Just days after clearing $13 million off the books by sending beleaguered right-hander, AJ Burnett, to the Pittsburgh Pirates the Yankees have filled their last critical need by signing a power hitting DH. Raul Ibanez is set to join the Bronx Bombers on a $1.1 million contract that maxes out at $4 million with incentives. This is welcome news as the Yankees had been looking for a reliable, veteran lefty after they created the hole in the DH slot by trading C/DH Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.
The Yankees remained patient during the first half of the off-season, while the Angels were signing Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, the Red Sox were finding new management, and the Marlins were making headlines every week. That patience has paid off. They resigned CC Sabathia early on and then added Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda while subtracting AJ Burnett to strengthen a weak pitching staff. They lost star prospect, Jesus Montero, in the process but plugged the DH hole with Raul Ibanez while prospects like Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez prepare to take over the catching duties. Alex Rodriguez will likely transition into a primary DH role in the coming years, so using a veteran to fill that role in the immediate short-term may have been a plus.
The only priority the Yankees have not checked off their list was signing a lefty specialist for the bullpen and that is of no fault of their own. They came to terms with Hideki Okajima, but the contract fell through when he failed his physical.
The Yankees now have arguably the deepest lineup in baseball. They also have the maybe the deepest rotation outside of Los Angeles–where the Angels boast Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, CJ Wilson, Ervin Santana, and Jerome Williams–and they’ll return one of the baseball’s best bullpens. Personal reasons have made this one of the toughest off-seasons for Brian Cashman, but he has made this one of his most wildly successful baseball off-seasons.
As always, please subscribe to this blog by clicking the “Follow” button at the top of the right sidebar. If you don’t have a WordPress account, you’ll have to enter your email address. You can share your opinions in the comment section below or by tweeting to @Ryan_Kantor. Thanks for reading!
Don’t love it, but it’s hard to argue against it. The Yankees needed a guy to DH against RHP, but why guarantee that person a major league deal? They have Russell Branyan on a minor league deal already so it would have made sense to bring Ibanez in on a minor league deal and let them battle it out in spring training. Ibanez obviously didn’t have many teams banging down his door with major league jobs.
So long as he never plays the field and never bats against a lefty, Ibanez should be just fine. Sure he’s in decline, but he hasn’t reached the point where he’s unusable against RH pitching. If he can duplicate Posada line against RHP last year (.269/.348/.466) he’ll be more than fine. Ultimately, I imagine the Yankees swinging a deal around the deadline for a more full-time DH option (a la 2010 Lance Berkman).
I think Ibanez and Jones can platoon to give similar production to what we would have had with Mr. Montero. In a two years or so we’ll be DHing A-rod all the time and will appreciate the opening. We’ll also have Austin Romine behind the plate and need the opening there for him. Now we just need to be careful not to ruin Pineda like we do to all young pitchers. Hughes would have been great if he came up through…say the Twins organization. Ian Kennedy is awesome now that he is out of our organization. I’m happy for him, but what does that say about us?
Don’t know if we can say Hughes would have been great coming up through some other organization. He’s had a lot of injury problems and that’s not necessarily due to how he was handled. Joba was absolutely mishandled and they should have kept him as a starter once they didn’t need his bullpen help.
Kennedy is the same pitcher he was in NY, just more experienced and pitching in the NL West. With the opportunity in NY he wouldn’t be a Cy Young contender, but he’d most likely be a serviceable back-end starter.
I don’t know about that. Hughes I’ll concede, but Kennedy is very very good now. He is a stud in Arizona. He wasn’t even a serviceable #5 for us.
Thanks for commenting.