Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yanks Considering A Raul Reunion?

Raul Ibanez was one of the players deemed too rich for the Yankees' blood last offseason.  They dragged their feet making him an offer and he opted to take one that Seattle made him instead.  According to a new report from The Post, the Yanks might be looking to right that previous wrong this offseason:

"The Post has also learned the Yankees have an interest in bringing back the popular and productive Raul Ibanez to be the DH against right-handed pitching."

The Yankees love having that lefty DH role filled and on paper Ibanez would be an ideal candidate for the job.  He hit .242/.306/.487 (.344 wOBA) with 29 HR in 496 PA for the Mariners last year, an across-the-board improvement from the .325 wOBA/19 HR season he had for the Bombers in 2012.  He can also still fake it in the outfield if needed and his splits against R/L pitchers in 2013 were almost identical.

The problem with making Ibanez the "regular" DH is the extra time the Yankees have to devote to that spot for other players.  Jeter is going to need a lot of DH time next season, as will Teix, as will A-Rod if he's around, and as will Beltran if he ends up signing.  The Yankees might not have the luxury of using a regular lefty-hitting DH against RHP next season and I'm sure they'd rather have a player who can be more valuable defensively than Ibanez to plug into the outfield on the days that those other guys are DHing.

Also, the big increase in K rate in 2013 and the fact that he turns 42 next year could mean that Ibanez is closer to falling off the edge of productivity than it might appear.  He's not a bad backup plan as a cheap DH/pseudo 4th outfielder, but I'd prefer the Yankees go after a younger, better 2-way outfield option and bump Ichiro to the bench to preserve that DH spot than immediately clog it up with Ibanez.

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