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.

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About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Personal Opinion, Player Analysis and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ibanez will get booed quickly and it will be relentless if he comes off cold. The Yankees went all season last year with Posada who wasn’t that great in the DH slot.

    I would have rather the Yankees not sign Ibanez, or anyone else and just rotated who they had plus maybe Jorge Vazquez or whoever was hot in the minors into the position.

    • Only reason Yankees fans didn’t honestly mind Posada not hitting as well for a major reason. He was a core member of the Yankees since 1995 and had done so much for the Yanks. Ibanez has only been in the uniform for a month and hasn’t done really anything for us yet.

  2. I didn’t like the Ibanez signing but I hope he can be productive. If not, the first in house option I’d like to see is Chris Dickerson platooning with Andruw Jones.

    Dickerson is a career .270/.355/.415/.770 hitter vs RHP and has never really been given a chance. He’s excellent defensively so he could play some RF with Swish DHing. I think Cashman will eventually add a quality LH bat at the deadine if Ibanez falters.

  3. To be honest, I didn’t want Raul Ibanez to sign with the Yankees. I was hoping for Johnny Damon to re-sign with the Yankees but once Damon said the Yankees wouldn’t sign him then all hope went out the window.

    So far in Spring Training, Ibanez hasn’t impressed me (hitting that HR in today’s game doesn’t change my view). He’s hitting .079 and I know that he could do better than that. if he can’t hit in the regular season then I would like to see the Yankees (like Fishjam said) platoon Chris Dickerson with Andruw Jones. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Justin Maxwell with the Yankees. He’s done really well this Spring and looks healthy.

  4. Ibanez is definitely done. His bat speed is horrible, and he truly looks like a 40-year old former superstar. I’d call up Jorge Posada and try to schedule a top-secret batting practice session in Tampa.

    Of course I kid, but I can’t understand why the Yanks chose this guy over Damon. Damon is younger, has a lot left, and is still, though unsigned, one of the premier veterans in the game. I feel bad for Johnny the Yanks turned him down, and that he’ll go into the season without a job.

    Even Matsui probably has more to offer than Ibanez. I know he’s a native New Yorker, but he should have stayed far away from Yankee Stadium. I wish him good luck, but I don’t think this will end well.

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