MLB Rumors: Raul Ibanez Redux in the Bronx?
The MLB rumors that surrounded the New York Yankees and their interest in Torii Hunter were genuine. However, with Hunter seeing a lot of interest from other teams and the distinct possibility that he will get a two-year deal elsewhere has left the Yankees scrambling to help fill the outfielder/designated hitter void left by the possible departure of Raul Ibanez.
Well, the best possible to place to look for a Raul Ibanez replacement is in Raul Ibanez himself. The Yankees and the free agent are currently discussing a deal that would see the October hero back in Pinstripes.
Originally, GM Brian Cashman thought that Ibanez would be too costly after his post-season heroics. However, with a possible Hunter deal falling through the Yankees might look for Ibanez to fill the role of fifth outfielder/platoon designated hitter against right-handed pitching, the role he was supposed to have last season before being asked to play too much after injuries forced him into the outfield on a semi-regular basis.
Ibanez, who will turn 41 in June of next year, had an up and down first season with the Yankees. He hit .240 but managed to hit 19 home runs and drive in 62 runs. His real value emerged in October when he helped push the Yankees into the playoffs and managed a few clutch home runs when the Yankees needed them most in the ALDS.
However, how much faith can the Yankees put in a soon-to-be 41-year-old outfielder who can’t really play the field anymore? Granted, Ibanez would only require a one-year deal but what are you getting for that one-year? Would the Yankees be better off acquiring a younger corner outfielder with plenty of years of team control and at least some positive upside? Perhaps Kole Calhoun of the Los Angeles Angels would be a good fit? At least he would provide more upside than Ibanez, would come cheaper, at least in terms of money, and would offer more on defense.
There is no doubt that Ibanez will go down in Yankee lore. However, three at-bats should not a season make. It is like the Yankees are buying a scratch off ticket that someone has already taken a coin to.