Should The Yankees Pursue Raul Ibanez?
By Ricky Keeler
The Bronx Bombers are still in the market for a designated hitter, or at least some of us think they are. Names have been thrown out there from past Yankee lore such as Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Others think the Yankees should rotate their designated hitter spot with players like A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Robinson Cano whenever they need a day off. I tend to agree with the latter because I am not sure what the two aforementioned former Yankees have left in the tank. However, there’s a guy from the City of Brotherly Love that I think would be a nice fit in the bottom of the order for this lineup.
His name is Raul Ibanez. He, like Damon and Matsui, is an aging veteran and will come on the cheap for a team that is watching its budget till the 2014 luxury tax threshold kicks into high gear. He can play a variety of positions. For example, he could be the team’s designated hitter along with Andruw Jones and he can still play the corner outfield positions that Damon and Hideki do not have the legs for anymore.
A couple negatives I have on this move are that Ibanez would not help the Yankees get younger. There are reports that Cashman and company will not be in the running for the Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes. I would like to see the Bombers try Eduardo Nunez more at the DH spot. He is a guy that can use his speed in the bottom of the lineup and use the good gap power that he has. Plus, it would be a positive for Yankee fans because he would rarely ever have to see the field.
Another negative I have is postseason hitting. This is a huge factor for me because when I critique players, I want to see how they handle the big time moment that is October baseball. With the exception of the 2009 World Series against New York (.304), Ibanez has not been a good playoff hitter. He is just a .231 career hitter in the postseason, which he has played in four times.
There are many pros and cons to this move. Ibanez had 20 home runs last year and would be in another bandbox of a ballpark. Damon would be a nice clubhouse fit, but we will see if the Yankees even explore these external options as we are a little over two weeks away from Spring Training.