Feb
20

Yankees agree to sign Raul Ibanez

By

(REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

In the least surprising news ever, the Yankees have agreed to sign Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal worth $1.1M according to Buster Olney and Joel Sherman. Ken Rosenthal says he can earn up to $4M if he hits all his incentives. We heard that the contract framework had been in place for weeks last night, but the team was waiting to see if they acquired a left-handed DH-type in an A.J. Burnett before committing. That didn’t happen, so here’s Ibanez. The deal is pending a physical, and Ibanez will report to camp on Thursday. Position players are required to report on Friday.

Ibanez, 39, was born in New York City but grew up in Miami. His overall offensive production has been steadily declining over the last few years, though he can still hit righties some (.322 wOBA) and has pop in his bat (.184 ISO vs. RHP last year). He also doesn’t strike out much against righties (15.6 K% last year). Ibanez is unusable against left-handers though (.254 wOBA with a 27.5 K% vs. LHP last year), and he’s been one of the very worst defensive outfielders in baseball over the last three seasons. If he sees any time in the field, it better be in an emergency only. He’s a good clubhouse guy according to all accounts, which is something the Yankees emphasize.

My gut feeling that the Yankees were waiting out Johnny Damon was wrong, as usual. Ultimately, I think they went with Ibanez over Damon for three reasons. One, he was asking for less money. Two, he’s less likely to make a big stink if he only gets 300 plate appearances this year. And three, he’s more reliable defensively in the sense that Damon only played 84 innings in the outfield last year and 352.1 innings over the last two years. I don’t love Ibanez, but it’s not like he’s vastly inferior to Damon. None of the available DH candidates are all that great frankly, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Categories : Transactions

83 Comments»

  1. Total Dominication says:

    In Cash we trust.

  2. Monterowasdinero says:

    Gag. Maybe he is good friends with Hamel and can be used to help acquire him.

    /reaching

    • Thomas Cassidy says:

      Not sure. But I think he’s good friends with A-Rod. They were born on the same street in New York. Maybe he can convince him to rework he deal.

      /Kay’d

  3. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    meh

  4. Monterowasdinero says:

    Looks like Gandhi, swings like Tino, runs like Jorge.

  5. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    They believe that he’s the best of the lot for $1 million. He’ll probably hit his HRs. and doubles coupled with Jones, this is doable DH. They both will keep their swings fresh as opposed to rusty with no action. And may out perform our minimum expectations but whatever they wear the pinstripes and should get our support.

    • OldYanksFan says:

      Correct. You can also read a $1.1m contract as a ‘We-will-DFA-You-mid-season-when-some-real-hitters-are-available’ contract.

      Only an act of God has Ibby on this team in August.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Where on earth does Scott Boras think he’s getting Damon DH AB’s? The only possible spots left are Detroit if they really plan on using Miggy at 3rd (dumbest idea ever), and maybe a part time role with the Jays or O’s.

  7. Countryclub says:

    Is he a pull hitter as a lefty? If so, he’ll have a low BA but hit 15-20 HRs because of YS3 (assuming he gets 300+ at bats)

    • G says:

      Last year, Raul pulled in 198 PAs, went to center in 152, and went to opposite field in 84. He’s definitely a pull hitter, maybe not as extreme as i thought but he certainly is. It should play well in YS3, but an upgrade should still be made at the deadline.

  8. Billion$Bullpen says:

    I am not saying this is why they signed him but when the Phillies made their first visit to the new Stadium in 2009 I was there watching BP and the only Phillies player that was chatted up by almost every single Yankees player. It was kind of odd, they all seemed to not only know him but really like him. Hand shakes and hugs and chatting all around. Especially Jeter. Again not saying this is any reason why they signed him but maybe its an extra bonus that he is considered a great guy that everybody likes. I am in the Philly area and he seems like a stand up guy who is accountable to the media and even fans. I like the guy from what I know about him.

    With all that said. I would have passed on signing him and used the roster spot for a kid thats already signed. Either way I do not really care as he seems to be shot but his $ is not a big deal.

    • DM says:

      He’s had that great rep around baseball for years. Hard working, overachieving, grinder-type who made himself better than he was. I wouldn’t say it was the primary reason, but I’m sure it was a factor. He’ll be down with the program. Also, I don’t think the Winn comparison is apt. This is a much different role — and much different player offensively.

      And I find the hatred of him — yet the support of a guy like Branyan — amazing. It’s bizarre how the ability to hit titanic HRs blinds fans from what the player really is — a guy who never hit for average, never was good enough to be a full-time player, and strikes out every 3rd AB. But Ibanez gets the jabs at his game? Strange.

      Branyan better hit .450 in ST with many HRs and poison Ibanez’s chaw — or he better hope Tex breaks his leg in ST. Other than that, he doesn’t have much of chance to go North — not that he ever really did.

      • Rookie says:

        You think?

        Branyan OPS against RHP before 2011:

        2010 .874

        2009 .905
        2008 1.029

        although (just like Ibanez) Branyan’s tended to suck on the road, too.

        • DM says:

          It’s funny how Ibanez’s 2011 is picked apart, but Branyan’s is excluded? And do you see a trend with Branyan’s OPS as we get closer to the present? It’s amazing how a few moon shots cloud judgement. You’d be booing his whiffs if you had to watch him on a regular basis rather than watching a “longest HR” countdown on MLB Network or something.

    • G says:

      I like Raul, he certainly seems like a great guy. However I’m just not convinced he can be a productive player anymore.

  9. The Manchine says:

    Anyone else rather grab Blake DeWitt instead of Chavez?

  10. MrPappageorgio says:

    In b4 Ibanez gets pull happy and they put a shift on him

  11. CMP says:

    Ibanez is the early leader for the Randy Winn cut before June award. I’d rather they signed Posada for 1 more year. Oh well, a lefty DH shouldn’t be too difficult to acquire around the All star break.

    • BigDavey88 says:

      Posada decided to retire?

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      I’ve been predicting he’ll be cut at the end of ST! And Chavez DL by April 15.

      Had the same thought about Posada. Serviceable from one side, and obviously a leader in the clubhouse assuming he (truly) accepted this very limited role. I get that Posada can’t field anywhere anymore, but we have enough defense-first OF talent in AAA in an emergency that I really don’t get the need for Ibañez given other options.

      • steve (different one) says:

        Right, except Posada said that he had decided before 2011 that it was his last year.

        There are all sorts of non-options I preferred to Ibanez. Granted, there were a few real options I preferred as well, but I guess Damon would rather take an extra million or two and lose 90 games in Baltimore…

  12. Cy Pettitte says:

    meh. also, like Mike and Joe mentioned on the podcast a ML deal does kind of ruin any competition for the DH spot with Branyan.

  13. Soriano Is A Liar says:

    Underreported fact, Raul Ibanez hit the longest home run in the history of New Yankee Stadium into the right field bleachers.

    • Monterowasdinero says:

      So now we have Branyan (longest HR) and Ibanez (longest bleacher HR).

      • Soriano Is A Liar says:

        Actually Ibanez’s was even longer, at 477 feet it was the longest “true” distance according to HR tracker. Branyan’s shots are a bit more ridiculous though, especially since to hit the 4th deck it has to not only be deep but high. I really hope Branyan somehow makes the team, I want to see just one of those monster shots FOR the Yankees instead of against them, just one! Is that so much to ask?

    • Murph1010 says:

      What is your handle about? Alfonso lying about his age?

      • Soriano Is A Liar says:

        Lol no, it’s from when CC was supposed to opt out and there was a poster on here called CC LIED. Of course, CC didn’t opt out so that handle disappeared quickly and I never got around to thinking of something new.

  14. Monterowasdinero says:

    And the Sterling HR call will be?

    • Cy Pettitte says:

      Raul just took (insert pitcher) to school!

    • Pete says:

      And Raul says “I-BAN-VOYAGE” to that ball!!!

      No?

    • steve (different one) says:

      The Iceman Cometh!!

      /guitar nerd

    • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

      Raul I-bomb-yez.

    • Rookie says:

      Raul! — He’s so COOL!

      or

      Raul! — You’re superCOOL!

      or

      Raul! — takes another pitcher to SCHOOL!

      or

      Raul! — His home runs RULE!

      or

      Raul! — He won the DUEL!

      or

      Raul! — Gives the Yankees FUEL!

      or

      Raul! — He’s so CRUEL!

      or

      Raul — He hits like a MULE!

      or

      Raul! — He’s no FOOL!

      or, given his age,

      Raul! — He still doesn’t DROOL!

      • Rookie says:

        Or:

        Raul! — You’re such a JEWEL!

        Or, if he continues to struggle on the road (the way he did the past two years):

        Raul! — At home, you’re no TOOL!

        or, if he loses patience,

        Raul! — Away from Yankee stadium, you hit like a pile of STOOL!

        or

        Raul! — On the road, you’re a TOOL!

        or

        Raul! — I guess Cashman was a FOOL!

        or

        Raul! — I’d actually prefer GRUEL!

        or

        Ibanez! — Where’s Tino Martinez?!

        or

        Ibanez! — Is it too late to get Ordonez?!

        or

        Ibanez! — He’s no Manny RAMIREZ!

        or

        Ibanez! — He’s a DH? Who sez?!

  15. OMG! Bagels! says:

    Maybe they think that KLong can make a difference like he did with CGrand (not on that scale, but maybe he wont’ be AS miserable against lefties.)

    • Needed Pitching says:

      if he’s facing lefties on any significant basis, something has gone horribly wrong.
      Best way to fix Ibanez vs. lefties … don’t play Ibanez against lefties.

  16. Monterowasdinero says:

    I see he wears 2 batting gloves. Guess he can control his prostate better than Jorge. I have found a difference in our nursing home DH’s!

  17. UncleArgyle says:

    Reason 4 for Ibanez over Damon: if he’s batting .180 in late May the Yankees can cut him and no one will give a shit. Dumping Damon like that would cause a big to do in the media and be a potential club house distraction.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I agree with this for slightly different reasons. They can cut him because the money is largely irrelevant. The ML min is about $500K, so they are basically paying him $600K in marginal dollars. If they got Damon to come down to $3M or so, and he’s toast, that’s more of a problem.

      I think they’ll prob acquire a bat for the stretch.

      I am lukewarm on Ibanez, but I still think the roster from top to bottom is very, very strong.

  18. will says:

    I’m intrigued by Zoilo Almonte’s clubhouse placement. Between Arod And Cano…

    I think they are trying to show him what they think of him, perhaps he can keep it going and become a Major leaguer next year?

  19. CJ says:

    To think “all we need” is Ibanez. That he’s “good enough” for Yanks to win 95-100 games is arrogance.

    • steve (different one) says:

      Is that what they are saying? Or are they saying, he’s fine for a few months while they see what else shakes loose?

      I know you are beating the drum for a trade, but I am sure they looked around. Once teams fall out of contention, bats will be available. But teams aren’t looking to shop components of their starting lineup right before spring training.

      Perfect example is Giambi. If the Rockies fall out of it, he’ll easily be available. Same with Hafner. But it’s hard to sell it to your fans that you are punting before the season starts.

  20. It’ll be less of a PR mess if Ibanez doesn’t work out, than if Damon were to not work out. Much easier to cut bait.

  21. Will (the other one) says:

    True or false: Ibanez will get even worse-looking when he has to shave his soul patch off.

  22. TrollHunter says:

    I think a Jones/Ibanez platoon at DH could put up some desent combined numbers by the end of the season. I’m optimistic about this move. Plus, I may be wrong but I was always under the impression that Ibanez was somewhat of a clutch hitter which the Yankees definately could have used last year. (especially in the play-offs.)

  23. Nick says:

    randy winn part 2

  24. pistol pete says:

    Ibanez is finished, we just signed the next Randy Winn. Why is it always cheap to blow a million rather than spend a little more and get someone better. Go read the Phlly blogs, the fans know, Ibanez is a real nice guy who has worked hard to stay in shape but is failing badly. He can’t catch up to a fastball anymore, absolutely can’t hit leftys, can’t field at all, and will clog up the base paths when his 289 obp puts him on his station to station base paths. This signing is stupid. I miss George, he would have never put up with nonsense like this. With all the great baseball players in the world we give a starting spot to a washed up 40 yr old who’s obviously in total decline, please, we are the YANKEES.

    • Needed Pitching says:

      “absolutely can’t hit leftys, can’t field at all”

      facts that aren’t particularly relevant for a LH platoon DH

      • pistol pete says:

        It’s a process, he’s breaking down. First he can’t hit leftys next it will be rightys. It happened to Posada, it happened to Randy Winn, it happened to Matsui in Oakland last year. Players at 40 don’t get better, he’ll get worse and get released just like Winn did. This is a complete waste of time and money. To devote a DH spot with 300 to 400 bats to this dinasaur is absurd, for Gods sake were the Yankees.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          “It happened to Posada”

          Posada was the Yankees 4th best hitter vs. RHP last year. If Ibanez managed Posada’s numbers against RHP this year, the Yankees would be thrilled.

          Anyways, Ibanez is likely to just be a cheap placeholder until a legit righty masher becomes available via trade near the deadline. None of the current free agent options are likely to be significantly better (if better at all) vs. RHP than Ibanez, and certainly none of the current free agents fit the Yankee need of a righty masher.

          In all likelihood, this is just a temporary move.

          • pistol pete says:

            Posada played well in the playoffs the rest of the year he stunk. What the hell were you guys watching. Joe tried to bat hin 9th, now that’s a great spot for a dh, please.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          out of curiosity, who (that’s actually available) would you have preferred?
          Damon is a dinosaur as well, just a more expensive dinosaur.

    • Chen Meng Wang says:

      “Why is it always cheap to blow a million then spend a little more to get someone better?” CC, AJ, A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and Swisher all say hi. Btw I’m absolutely sure that Cashman didn’t think about this at all before signing Ibanez, he just said “Meh, I’ve heard of this guy before, let’s sign him.” And honestly, if George was still around we would have 100s of signings like this but for much more money because George liked an over the hill player and would tell his GM to sign at all costs. You do realize when he was in control of the team (1983-1992) The Yankees didn’t make the playoffs once. He gets banned for the whole Winfield thing, and we start the late 90s dynasty. He comes back…and I’m sorry what happened between 2001-2008? I don’t remember a lot of rings…

    • Rainbow connection says:

      George was an idiot.

  25. OldYanksFan says:

    “My gut feeling that the Yankees were waiting out Johnny Damon was wrong, as usual. ”

    No…. I think you have a valid point.
    But ultimately, the conversation went like this.

    Cashman: We are about to sign Ibanez for around $1m. We’ld rather have you, but money really matters. Wanna give me your best price?
    Damon: Sure… I can do $4.9m

    Cashman: But I though you loved being a Yankee and have some good friends here. Doesn’t that enter into the equatiion?
    Damon: Jeez… you’re right! OK, you can have me for $4.8m

    Cashman: Christ Johnny… doesn’t WINNING mean anything to you?
    Damon: Of course… OF COURSE! OK, you can steal me for $4.7m

    Cashman: Look…. you fucked yourself in the asshole 2 years ago. Be smart. Play on a winning team that you love with you’re old buddies. What’s it gonna be.
    Damon: Well… my asshole hurts just saying this but….
    YOU CAN HAVE ME FOR $4.5m. Take it or leave it.

    Cashman: Raul says Thank You Very Much!

  26. LiterallyFigurative says:

    I have no issue with the signing, as I think Ibanez will do well against RHP, and Jones will do his thing vs. LHP. We have, in essence, a switch hitting DH that if given 500 PA’s, you could guestimate 30 hrs and 100 rbis from them.

    Damon might have been a better option, but he wasn’t going to sign for anything comparable to what Ibanez got.

  27. Nick says:

    date raul gets released?

  28. Chief101 says:

    Hopefully Raul doesn´t dissapoint.
    I was always hoping Yanks were going to use their pitching depth (which they still have) to aquire a young bat – e.g. Brown (Phillies).
    So, any chance of a Hughes + Heathcott (or something similar) for Brown swap?

  29. Ted Nelson says:

    I’d be willing to bet he’s gone by the deadline… If not before the season

  30. pistol pete says:

    Agree, then why waste th $1m. Let someone young play why take up 300 or 400 at bats that could go elsewhere.

  31. jw128 says:

    I hate idiotic statements like this. Just remember that it comes from some obscure person who’s knowledge of the game is limited to what he/she reads in blogs and news articles.

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