Meet Raul Ibanez, The Yankees DH

If you had told me back in October that Raul Ibanez would be the Yankees’ DH, I’d call you crazy. Jesus Montero was finally ready for a full season in New York, and with Jorge Posada either retiring or certainly not returning, the DH was probably the least of the Yanks’ concerns.

Sure enough, a blockbuster trade on January 13th that sent Montero to Seattle left Yankee fans scratching their heads and asking, “who’s the DH now?”.

Well, over a month later, we have our answer – 40 year old Raul Ibanez.

The former star of the Seattle Mariners, Ibanez is coming off his final season in Philadelphia where he batted .256 against righties with 16 home runs and a .440 slugging percentage. I’m not that big on analytics, so that’s as far I’ll go with the stats, but it’s clear to me Ibanez is not the same player he once was and is not the best fit for the Yankees’ DH, in my opinion.

Granted, $1 million for 400 at-bats is a steal, and Johnny Damon, though seemingly out of all other options, still was reportedly demanding somewhere around $5 million. And his quest for 3,000 is probably the last thing the Yankees want to go through again, as Christian Lopez is still in the process of receiving 50% of Modell’s ownership. (I kid)

But Damon is 38, a couple years younger than Ibanez, and though many people don’t like this “factor” – he’s played in New York before, and won a championship too. He knows exactly what to expect in playing for the Yanks, and if the big excuse by Cashman for not signing Damon is for his defense, it makes him look stupid. Why is Cashman looking at situational fielding when picking a DH? And since when is Ibanez, at age 40, so much a better fielder than Damon, who is a lot faster and more athletic?

Anyway, you probably can tell by now I wanted Damon back. I feel that he still has more left in the tank than Ibanez, and could play a couple more seasons at DH if the Yanks can’t find a new one for 2013 and so on. But I guess I have to accept that Ibanez is the guy, so let’s try to look on the bright side, which there is for the 40-year old.

While Ibanez’s once electric bat speed is no more, whenever a left-handed pull hitter comes to Yankee Stadium, production is almost guaranteed. The short porch in right would have added more power to any of the veteran DH options that were on the Yankees radar. And with Ibanez, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his home run and double totals increase as well. Citizens Bank Park is by no means a pitcher’s park, but a move to 161st and River Ave. should benefit Ibanez as far as becoming a better overall hitter.

So what’s my final thought on the Raul Ibanez signing? Honestly, though I still think Damon is the better overall player, Ibanez  will produce nicely for the Yankees and should fit in batting somewhere 6th or 7th, depending on the production of Nick Swisher. 15-20 home runs and 60-80 RBI are not out of the question, and maybe even likely because of him playing in Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees get that out of Ibanez, it’ll be a great one-year relationship in New York.

Oh, and by the way, I’m Brian D. One of the new writers on the blog. Hope to be talking with you all soon! Go Yankees!

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About Brian D.

A passionate 15-year old Yankees fan who has hopes of becoming an MLB journalist or broadcaster. He brings an optimistic, yet realistic take on the Yanks to Yankees Fans Unite, and essentially lives and breathes baseball.

Posted on February 26, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I think Raul Ibanez will make a great DH for the Yankees, especially with the short right field porch.

    Great article and welcome aboard! :)

    • Thanks Delia, much appreicated. I really am starting to come around to liking this signing. It’s not like he will be relied on heavily for the Yankees’ offense. He’ll be batting 7th most days anyway.

  2. It’s a good fit for the club the money was right. Nice article Brian. Welcome aboard.

  3. Sorry, but I can’t find any place else to post or ask this. I’ll try and make this short after my somewhat previous lengthy comment.

    Did anyone realize that the Yankees placed Chris Dickerson on waivers? Also, that he has just cleared waivers and is being outrighted to Triple A.?

    I’m sure aside the obvious roster move to clear a spot it was done because Dickerson was out of options. And if he didn’t head north with the team when they break camp he would have had to be released.

  4. also here is another nugget from today. An MRI on Austin Romine’s back has revealed inflammation.

  5. If anyone’s interested here is Ibanez’s 2012 PA incentives:

    RAUL IBANEZ 2012 INCENTIVES:
    Raul can earn $2.9 million in additional incentives. He will earn a bonus of $50,000 each for 50, 75, 100 and 125 plate appearances, and would hit additional incentives of $100,000 apiece for 150, 175, 200 and 225. $150,000 each for 250, 275 and 300. $200,000 each for 325, 350, 375, 400, 425, 450, 475, 500 and finally $225,000 for 525 plate appearances or more.

    My best guess is he maxes out at 350 plate appearances which would add about $1.5MM to his guaranteed contract of $1.1MM for a grand total of about $2.6MM +/-. About the same as I would expect Jones final number to come in at.

  6. IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED HERE IS CHAVEZ’S 2012 INCENTIVES:

    ERIC CHAVEZ 2012 INCENTIVES (in addition to his $.9MM salary):
    Eric can earn $3.05million in additional incentives. He will earn a bonus of $50,000 for 75 plate appearances, and would hit additional incentives of $100,000 apiece for 100 and 150 PA. $200,000 for each 200 and 250 PA. $300,000 for 300 and 350 PA. $400,000 for 400 and 450 PA, and finally $500,000 for 500 and 550 plate appearances or more.

    It looks to me like he should max out at about $1.5MM+/- or so including his guaranteed salary and possible incentives he will earn. Pretty much exactly what he made in 2011.

  7. Yeah i don’t see him making that many AB’s unless a huge injury happens to A-Rod. Chavez is most likely gonna break down during the season.

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