The New York Yankees and Raul Ibanez have come to agreement on a one year 1.1 million dollar contract. Ibanez just needs to complete his physical and the deal will become official. There is a lot of reaction on the internet about this move. The other names that were rumored for this job were Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Vladimir Guerrero. I think a lot of Yankee fans would of loved to see Damon back in pinstripes. I personally thought that may have been the best move but I get why they went this way. The Yankees wanted someone that could play the outfield in a pinch and they were also worried about Damon wanting to play everyday. Damon is chasing 3000 hits and they thought he would be too focused on that and not be too happy with being a part time DH and bench player. Ibanez knows that is all he is and he accepts that role, he just wants to win a ring before he retires.
I know I am piggy backing off of Craig Williams article from earlier today. He put a post up about the Ibanez signing but I hope I am taking a different angle on this. Ibanez does have power and with the short porch in Yankee Stadium can take advantage of it. Andruw Jones figures to be the fourth outfielder and the DH against righties along with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. I think that if Brett Gardner continues to hit 259, you could see Jones playing more in left field. I know that it is hard to keep Gardner out of the lineup because of his speed but he needs to hit better then 259.
Ibanez numbers were not great last year but he was much better against righties. He will only be hitting against rightie batters so he should have a pretty good season. I think he could put up 20-25 home runs and drive in 70+ runs. I think this is a pretty good signing and the Yankees fans won’t be so worried about it at the end of the season. The Yankees DH isn’t going to make or break their season. The Yankees pitching is what is really going to make or break them. The offense really isn’t a problem although it cost them in the postseason last year. The big guys are the reason why though, the Yankees need Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher especially to produce and if that happens they will be just fine. Ibanez isn’t going to make or break their season. One of the good things about Ibanez is he is good in clutch situations. He is a veteran who seems to know when to cut down his swing and just get a single. Ibanez hopefully can do that next season and maybe show some of the other guys that. I think one of the biggest problems the Yankees hitters have at times is they think too big. When they are in a clutch situation they can’t just cut down their swing and get a sac fly or a single.
I also believe Ibanez will be good in the clubhouse. He has always been a good guy and never had a problem anywhere he has gone. Ibanez should fit right into the Yankees clubhouse and be a veteran presence. Ibanez is coming over from Philadelphia so the pressure and big games won’t affect him. He has had his share of both in the last three seasons in Philadelphia. I expect Ibanez to have a good year and the Yankees and their fans won’t regret signing him.