The New York Yankees are still fleshing out their lineup for next season, and general manager Brian Cashman is reportedly in negotiations to bring back lefty designated hitter and outfielder Raul Ibanez.
Ibanez has said he wants to stay with the Yankees and Cashman told the New York Post that he is currently speaking to Ibanez’s agent.
The 40-year-old smacked 19 home runs in the regular season, and three more in the postseason last year, including two pinch-hit moonshots that won Game 3 of the American League Division Series for New York. He was one of the few Yankees that shined in the postseason, hitting .318 with a 1.196 OPS in 22 at-bats.
The Yankees may have to contend with Texas, Seattle, and Philadelphia for Ibanez’s services. He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Mariners, and three seasons with the Phillies.
Texas could use him to replace some of the power void left by Josh Hamilton’s signing with the Los Angeles Angels last week.
The Post also pointed out that should New York retain Ibanez, they would have a plethora of left-handed bats, which could increase interest in Angels’ righty Vernon Wells to balance out the lineup.
Batting .240 and knocking in 62 RBIs along with his home runs, Ibanez took a major pay cut last season, earning $1.1 million after making more than $24 million during his last two years in Philadelphia.
Considering his post season heroics and salary history, Ibanez could ask for considerably more. However the Yankees have held pat on their stance to keep contracts low and short term.
New York re-signed outfielder Brett Gardener for one-year at $2.85 million, and Ichiro Suzuki has reportedly agreed to a two-year deal.