The Downside of Raul Ibanez

Poll: Rafael Soriano's Opt-Out Clause
Aardsma throws scoreless inning in first minor league rehab appearance
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Once the Yankees traded Jesus Montero to the Mariners, they were left to pluck the scrap heap for a platoon DH option. They passed on former Bombers Johnny Damon (60 wRC+ in 135 PA for the Indians) and Hideki Matsui (39 wRC+ in 53 PA for the Rays) in favor of Raul Ibanez, who has produced an essentially league average 99 wRC+ in just shy of 200 PA this year. He and Derek Jeter carried the offense through the first six weeks of the season, but the last six weeks have been a different story for Raul…

First 33 games: .282/.333/.588 with seven homers, seven walks, and eight strikeouts in 93 PA

Last 33 games: .196/.250/.359 with three homers, five walks, and 13 strikeouts in 100 PA

Brought in to be that left-handed platoon DH, Ibanez has started 36 of the team’s 66 games — including 24 of the last 34 — in the outfield because of Brett Gardner‘s injury. At age 40, I think it’s fair to wonder if all the unexpected time in the outfield has worn him down a bit. At the same time, we also have to acknowledge that Raul has always been one of the streakiest players in baseball. He could just be in one of those slumps before picking it back up, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Gardner’s continued elbow trouble means Ibanez will see more time in the outfield in the coming weeks. The rest of the offense has come around so his offensive slide hasn’t hurt them in the standings, and this is usually the way things go most of the time anyway. Not everyone in the lineup hits at the same time, different players carry the team at different parts of the season. When you’re like the Yankees and you have a lineup full of strong hitters, the individual slumps don’t hurt as much. Hopefully Ibanez gets back to hitting like he was in April and this little dry spell is nothing more than a blip on the radar.

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Poll: Rafael Soriano's Opt-Out Clause
Aardsma throws scoreless inning in first minor league rehab appearance
  • Robinson Tilapia

    Guys who are supposed to be part-time players tend to get exposed that way when playing every day.

    I don’t know what to say. It sure doesn’t seem like he’s slumping. The numbers surprised me a bit. He hasn’t been a complete embarassment in the field and has gotten his share of timely hits. That being said, I can’t wait to see Gardner back.

    • Larch

      Maybe some more Jones in the OF would help too. Even against the occasional RHP.

    • mustang

      Seriously what do people expect if he had the numbers from the first 33 games all the time he would probably be a full time player somewhere.

      All this tell us is something most of us should know:

      1-Raul Ibanez is part-time player.
      2- they need Gardner back.
      3- if they don’t get Gardner back they a suitable replacement.

      Not rocket science.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’m not rushing for #3. I think that, if Wise can’t be trusted offensively to take some starts, then Dickerson really needs to take his place and spell Ibanez some until Gardner returns. I don’t think it’s dire, and I think Ibanez is as much a .196 hitter as he is a .300 hitter.

        • mustang

          I’m not in a rush, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on heading into the trading deadline. Never know with Swisher probably walking next season they might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

  • TheOneWhoKnocks

    If it were up to me I’d stick one of Dickerson, Wise or Mustelier in LF and continue with the Ibanez/Jones DH platoon.

    It’s the best way to ensure Jones and Ibanez stay healthy all season, and you also don’t have to suffer through Ibanez in the OF.

    It probably made sense in the short term, but as Gardner continues to suffer setbacks and Ibanez continues to struggle with more being asked of him, I think you have to address it now and stop waiting for Gardner to come back.

    • Rainbow Connection (futurely Dummies Playing With Balls and/or RI$P FTW)

      out of those 3 i vote dickerson. i dont know why wise’s name even gets brought up. the guys terrible (and with dickerson, expendable).

      • Robinson Tilapia

        He’s not terrible. He’s a solid fifth outfielder who will find himself filling in somewhere on an MLB team just about every season. If you try to make him more than that, you’re going to get what you paid for, but there’s merit in being a fifth outfielder type.

  • Dan

    Mike, could Dickerson come up at some point soon to take over the LF responsibility and let Ibanez go back to being more of a platoon DH? It seems like Dickerson would be an upgrade over Wise.

  • fin

    I certainly am not going to complain about Ibanez, he has already done more than I ever thought he would. I doubt he gets as hot as he was to start the season again, but he helped keep the team going while everyone else was struggling. If you told me the Yankees would get that kind of production, at that specific time from Ibanez, before the season started, I think we all would have signed up for it. I look at anything from Ibanez from here on out as a bonus.

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    In my Dennis Green voice:

    ‘He is who we thought he was!’

  • dkidd

    some see voldemort

    i see eric bana in a bald cap

    • Gonzo

      Wow, good catch.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I still see nothing but Jiminy Cricket.

      • Gonzo

        Darn it, that’s good too.

        • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

          A lighter shade of Gandhi.

          • Gonzo

            I’m too old to have a band, but if I started a band, I would name it Lighter Shade of Gandhi.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Google both names together. Lots of comparisons. Did NOT come up with that one on my own.

          • Gonzo

            Shoulda took the credit and ran. :)

            • Robinson Tilapia

              IT WUZ MA JOKE ALL ALONG.

  • Jonathan

    we all lamented that the Pineda-Montero came too late for us to sign Giambi or Thome…we just never expected BOTH teams to be so far out we could probably get one to replace Ibanez for next to nothing. Of course they’ll probably give Branyan or cust a shot first but I’d go with the Thome/Giambi plan if it costs little in prospects and Ibanez continues to play like this.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I don’t quite remember anyone lamenting anything that even resembled that, plus you’re advocating for one 40-ish guy versus another. I think any of these guys would show some signs of decline if pushed to play in the outfild every day due to injury.

      I also don’t think anyone’s considering pulling the plug on Ibanez entirely.

      • mustang

        BINGO!!!!

        Agree 100%

        You’re on a roll today…..lol.

        My over/under on the name Montero coming up here was 30 comments I took under.

        WINNER!!!!

        • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

          The only quality homegrown righty bat since Jeter is worthy of mention in…

          every thread :-)

          • Robinson Tilapia

            See, this is where you and the rest of humanity are going to have to agree to disagree.

          • mustang

            Yes only by the those who have yet to realize that is GONE!

            RISP .194/.254/.306/.560 he would fit right in.

            21 SB 6 CS = .222 CS % That would make him next to last in the AL and 4th from the bottom in MLB. That’s part-time BTW..

            Shhhhhhhhh

            • mustang

              HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
              10 32 12 21 .237 .290 .469 .759

              8 28 13 52 .266 .303 . 418 .721

              Who is who?

              • The Irony Guy

                You hate the Montero comments but for every mention of Montero you post 5 times the comments of how much he sucks.

                • mustang

                  I don’t hate the Montero comments I find them funny because RIGHT NOW the reality doesn’t add up to the madness.

                  I’m not saying he sucks the numbers speak for themselves. He is a young talented player I’m sure he will do better and I’m sure we all will hear about when he does.

                  • Robinson Tilapia

                    Mustang and I both hope he enters the HOF on the first ballot.

                    • mustang

                      I will save you a seat next to me in Cooperstown.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  This would constitute correct usage of the “Irony Guy” persona.

            • mustang

              To be fair

              Raul RISP .211/.277/.439/.716

        • Jonathan

          Dude…it had nothing to do with Montero. His name was mentioned. That’s it. What was your over/under on the name Cust/Branyan/Giambi/Thome/Ibanez/Pineda coming up? Because they were all mentioned as many times or more than Montero…and besides Pineda…they were actually relevant to the comment and conversation.

      • Jonathan

        Um, why on earth did you think I was talking about putting Giambi or Thome in the OF? I’m talking about when Gardner comes back we’ll still need a lefty DH option and if Ibanez falls off a cliff like 2009 then Giambi or especially Thome would be the PERFECT lefty platoon DH with Andruw. Oh, and Ibanez has been on a seriously decline for longer than a few weeks. He’s never been Thome or Giambi’s equal and if Thome or Giambi were around after the Pineda-Montero trade Ibanez wouldn’t have probably been considered. And I’m not sure if you know this or not….but just because you don’t remember something….doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And you have like $1MM invested in Ibanez and isn’t really doing well. If this continues and we have a chance to upgrade…why wouldn’t we?

        This has nothing to do with Montero or how he’s producing or anything. The trade just so happened to go down late enough that the 2 best options for platoon lefty DH were off the board. That’s it. If other people on here have their issues with Montero..good or bad..fine but just imagine I just said the Pineda trade instead of the Pineda-Montero trade.

        • DM

          Except they were looking to rotate the DH, and chose Ibanez over Damon, Matsui, Vlad, etc b/c he could play the OF for an extended period — like he’s doing now. It wasn’t timing; it was preference. Cashman was very explicit in his comments regarding that decision. DH only types were never the target.

          • Jonathan

            I believe the difference between Thome/Giambi and those guys would have made a difference. Yeah between Ibanez/Damon/Matsui/Vlad taking the guy who could pay the OF might be the right move, but if someone hits righties like Thome/Giambi I think that’d change their thinking. You can always find a Dickerson etc to play the OF. Andruw is a more than capable 4th OF. What would you rather have right now: Dickerson in the OF and Thome DHing or Ibanez in the OF and Chavez or Andruw DHing? Dickerson/Thome is better offensively AND defensively than Ibanez in the OF and another bench player at DH.

            • DM

              You can have that opinion — but you mixed it in with an assessment of what they(and we) were thinking — which contradicts what they’ve been saying. You may like that scheme better, and that’s fine. But to imply that they missed out, as though Cashman would’ve gone your route, is a leap. I don’t think the DH signing had anything to do with the timing of the trade. Even after it — when everyone assumed that they’d clamor for a full-time DH — Cashman took calls from the agents of those DHs; but he didn’t make them. He said that getting another bat was a “low priority”. Those guys didn’t drop from the menu b/c of the timing of the Montero trade; they were never on it. You may not like that — but that’s what happened.

              And if we’re just talking personal preference, I could see upgrading if you could find it in an outfielder. In your scheme, they have to drop OF to give a Giambi/Thome a spot. Gardner comes back and takes Wise’s spot, right? Ibanez gets dropped for Giambi/Thome, right? How can Dickerson be on the roster? Who gets dropped to add him?

  • Rich in NJ

    Not surprisingly, he has been much better at home:

    H: .291 .344 .581 .925 (93 PA)
    A: .187 .240 .363 .603 (100 PA)

  • yooboo

    Ibanez is still a solid signing.

    Educate us about another Cuban deflector Yasel Puig.

    • yooboo

      defector

    • Gonzo

      Haven’t seen him jump a box yet, so I’ll withhold judgement.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      15 years, $100 million from the Cubs, including an opt-out option following every trip to the restroom and a gourmet meal prepared every night by a bottomless Theo Epstein.

      There will also be plenty of comments as to the Yankees not doing enough to sign the guy.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        And let’s not forget the Theo oral clause.

    • mustang

      My question is how many more of these guys are out there? There seem to be a different one every month.

      I think Fidel Castro is fucking with us.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        It’s the Mariel Boatlift all over again. Soon, he’ll empty out the prisons and mental hospitals, which will be followed by people here clamoring for the Yankees to sign one guy who actually thinks he’s another guy.

        • Gonzo

          You want Barry Bonds? We got a guy that thinks he is Barry Bonds. You want want Griffey Jr.? We got him too.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Know what totally has to be a made-up Cuban name? Ronnier Mustellier.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Before Sunday’s game in DC, Ibanez threw about 25 baseballs off the padded wall in LF from just in front of the warning track to gauge the bounceback.

    Raul Ibanez-he’s got an Edge.

    • Gonzo

      Or… he got plastered the night before and he was practicing catching the middle ball.

      • jsbrendog

        ietc

  • bg90027

    I doubt it’s wear and tear. He’s had 11 full games off through 65 games with many others solely DH’ing. He played 144 games and 155 games in the two prior years, presumably all in the OF. He’s always been a streaky player and right now he’s just going through a bad streak.

    • fin

      I think we are at the part of his career where most of it is a bad streak. We got his good streak early in the season, when we needed it. What hes doing now, is what I think most of us thought we would be getting for a full year. It would be nice if he heated up again, but I’m not gona count on it.

  • loudog27

    Are Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero options at some point?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      No and no.

    • mustang

      OMG HELLLLLLLL NOOOOO!

      and no

    • Robinson Tilapia

      While I want to say “no,” who am I to rob humanity of the sight of Manny in pinstripes?

    • Jonathan

      as I mentioned earlier Giambi/Thome are perfect lefty platoon DH options that wouldn’t cost much in money or prospects and are both on bad teams. we already have a great righty DH who’s the laziest player I’ve seen in years.

  • Brian S.

    He sucks.

  • Steve (different one)

    In my mind, Ibanez was going to be the guy you hoped would get you to the trade deadline. I think he has basically done that. In a few weeks, other options will become available, and if he’s still struggling, they can upgrade. Maybe from within with Branyan, maybe via trade.

    I agree that Gardner’s injury has forced him into a more prominent role, and that isn’t necessarily fair, but he’s done ok.

    I was definitely wrong about Damon though.

    • mustang

      Agree on all parts.

    • Jonathan

      I agree 100%. What do you think about my options of Giambi/Thome at the deadline? They’re both on bad teams and not making much money. We know they can handle big markets and are good clubhouse guys. Giambi is off to a slow start so far but he’s still walking more than striking out..I believe in his power and he’s walking at a rate 3 times what Ibanez is right now. And Giambi is the 2nd option here. He’s got a .393 wOBA against RHP this year and only making $1.25MM on the year..so obviously less than 1/2 of that.

      • Deep Thoughts

        First of all, stop repeating yourself in every friggin thread.

        Secondly, both these guys are at least 1.5 years older than Ibanez, offer zero defensive value to the Yankees with current roster (don’t need any more 1B depth behind Chavez and Swisher, thanks), and represent such a negligible difference, if any, in offensive output that it’s not worth giving up anything of value to obtain either one.

        This is the oldest roster in baseball, with one of the best records in baseball. They don’t need another “clubhouse guy” and in any case Ibanez already fits the bill.

        I will take Ibanez slugging .489 over Giambi’s .364 with three times the walks. XBHs > Giambi sitting on first waiting to become the front end of a DP.

        In short, I think it’s fiddling with the team for its own sake without significantly improving the roster. I’d just stick with Ibanez over those other guys.

    • DM

      Except Branyan can only back up 1st base. If/when Gardner returns, Ibanez will play less OF — but he won’t be banned from it. He and Jones will still get some reps as the season wears on. They won’t dump an OF in this scheme to bring in a 1st base or DH only type. Hopefully Gardner can come back, play some CF at times, and get Granderson into the DH rotation — with Ibanez/Jones getting in LF those days.