had better OF options .

        Additionally, for Ibanez/Damon to get more than an occasional game in the field would mean two of Gard / Swish/ Andruw/ Granderson were unable to play the field….and in that case IMO a Dickerson/Nunez would be in the OF instead of Ibanez/Damon

        • Ted Nelson

          Agreed. I don’t really care between Ibanez and Damon, but I would rather they got the guy they think can still hit (which I’m hoping is Branyan because of his upside vs. Ibanez or Damon).

          The one thing is that I think Dickerson is out of options (as well as Maxwell). So if he’s not opening the season with the team, he might well be gone. Granted, they can probably find someone just a hair worse than Dickerson who is in the same situation with another team. Didn’t they already sign Wise? Dickerson in LF vs. Ibanez in LF is another situation where I don’t really care too much if Ibanez is hitting enough to make up for the defensive difference… the odds of which are pretty questionable.

        • DM

          Again, it’s about durability rather than comparing quality. Let’s say Damon played 130 games in LF last year (proving he’s still physically capable) — but Ibanez played only 15 games in LF, then I think Damon would’ve been higher on the pecking order. I think the Yankees feel comfortable running Raul out there for a month if someone got hurt. But they thought Damon/Matsui/Vlad couldn’t hold up for that long.

          Also, I don’t think a Dickerson/Nunez scenario would be preferable long-term when it comes to offense. JMO, and I’m not a big Dickerson fan, and who knows what Nunez would do in the field. I could see Nunez making a spectacular running, diving catch one play, then dropping a pop-up the next.

        • fin

          I dont think there is anything disingenous about it. Becasue Cashman doesnt agree with you, doesnt make him disengenous. I tend to think both Damon and Ibanez can fake it equal as poorly in the outfield, but it doesnt suprise me the Yankees have a different opinion. Nunez may not be avialable to play the outfield as he may very well be busy playing the infield. Dickerson is out of options and may no longer be a Yankee by the end of ST.
          Not to mention, do you still like Damon on a 5m deal? There is no evidence that his price has come down. Does Damon even want to be a part time DH? He had interest in the Yankees DH position but we have no idea if he had interest in being the part time DH. He very well may have had interst in the full time DH position with Jones going back to 4th outfielder only.

          • Havok9120

            I agree with all of this to the n-th degree.

            Especially the part about disagreeing =\= disingenuous. Just because someone or a group of someone’s has a different opinion does not mean they are lying or stupid. It just means they think you’re wrong.

        • Needed Pitching

          the issue is Damon has barely played the field in the past 2 years, he may be better defensively ( he may not be, they’re both pretty weak at this point), but they don’t know for sure if Damon would be able to spend extended time in the OF if the need arose ( because he hasn’t done that the past 2 years)

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    Better than Mitre.

  • DM


    Oops. Girardi said the C word when discussing the rotating DH.

    • fin

      LOL yea, well I guess at this point we expect the Chavez signing to be announced at any minute. Its odd though that he mentioned him at 1st base and not third base. They did say they wanted to get Nunez more playing time. Could be Nunez gets all the infield back up spots except first base, with Chavez getting very limited time and servers as more of an insurance/depth role than actual backup. While I would much rather see Nunez playing than Chavez, I would rather see Chavez in the game than Pena.

  • Jonathan

    Somebody please tell me where Damon thinks he’s getting a better job than what we were offering? The only place I can see him getting a full time DH job is if the Tigers are truly series about Miggy at 3B and Prince at 1B. It would make sense with Boras fleecing Ilitch again.

    • DM

      Where ever he lands, he’ll say that’s where he wanted to be the whole time. And he wanted a reunion with the Yankees in the worst way! (as long as they meet his price, and not a nickel less)

    • fin

      I bet Damon gets a chance at a full time job by the end of ST. Someone will get hurt/ be ineffective. He might even get his 5m if a team is desperate enough. I think the fulltime job is more likely than the 5m though.

      • DM

        I wouldn’t doubt it. He’s a dmart, professional hitter — but his blind reliance on Boras has turned him into a year-to-year team changer who always signs late. He should’ve told Boras to make a Yankee deal happen two years ago. He would’ve continued to pop 20hrs a yr with the Yankees, and his HofF credentials would look a little better because of it.

        • fin

          Eh, Damon is the boss, if he really wanted to stay a Yankee more than he wanted the money, thats what would have happend. I’m in no position to judge a guy getting the most money he can for doing his job. They thought they could get a few more dollars by leaving the Yankees, and turned out to be wrong.
          I do think it was a bad risk to take. If I recall the yankees offer was a fair offer, and there was no reason to believe he would get much more than that on the open market. He certainly wasnt the first player to refuse to take a pay cut from his current team to turn around and sign with another team for the same or worse pay cut.
          For all we know, Boris could have told Damon that his market value was what the Yankees were offering but Damon wanted more. These guys dont work for Boris, no matter how good at his job he is, he works for them.

          • DM

            I agree — and I wasn’t implying that it doesn’t boil down to Damon. He is the boss, but some Boras clients leave it all to his judgement rather than stepping in at certain times to make sure a deal happens. Damon’s a proud player, and has always felt that he didn’t get his due as the star he thinks he is. But I do disagree with one point you made — “They thought they could get a few more dollars by leaving the Yankees, and turned out to be wrong.” I’d adjust it slightly and say they thought they could get those few more dollars from the Yankees themselves — then some Boras damage control thru the press after he over-played his hand (which he’s done a few times before). Cashman got ticked off at his bogus depiction of the negotiation process.

  • Russ

    I don’t love Ibanez but considering the options (and Damon wants 5 mil?), I guess I’m ok with it. Like you said Mike , hopefully he will prove us wrong.