I don’t think anyone was surprised when ESPN’s Buster Onley reported that the New York Yankees signed Raul Ibanezto a one year, $1.1 million deal with incentives, which could earn him up to $4 million. But does signing a DH even make sense?
Here is why Ibanez won’t work out either:
- INJURY HISTORY.
The Yankees were aware of the injury histories that came with both Berkman and Johnson, and the same goes for Ibanez.
Ibanez has suffered from a persistent bad left groin injury for years. The injury still bothered him throughout 2011, and eventually it sidelined Ibanez at the end of the season.
Back in 2007, Ibanez missed multiple games claiming he injured himself when sleeping and could not move according to article by Larry Brown on Larry Brown Sports.
Many people will defend Ibanez’s production because he hit 20 home-runs in 2011, but he also posted a .245 batting average, with a .289 slugging percentage, 106 strikeouts and drew 33 walks. The reason behind his crappy BA has to do with his declining walk numbers, as in 2010 he walked 68 times, which is more than double but Ibanez did consistently post 100+ strikeouts in both of the two last seasons.
The 20 home-runs are deceiving because I can personally attest that Citizens Bank Park literally makes Yankees Stadium feel like as enormous as Citi Field. To put it lightly, CBP is a hitter’s dream and a pitcher’s nightmare.
If you really want to get technical, 15 of Ibanez’s 20 homers and 61 of his 84 RBIs from last season were done in Philly. This explains is why he had a batting average of .286 at home and a pathetic .211 BA everywhere else. His batting average vs. righties was .246, a measly six points higher than the .240 he posted vs. lefties.
- FATHER TIME.
Also, Ibanez’s age cannot be overlooked.
Without question father time is working against him, as Ibanez will turn 40 years old this coming June. That makes him the second oldest player on the team behind Marino Rivera, who is 41.
- HABITUALLY STREAKY.
What makes this all a formula for trouble is the fact that Ibanez has been a streaky hitter his entire career. Just ask any Phillies fan to confirm this. As they will tell you that Ibanez eternally suffers from extreme slumps and hot streaks throughout a season. Usually when an habitually streaky hitter is on the decline, the once cold elements turn frozen; and going red-hot like in the past is now a lukewarm at best.
The Other Solution Is No Solution:
Although a solution is technically not probable, the Yankees could have gone in another direction instead of inking Ibanez.
One option was not signing a player specifically to fill the DH role at all.
According to Chad Jennings over a LoHud Yankees Blog, Skipper Joe Girardi said he has no specific number in mind, but he knows Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will both need fairly regular DH days this season.
Why didn’t the Yankees just rotate the DH spot between the bench players like Jones, Chavez, Nunez, Pina and Curtis, all while mixing in the needed half-days off for the everyday position players?
Who really knows because it makes zero sense to me.
GM Brian Cashman does have a history of signing injury prone, veterans on their way out to fill the DH-role. I always figured he did this to automatically lower the chances of him having to use one of his prized prospects.
I still don’t know what to think about Cashman’s sense of urgency about acquiring Ibanez, as it is a little baffling that he has learned nothing of his past mistakes when trying to fill the DH..
Well, as the great Ben Franklin once said:
- Ibanez joins Yankees as platoon DH (msn.foxsports.com)
- Yanks agree to deal with Ibanez, sources say (espn.go.com)
- Yankees to Sign Raul Ibanez; Hope for Improvement (pinstripealley.com)
- Yankees sign Ibanez to DH on one-year deal (mlb.mlb.com)
- Sherman: Framework for Ibanez deal in place for weeks (riveraveblues.com)
- Ibañez agrees to deal with Yankees (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Is Raul Ibanez The Final Piece To The New York Yankees Puzzle? (rantsports.com)