What if Ibanez is Done?
The Raul Ibanez signing was questioned by a lot of Yankees fans. He has done nothing this spring to prove those people wrong. Ibanez is batting an egregious .054 with only 1 extra base hit in 37 spring training AB’s. As you may have heard me say before I do not take spring training stats very seriously. However, with a player of Ibanez’s age thoughts that he could be in for a long year have to creep into your mind when you see him performing this badly. Now I am certainly not giving up on him or anything, but he will have to be watched very carefully as the season progresses to see if he improves. If he does not he can end up like Randy Winn, whom the Yankees cut in May of 2010 due to his awful play.
The Yankees two main reasons for Ibanez’s poor play is that he is facing lefties in spring training when he will only be facing righties in the regular season. They have also pointed to Ibanez being a particularly slow starter. I have not seen much of Ibanez this spring so it is hard for me to pinpoint the reason for his struggles. Historically, Ibanez’s numbers have been worse in April and May than in the other months so the Yankees do have a point there.
If Ibanez struggles gets to the point where the Yankees have to consider other options they do have some in house options. Andruw Jones is widely known for his ability to hit lefties, but he did hit 5 out of his 13 HR’s last year against righties and had a halfway decent .709 OPS against righties. Eric Chavez would likely be the number one in house option, but he has struggled this spring as well and is often injured. Eduardo Nunez could be another option but he was significantly better vs. lefties last season. As you can see the in house options leave a lot to be desired. There are no outfielders in the minors who are considered major league ready although Justin Maxwell has shined this spring. Also, if you have to use one of the in house options your bench is shortened. Nick Swisher also must stay healthy or this could turn into an even bigger issue. Swisher has been hurt twice now this spring and it better not be worse than the Yankees are letting on with Ibanez looking the way he is looking.
The Yankees will have to look for a DH to hit righties in a trade if Ibanez fails. It is to early to really speculate on who that could be. The Yankees have the minor leaguers to get a deal done if necessary. If the RH platoon DH is the Yankees biggest weakness this year it is going to be a successful one. They survived it last year with limited production form Jorge Posada at times. However, the Yankees are always looking to make the team the best it can be and if Ibanez continues to hit like this a change may be in order.
Posted on March 24, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged Andruw Jones, Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez, Jorge Posada, Justin Maxwell, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.