The New York Yankees’ offense has underperformed the entire season. Raul Ibanez has underperformed the entire season. The Yankees are continuing to look for answers for their team-wide power outage, and Ibanez is looking for a new employer after being released by the Los Angeles Angels yesterday. The Yankees know that the recently turned 42-year-old can handle playing in New York. For those with a short memory, Ibanez spent the 2012 season as member of the Yankees, hitting 19 home runs and driving in 62.
For Ibanez however, he became a part of Yankees’ postseason lore when he hit not only a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, but hit the game-winning home run three innings later to help propel the Yankees towards the American League Championship Series. Ibanez did not return to New York the following season, rather finding himself in a familiar place: the Pacific Northwest and third go around with the Seattle Mariners.
Heading into 2014, Ibanez was expected to be a lineup stabilizing force to go along with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout for the Angels. Unfortunately for Ibanez and the Halos, he just couldn’t get it going. In 190 plate appearances, Ibanez hit .157, with 3 home runs and only 21 driven in. The Angels had seen enough, and cut him loose.
Should the Yankees, who are in desperate need of a power threat, bring Ibanez in and try to catch lightning in a bottle during a second tour of duty in the Bronx? He would cost practically nothing. The roster move you ask? Good-bye Brian Roberts, and Yankees allow the recently heating up Kelly Johnson and Yangervis Solarte to split time at second base and third base. How else could Ibanez be valuable? With Mark Teixeira‘s health issues, and no legitimate back-up first baseman on the roster, Ibanez could fit the bill. He’s played 141 career games at first base, so asking him to do so wouldn’t be unrealisitic.
Raul Ibanez could also serve in a part-time platoon DH role with Alfonso Soriano when Tex is healthy and can play. He is a career .279 hitter against righties, and 240 of his career 303 home runs have come against right-handed pitchers. It’s a low risk/high reward move, for a veteran who can play first base, DH, and can perform in October. It’s a move the Yankees should consider making for depth and power production purposes.