Archive for Raul Ibañez
It’s hard to believe that after everything that happened last week, today is the first day of the Winter Meetings in Orlando. These next three days — the fourth day of the Winter Meetings is always slow because teams head home around noon-ish — might be a little slower than usual only because some of the very top free agents are always off the board. I still expect this week to be pretty busy, with lots of rumors and trades and signings with whatnot.
Robinson Cano is leaving for the Mariners and Curtis Granderson is going across town to the Mets, but the Yankees have already inked Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153M), Brian McCann (five years, $85M), Carlos Beltran (three years, $45M), Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16M), and Kelly Johnson (one year, $3M). They still need another infielder to help replace Cano as well as another starting pitcher — Yu Darvish was posted during the 2011 Winter Meetings, so hopefully we get some clarification about Masahiro Tanaka this week — and some bullpen help. General depth is always something to monitor as well.
Brian Cashman is not expected to arrive in Orlando until this afternoon according to Andy McCullough, but that’s pretty typical. A few clubs and executives are already there but most trickle in throughout Monday. We’re going to keep track of any Yankees-related news right here throughout the day, so make sure you check back often. All of the timestamps are ET.
- 10:58pm: The Yankees have not changed their stance on Gardner. They will listen to offers but aren’t overly motivated to trade him. [Jack Curry]
- 7:47pm: The asking price for Gardner is “through (the) roof” and the Giants don’t have much interest in Ichiro Suzuki. Not surprised on either count. [John Shea]
- 6:58pm: The Giants are intrigued by Gardner. One person involved in talks called a trade “not likely, but not impossible.” [Sherman]
- 6:38pm: The most likely return for Gardner would be a number four starter, according to rival executives. A number three would be a strong return. Just keep him in that case. [McCullough]
- 5:05pm: The Yankees are looking for relievers and they have stayed in contact with Boone Logan. He had a bone spur removed from his elbow after the season and is expected to start throwing this month. [McCullough]
- 5:01pm: Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz will be eligible to sign on February 19th after being suspended for falsifying his age. The Yankees had a “large presence” at the 23-year-old’s recent showcase events in Mexico. Some teams like him more as a second baseman. [Jeff Passan]
- 11:10am: The Yankees have not expressed interest in Johan Santana. He’s coming off his second torn shoulder capsule and the first is usually the kiss of death. [McCullough]
- 11:03am: Thinking about Roy Halladay? Forget it. He’s retiring. Halladay will sign a one-day contract with the Blue Jays and make the official announcement later today. [Jon Heyman]
- The Yankees are one of the teams with interest in trading for Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija. I wrote about him around the trade deadline. [Bruce Levine]
- 9:00am: “That’s the last thing I’m worried about,” said Cashman when asked about acquiring a closer. He acknowledged they’re seeking another starter and bullpen help in general. “Listen, we have enough voids that you don’t have to prioritize any of it. You hope to run into something sooner than later that makes you better.” [Dan Martin]
- The Yankees did look into a reunion with Raul Ibanez but he isn’t much of a fit now. The outfield is crowded and there’s no room for another DH-type. Ibanez is expected to sign this week. [Joel Sherman]
- The Yankees still have interest in Omar Infante as a Cano replacement. They are not talking to Mark Ellis, however. [Ken Rosenthal]
Reminder: Your trade proposal sucks.
Via George King & Ken Davidoff: The Yankees have some interest in a reunion with Raul Ibanez. I assume he would come back in the same role he held last summer, meaning part-time DH and part-time outfielder. At least that was the plan before Brett Gardner‘s injury forced into into the field on a nearly everyday basis. Obviously the Yankees know him well and are comfortable with what he brings to the table.
Ibanez, 41, hit .242/.307/.487 (117 wRC+) with 29 homers in 496 plate appearances for the Mariners this past season, though he was awesome in the first half (24 HR and 143 wRC+) and a disaster in the second half (5 HR and 79 wRC+). Raul whacked 19 homers with a 102 wRC+ for New York in 2012, but remember, he was pretty terrible before he started hitting all those insanely clutch homers in late-September and October. Despite his awful defense and complete inability to hit lefties, I do think Ibanez makes some sense for the current Yankees roster in a limited role. The question is whether he wants to stay close to his Seattle home.
Eleven, yes eleven questions this week. I combined two into one so there are only ten answers. Needless to say, I went rapid fire. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us stuff, mailbag questions or otherwise.
Dustin asks: With Jarrod Saltalamacchia not getting a qualifying offer, does he become a more attractive option for the Yankees over Brian McCann? Or does the fact that he only has one above-average season keep McCann in the lead?
It’s a combination of several things, really. The lack of track record and defensive shortcomings mostly. I do think there’s a strong case to be made that Salty at his price (three years, $36M?) is a better deal than McCann at his price (five years, $80M plus a pick?). Given where the Yankees are as a franchise, with some young catchers on the way and payroll coming down, a shorter term deal for a backstop makes more sense than going big on McCann. I would prefer Carlos Ruiz in that case — he is a far better defender than Saltalamacchia, plus he should come even cheaper — but I think McCann is elite relative to his position. Guys like that are hard to pass up.
Nick asks: So it seems that Texas would be willing to move Ian Kinsler or Elvis Andrus. What would it take to get either? Andrus isn’t as attractive now because of that contract, but still should be considered. And Kinsler is always hurt.
Kinsler makes sense only if Robinson Cano signs elsewhere this winter. I don’t buy him as a first baseman or corner outfielder. I was excited about Andrus a year or two ago and thought he made a ton of sense as a Derek Jeter replacement — his free agency lined up perfectly with the end of Jeter’s contract (after 2014) — but I also thought he would continue to get better, not have a career-worst season in 2013. He’s owed $124.475M through 2022 ($13.8M luxury tax hit), which is scary. Furthermore, I’m not sure the Yankees and Rangers match up well for a trade. Texas is presumably looking for a young outfielder or high-end starter, two things New York a) doesn’t have, and b) needs itself.
Aside: Wouldn’t it make sense for the Rangers to trade both Andrus and Kinsler, then sign Cano and play Jurickson Profar at shortstop? Dealing Andrus and Kinsler would surely net them that young outfielder and high-end starter.
Ryan asks: I haven’t heard any mention of the Yankees and Nelson Cruz. His name hasn’t been floated on here since the trade rumors last January. Whats the deal? I would have though he’d be a great addition to the lineup.
Grant Brisbee explained why Cruz is such a risk yesterday, so I’ll link you to that. Long story short: Cruz is basically Alfonso Soriano without the defense. His numbers against righties aren’t anything special (.249/.299/.465 since 2011) and while home/road splits usually get way overblown, it’s hard to ignore how much more productive Cruz has been at his hitter-friendly home ballpark (.279/.340/.546 since 2011) than on the road (.247/.299/.432). The Yankees already have one Soriano, no need to give up a draft pick (Cruz received a qualifying offer) to get another.
Kevin asks: Juan Oviedo and Eric O’Flaherty seem like natural fits for the Yankees next year given the payroll and need for bullpen arms.
Oviedo is the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, the ex-Marlins closer. He’s missed the last two seasons due to elbow problems that eventually required Tommy John surgery. I would bring him in on a minor league deal no questions asked, but there’s no way I’d guarantee him anything after missing two years. He took a minor league deal (with the Rays) last year and will have to take one again. O’Flaherty missed most of 2013 after having his elbow rebuilt. He was one of the most dominant lefty relievers in baseball before the injury (held same-side hitters to a .195 wOBA from 2011-2012) and I think he’ll get a nice contract this winter despite coming off surgery. Would he take one year and $2M to rebuild value? I’m not sure the Yankees can afford to go higher than that for an injured pitcher who won’t be ready until June or so.
Bryan asks: How about a flyer on Brett Anderson? The A’s have rotation depth and the cost wouldn’t be super high (you’d think) right now. Or would they be better off with a guy like Josh Johnson (who only costs money) if they want to take a gamble?
Man I love Anderson, but he just can’t stay healthy. He’s thrown more than 115 innings just once (175.1 in 2009) and over the last two years he’s been limited to 79.2 innings total. Anderson has been pretty awesome whenever he’s stayed healthy for more than a month at a time, but he’s going to make $8M next season. That’s a huge chunk of change for an always hurt pitcher. I’m not sure the Yankees can afford a risk like that. Payroll is tight as it is, and that doesn’t even factor in the trade cost. If I’m going to bring in a reclamation project starter, I’d go with Johnson because he only costs money. I’d prefer neither, to be honest.
Biggie asks: If Curtis Granderson accepts his qualifying offer would there be a market to trade him? What type of return would you expect? I would love him to accept, move him for another piece and sign Carlos Beltran for two years and $28M.
I don’t think the Yankees would have any trouble finding a taker for Granderson if he accepts the $14.1M qualifying offer. Chances are they could get a better prospect in return than they’d be able to select with the compensation pick as well. A contender in need of a bat like the Cardinals (if Beltran bolts), Tigers (for vacant left field), and Reds (if they don’t think Billy Hamilton is ready) would presumably show interest in Granderson on a one-year deal, ditto non-contenders like the Phillies, Mets, White Sox, Giants, Mariners, and Rockies. They wouldn’t get an elite prospect in return, but a rock solid Grade-B prospect who is at Double-A or higher. That’s very fair value if not a bargain.
Mike asks: What about Kelly Johnson as a free agent? He can fill in around the infield except at short and play the corners in the outfield.
If Cano does leave as a free agent and the Yankees decide to pass over David Adams and Corban Joseph as internal replacements, Johnson is the guy I’d want them to bring him to play second base. He shouldn’t required a multi-year contract like Omar Infante nor would he require the general headache of trading for Brandon Phillips. Johnson is a Yankee Stadium friendly left-handed hitter who hits for power (16+ homers in four straight years), plus he’ll steal a decent amount of bases and play solid defense. As an added bonus, he can also play left field in a pinch. The trade-off is a low average and strikeouts, which aren’t the end of the world for a number eight or nine hole hitter. Even if the Yankees re-sign Cano, Johnson makes sense as a lefty bat off the bench. Definite fit.
Tucker asks: While the idea of the Yankees signing Brian Wilson has been floated out there, and it definitely has a lot of appeal, I just can’t imagine him being willing to go to the barber, even if it means forfeiting a couple million. Do you agree with this?
Wilson already turned down a million bucks to shave his beard, but maybe $6-7M will change his mind? Ultimately, I think Wilson will wind up signing with a non-Yankees team because they’ll offer more money and guarantee him the closer’s job, not because he wouldn’t have to shave his beard. That would suck, he’s a perfect fit in my opinion (as long as you look beyond the beard and seemingly intentionally insufferable personality).
Thomas asks: Is there any chance that the Yankees try and get another full-time DH this season? If so, if he doesn’t retire, is it possible we would get another taste of Raul Ibanez? I’m sure Yankees fans would like to see him again.
Zac asks: Jason Kubel is one year removed from a 30-HR season and should come cheap following a poor year in which he battled injury. Is he s fit for the Yankees?
Going to lump these two together since Ibanez and Kubel are nearly the same exact player. If the Yankees don’t sign Beltran — he’s pretty much the only big name outfielder I can see them realistically signing — either guy would make sense as a part-time right fielder and part-time DH. They could also serve as that lefty bat off the bench I always seem to be talking about. New York could find a spot for their power even if they sign Beltran, though I think Ibanez is the safer bet at this point. Supposedly he’s only considering retirement or a return to the Mariners (he lives in Seattle during the offseason). As long as they keep him or Kubel away from lefties and have a defensive replacement handy, they’d make some sense for the current roster. I still don’t like the idea of adding a full-time DH. They need to keep that spot open for various old guys.
Anthony asks: Hey Mike, Chris Perez was just released by the Indians. Being that the Yankees will look to add a piece or two to the bullpen this offseason, do you think the team should give him a look? While I don’t see him serving as the closer, perhaps he can provide some value in the 7th or 8th?
I wrote about Perez in a mailbag back in May and said I wanted to see how he performed the rest of the season before thinking about him as an option for 2014. Well, from that date forward, he pitched to a 5.21 ERA (4.65 FIP) in 38 innings while opposing batters hit .283/.351/.520 against him. He and his wife were also arrested for drug possession. So … yeah, things didn’t go so well. The Indians got so sick of him that they didn’t even wait until the non-tender deadline to release him. Perez has really nasty stuff, but he clearly has some things to work on. I’m not sure if the Yankees have enough bullpen depth (or payroll space) to take on a second project reliever in addition to Dellin Betances.
Behold! The fourth and final installment of the 2013 Potential Trade Targets series has arrived. We’ve had a lot of names to parse through so far, but we’ve done it. Feel free to go back and check out Part I, Part II, and Part III at your convenience if you’ve missed any of them (or you’re simply in need of a second glance). Alright, let’s dive in.
Colvin is kind of interesting. He came up through the Cubs system and got his first taste of the big leagues in 2009. In 2010, he had his first real opportunity to showcase his abilities, and produced a 1.8 fWAR in limited exposure (395 plate appearances). After a disappointing 2011 campaign, the former 2006 first round pick was shipped out west to Colorado where he’s remained since (he was part of the trade that sent Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers to Chicago).
Last season he hit 18 home runs while batting .290/.327/.531 (.365 wOBA, 117 wRC+) in 452 plate appearances (2.3 fWAR). Unfortunately for Colvin, 2013 has been tough. The Rockies elected to keep him in AAA to begin the season after he struggled in Spring Training, preferring the services of Eric Young Jr. as the fourth outfielder and Reid Brignac as the extra roster spot. Colvin’s struggled since being recalled (.160/.192/.280, .202 wOBA, 7 wRC+), and it’s not really a lefty/righty thing either. He’s been bad against everyone; granted, it’s been 78 plate appearances so those numbers could still change pretty quickly. Unfortunately, there’s also been some discussion that Colvin struggles with breaking balls and off-speed pitches. While the home runs are appealing, there’s a good chance he may never become more than a depth guy too though I think the verdict is still out on that one given his inconsistent opportunities.
What you’re getting with a guy like Colvin is a player who doesn’t show a ton of plate discipline (he’s swung at 37.9% of pitches outside of the strike zone in his career) which subsequently limits his walks (career 6.0 BB%). He strikes out a fair amount (26.6 K%) but has some power (.214 ISO). To his credit, he can play first base as well as the outfield, which certainly is convenient for the Yankees roster this season. He’s also pretty cheap. The Rockies and Colvin settled on a $2.275M salary heading into this season, but he still has three more years of arbitration-eligibility before he’s slated for free agency.
It seems a bit unclear how the Rockies value Colvin given their preference to not guarantee him regular playing time, and who knows whether they have any interest in moving him anyway. Maybe a mid-level prospect gets it done if they don’t feel he’s an important cog to their future success. After all, it’s not like the package the Rockies gave up to get Colvin initially (along with D.J. LeMahieu, who was the other piece of the deal) was particularly overwhelming. Then again, you also have to consider the fact that the Rockies are a team still on the fringes of contention, so they may not be sellers anyway. In any event, while Colvin has some attributes that are appealing (namely the potential for home runs), he’s not without risk.
Can we just have Mike Trout instead and call it a day? No … okay, let’s talk about Pete then. Since reaching the show in 2010, the results have been pretty mixed. The 2011 season was, by far, his best season (he was valued at 4.1 fWAR and batted .271/.327/.438 with a .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+). The next year was pretty disappointing for Bourjos though, as he saw his playing time dwindle after the emergence of Mike Trout (along with Mark Trumbo’s first half success). So far, in 2013, he’s done well over 147 plate appearances (.333/.392/.457, .373 wOBA, 140 wRC+). He rarely walks (5.5 BB%) though and strikes out regularly (21.7 K%). He also hits for basically no power whatsoever.
Positionally, he’s a center fielder by trade, which really doesn’t do the Yankees a whole lot of good as they have a superior version of Bourjos already in Gardner. On the plus side, Bourjos is basically earning league minimum and remains under team control for a few more seasons. I have nothing against Bourjos personally, but I just don’t think his skill set is a realistic fit for the Yankees at this juncture. Pass.
Now here’s an Angel (albeit a former one), that I could potentially get behind. Morales, a first baseman/DH, makes sense for the Yankees in a lot of ways. He’s historically been an above-average batter (career .281/.333/.486, .351 wOBA, 119 wRC+), plus he’s a switch hitter — which is a skill the Yankees sorely need at this point. He’s also spent a lot of time in the American League and has been a certified Yankee-Killer over the years, so there’s that. On the down side, he’s the guy who fractured his ankle celebrating after a walk off grand slam off Brandon League in 2010 which kept him sidelined through all of 2011.
Morales has shown noticeable splits at times, though they aren’t really severe at this juncture. In 2012, he struggled against lefties as a righty, batting .229 against them, which interestingly was still considered better than average (110 wRC+ from that side). This year he’s hit lefties surprisingly well though (149 wRC+), but has been only slightly above average against righties (.257/.312/.479, .329 wOBA, 113 wRC+) which is surprising given that he usually excels from that side of the plate.
Kendrys does have some decent power (.181 ISO this season), and we all know this team could certainly use some of that. He won’t take many walks (6.9 BB%) but won’t strike out that often either (17.4 K%). The best part of this scenario though is that he’s owed only $5.25M this season (which would leave the Yankees on the hook for about $2.5M for the remainder of the year) and is a free agent come season’s end. The Mariners stink and should theoretically be sellers. I’m guessing a decent prospect and some salary gets it done. Yeah, I’d probably be on board with this.
Apparently there’s a decent number of Yankee fans out there who are itching to bring Raaaauuuul back in his age 41 season. Those epic home runs towards the end of last season (and in the postseason) still resonate, I suppose. If we’re being honest though, over the past couple seasons, Raul’s been a very mediocre player offensively, if not sub par (91 wRC+ in 2011 and 102 wRC+ in 2012). Historically speaking, he’ll take a few walks (career 8.4 BB%) while not striking out a ton either (16.1 K%). Of course, his interpretation of base-running and defense leaves much to be desired.
This season, his bat has been fairly solid despite playing in the pitcher friend confines of Safeco Park. He’s hit for a lot of power (.295 ISO!), generating 22 home runs in the process (14 of which have happened in Seattle mind you, after hitting 19 total over the course of a full season last year). Unfortunately, outside of the home runs, he hasn’t done a whole lot else (.301 OBP). He’s also taking a few less walks this season, and his strike out rate has jumped up several percentage points (24.4 K%). Interestingly, Raul’s done a good job handling both lefty and righty pitchers this year. Given the Yankees current offensive woes, that 135 wRC+ sure is enticing for a half-year rental — even if he is really exclusively a DH at this point.
In terms of cost, the Mariners signed Ibanez for a single season at a modest $2.75M. In terms of dollars he certainly wouldn’t break the Yankees bank as a midseason acquisition. Assuming the trade price for Ibanez isn’t too high, I could see the team making a move such as this as a security blanket down the stretch, though I’d be surprised if Ibanez ultimately resurfaces in New York — it’s not like the team didn’t have plenty of opportunity in the offseason this last go around to bring him back. I’m also sort of leery of having Wells, Ichiro, and Ibanez in the same lineup day in and day out for a number of reasons.
If I were ruining running the Yankees, I absolutely would not surrender anything beyond a B-level prospect, and I’d probably plan on not re-signing him after the season regardless of how he performed through the second half. Even if he does well for the rest of the season, my money is on him returning to 2011-2012 form moving forward. As it stands now, he’s only been worth 0.8 fWAR this season so far. Raul had some big moments in NY for which I’m thankful, but I think that relationship has probably run its course.
The Marlins are awful. You can bank on them listening to a trade for pretty much any player not named Giancarlo Stanton (who knows, maybe they’re secretly listening to offers on him too — eventually he’ll be shipped out!). Morrison has looked pretty good this season in limited playing time. Over 89 plate appearances, he’s batted .304/.382/.557 (.399 wOBA, 157 wRC+). He’s struggled against lefties this season (granted, in a very limited sample), but if last year was any indication, that could be an ongoing issue. Traditionally, LoMo will show some discipline behind the plate (10.9 career BB%), and doesn’t strike out too frequently (17.7 K%). He’ll also hit for some power.
On the plus side, Morrison can handle both first base and the left Field. He’s also only 25 years old. Contractually, he’s making basically nothing (at least relative to most baseball players) and is currently in his final pre-arbitration year. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in each of the next three seasons, meaning he’ll be relatively affordable. On the downside, he’s been fairly injury prone during his brief Major League career (most recently coming off knee surgery).
Assuming Logan can stay on the field, he’d definitely represent an upgrade for the Yankees at either position. I’d probably sign up for this one too, though who knows what the Marlins asking price is. Given his team friendly salary, I’d have to assume he’d cost a decent prospect, especially since he’s been swinging a hot bat since his return. He’s another guy not without some obvious risk though. He’s had only one big league season where he’s amassed more than 500 plate appearances. Durability is a major concern.
The Yankees lost their third straight game last night, scoring exactly one run in each loss. They’ve scored more than three runs against a non-Twins team just once in their last nine games and seven times in their last 22 games. Thank goodness Minnesota is coming town for another three games this weekend, eh? Here are some miscellaneous thoughts:
1. I had no problem whatsoever with letting Raul Ibanez walk this past winter because he was mostly terrible before he started hitting those monumentally clutch homers late in last year, but he went into last night’s game hitting .260/.306/.563 (140 wRC+) with 22 (!) homers for the Mariners. The AVG and OBP aren’t anything special, but holy crap could the Yankees use that kind of power bat in their lineup. He can even fake an outfield spot if need be. The so-called Bombers are on pace for 153 homers this season — they had 145 through the same number of games last year — which would be their lowest total in a non-strike season since 1991. Travis Hafner stopped hitting when the calendar flipped to May, making the decision to let Ibanez walk look even more egregious. I was totally cool with it like I said, but this is one I and probably team wishes they could redo.
2. Ty Wigginton is going to be a Yankee, isn’t he? It’s inevitable. The Cardinals cut him loose yesterday, just 87 games into his two-year, $5M contact. That’s what happens when you hit .158/.238/.193 (19 wRC+) in 63 plate appearances with awful defense. Wigginton, a right-handed bat, hit .234/.360/.411 (111 wRC+) against southpaws just last year, which is the kind of performance the Yankees will try to unlock when they inevitably sign him. The freely available Russ Canzler is almost certainly the better part-time first base/third base/left field/DH righty platoon bat at this point, but New York always seems to go for the proven veteran over the inexperienced guy. As soon as Wigginton clears waivers and is available to sign for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, he’ll be fitted for pinstripes. The Cardinals are extremely well-run team though; if they cut bait, he probably doesn’t have anything left in the tank.
3. Wanna see a cool graph? Here:
That is Robinson Cano‘s walk rate on a day-by-day basis, and it’s going nowhere but up of late. In fact, Cano has drawn eight walks compared to just one strikeout this month. Since June 1st it’s 26 walks and 13 strikeouts (!). There are eight intentional walks mixed in there, but that is to be expected given the state of the offense. Robbie had about a 30-game stretch a few weeks ago where he wasn’t being all that productive, in part because he was chasing stuff out of the zone and not making quality contact. Nowadays he’s willing to take the walk and pass the baton. That maturation as a hitter is great, but at some point someone hitting behind him has to make the other team pay. Lineup protection doesn’t really exist in the sense that putting a good hitter behind Cano will get him better pitchers to hit — no one is going to pitch to him no matter who hits behind him — but it does exist in that someone can make the other team pay for their willingness to pitch around Robbie. The Yankees don’t have that guy right now, not at all.
4. Ivan Nova will make his first start since officially rejoining the rotation tonight — the last two were spot starts, the first due to a rain out and the second because of Hiroki Kuroda‘s sore hip — but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was sent back to Triple-A after the game, especially if the Yankees are planning to activate Derek Jeter tomorrow. Based on Joe Girardi‘s comments to Brian Heyman prior to yesterday’s game, it sure seems like the Cap’n’s return is imminent as long as the ankle stays in one piece. Since Nova isn’t scheduled to start again before the All-Star break, they could send him down for the minimum ten days without him missing a start. That gives them the roster spot for Jeter and would allow Nova to stay sharp and on schedule with a Triple-A spot start. The Yankees haven’t manipulated their roster around the All-Star break at all in recent years, but this actually seems feasible if Jeter is ready to be activated. No sense in carrying a starter who won’t be available when you can add an extra position player for a few days without throwing the rotation out of whack.
The Yankees will have a new DH next season. Raul Ibanez is headed back to Seattle, having agreed to a one-year deal with the Mariners according to multiple reports. He’ll earn a guaranteed $2.75M with another $1.25M in incentives. Just a few days ago we learned the Yankees were still talking to Ibanez about a return next season, but you can’t blame him for taking that deal. Great job by his agent. It’ll be Raul’s third stint in Seattle.
Ibanez, 40, earned True Yankee™ status with all of those ridiculously clutch homers late in the season and in the playoffs, but I was all for turning the page. I dig the idea of acquiring Jason Kubel to DH, but the free agent market has plenty of alternatives as well — Jim Thome, Travis Hafner, Jason Giambi, and Luke Scott just to name a few. I expect the club to seek a DH capable of actually playing the field in an emergency, so that probably rules out the Thomes and Hafners of the world.
Via George King: Brian Cashman confirmed that the team is still speaking to Raul Ibanez and his agent about a possible return next season. “We are talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent.,” said the GM, in case you didn’t believe me.
Last month we heard the Yankees had “significant interest” in bringing Ibanez back as the left-handed half of a DH platoon only. Of course, they said the same exact thing last offseason, but plans have a way of changing. Given the offensive hit they’re expected to take in right field and behind the plate, I really want the team to pursue a bigger bat for the DH spot. Raul’s a great guy and he hit some amazingly clutch homers, but that 102 wRC+ just isn’t doing it for me.
Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees have “significant interest” in re-signing Raul Ibanez, but have asked him to hold tight while they take care of more pressing matters first. Those matters involve re-signing Mariano Rivera, Hiroki Kuroda, and potentially Andy Pettitte.
Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.353 (102 wRC+) with a number of huge late-season homers this year, and I think it’s fair to say the team wouldn’t be interested in bringing him back without those homers. He didn’t exactly kill the ball from June through mid-September. The two sides have already had preliminary discussions and Ibanez told Davidoff that his first choice was to return to the Yankees next year, plus the free agent DH market stinks. The Yankees are going to need a DH capable of playing the field a bit, and despite how poor he is defensively, Raul can at least fake the corner outfield if needed.
Unsurprisingly, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera was named the MVP of the AL tonight and it wasn’t all that close. He received 22 of 28 first place votes (362 pts) and Mike Trout (281 pts) finished a distant second. For shame. Robinson Cano (149 pts) finished fourth behind Miggy, Trout, and Adrian Beltre (210 pts). Derek Jeter (73 pts) finished seventh, which does not trigger the $2M escalator for his 2014 player option. There are still enough bonuses available for him to max that thing out at $17M, though. Rafael Soriano (one eighth and one ninth place vote) and Raul Ibanez (one tenth place vote!) also received votes while Hiroki Kuroda got shutout. I was hoping he’s grab a vote or ten, but oh well.
On the NL side of things, Buster Posey (422 pts) beat out the trio of Ryan Braun (285 pts), Andrew McCutchen (245 pts), and Yadier Molina (241 pts) pretty handily. There were like, six guys who could have legitimately won that award, but no one noticed because of the Trout-Miggy stuff. The full ballots are here (AL, NL), and the awards season is mercifully over. On to the hot stove.
Via Dan Martin: The Yankees have had “preliminary discussions” with Raul Ibanez about bringing him back for a platoon gig next season. He played more than the team wanted him to play this year due to Brett Gardner‘s injury, which makes it sound like they’re hoping to limit him to DH duties against righties going forward.
Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.453 (102 wRC+) with 19 homers this year, including a 115 wRC+ against righties. He also started 76 games in the outfield thanks to Gardner’s elbow. The Yankees reportedly had interest in bringing him back a few weeks ago, which I guess I’d be fine with as long as they plan to limit him to DH work against righties and don’t consider him a right field solution. Either way, Ibanez will forever be remembered for many clutch homers down the stretch. That was a blast.