Yankees welcome Raul Ibanez spark Nick Johnson nightmares Yankees welcome Raul Ibanez spark Nick Johnson nightmares Yankees welcome Raul Ibanez spark Nick Johnson nightmares
 

Yankees welcome Raul Ibanez spark Nick Johnson nightmares

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?

New York Yankees DH Nick Johnson (Sipkin/News)

Well it is familiar song, as the Yankees have a habit of signing guys like Ibanez; remember how well the switch-hitting Lance Berkman and lefty Nick Johnson worked out in New York.

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.

  • PRODUCTION.

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:

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.” – Benjamin Franklin




18 Comments

  1. Kev says:

    Kate, I agree, I'm not sure what the big attraction was to Ibanez. I think you meant a .289 OBP, which is awful and yes, his 20 HR and 84 RBIs were deceiving. Ca$hman couldn't find a lefty DH under 40 yrs old ?

  2. Luke says:

    This lady is completely clueless. Defend Burnett for like 4 post in a row then we sign a guy that could be helpful. He's only playing against righties. Jeter and Arod will still get lots of DH time …against lefties. Jones plays left field against tough lefties. Nunez plays plays 3rd/ss arid/jeter DH. Not that hard. Ibanez will hit balls to the short porch all year long.

    • LLP says:

      Luke – the main reason that put Ibanez on top was because the NYY said he can still play the outfield. I just think Damon knows the AL East so well already and he is a clutch hitter; or even Posada would be a better fit.

      Also, I like Burnett but I am not in denial about his ups and downs throughout his time in NY. People have to start to give him credit for the good things he did and no one does.

      Oh…and you have the right to your opinion, just as I do so by stating This lady is completely clueless sounds arrogant because you don't have to agree with my opinions but I am far from clueless sir.

      • Luke says:

        Sorry but anyone that compares Raul Ibanez to Nick Johnson is clueless.

        • Tanned Tom says:

          A mexican standoff between a injury prone player who is good when healthy, and a 40 year old player who just had the worst year of his career. I think ONE CAN COMPARE these players in that both were terrible signings when much better options were available.

          • Luke says:

            Ibanez has 6 seasons of 20+ homers and 80+RBI. He hit righties better than both Damon and matsui did last year. If the worst year of his career is 20 homers and 80 RBI I'll gladly take that again this year. We should all be estatic the moves cash man made this year. Our team is loaded. We have one of the best lineups and bullpens.our starting pitching should be great. With the signings of Ibanez and Chavez we have a deep bench.

          • LLP says:

            Thank you Tanned Tom….that was my point. I know that Johnson and Ibanez are different players, but where Johnson was injured all the time is equal to Ibanez being 40 in my mind.

        • LLP says:

          Luke…I was looking at the bigger picture because both have problems that makes this signing terribly risky and could use the roster spot more productively. Think BIGGER PICTURE…

  3. Richard Griffith says:

    Your post is a bit confusing:

    Since 2008, Ibanez played in 162, 134, 155, and 144 games
    Johnson played in 38, 133, 24, 0

    And you think this is the same injury history???

    Accorind to ESPN ballpark factors Yankee Stadium in 2011 was #6 in runs and #4 in HR. Citizens was #11 and #16

    2010 was essentially the same. So where would you want to hit? I'll take the Bronx. No brainer.

    I like the pick and think he'll have a great year.

    • LLP says:

      Yes Richard I am totally aware that Johnson and Ibanez numbers are very different in regards to games played.In this DH role that doesn't really matter because it is more of a part -time gig so the at-bats will be limited anyway. I was just saying that it reminded me of how awful things have gone for guys in the past few years that the Yankees have brought in just to DH.

      I understand the home-run totals per ballpark, but again I have been to CBP and it is without question smaller than Yankee Stadium. Also, as I said in the post, 15 of Ibanez's 20 home-runs were at home, and that means he was useless away from Philly. The Yankees had a better line-up than most teams last season, so that has to be plays a part in a stadium's ratings.

  4. Tanned Tom says:

    First, I thought Burnett's comments immediately after the trade were pretty classy. He acknowledged that he underperformed during the season and correctly pointed out that he did a couple of big games in the post season. I suspect he will rebound to close to his career averages this year.
    This Ibanez signing sucks. He's 40, his OBP last year was .289 which is way worse than what Nick Johnson did, and anyone who feels he's better than Damon because he can play the field is nuts. He has no real speed, does indeed have a lingering groin injury issue, and is older than dirt. At least it's only for 1 year. Would have preferred Posada or Damon, also would like the idea of letting a left handed hitting prospect from AAA play 60 games to give him a look.
    But for 2012, Ibanez is a no walk, no hit for average, no run rally killer. I would not be surprised to see him struggle and get traded by summer. (or released ala Randy Wynn)

    • LLP says:

      Tanned Tom – I am with you 100% or just not waste the roster spot on a DH and use it to add another reliever, like a prospect!!!

      • luke says:

        What prospect are you talking about? Cause Baunellos and Bettances need to be in AAA for a full year so they stop walking guys

        • LLP says:

          I think one of them should pitch out of the bullpen….plus there are other prospects like Jose Campos or David Phelps but I want Banuelos to come up. He spent half the season last year in AAA, and he did struggle some but overall he is a lefty and could be useful out of the bullpen. Also, what about OF prospect Mason Williams…he hits left and it would be refreshing for a change.

          I would rather watch a hungry, youngster struggle than another above age veteran that can't be sent down or won't allow it.

  5. Richard Griffith says:

    Kevin Long states he's still an RBI machine. I'll go with that. And yes, we signed him specifically for YS.

    You really want to use one of the B's as a reliever? So they can sit around like Ibanez??

    • LLP says:

      Richard…..What about prospect OF Mason Williams??? He hit lefty….but I presume the Yankees might want him to play everyday rather than ride the bench.

      Look, I did not think signing a "DH" was necessary with all the "days off" Girardi is said to be handing out this season.