Raul Ibanez will be the Yankees Designated Hitter in 2012. The 39-year old is coming off his worst year since he became a regular (.245/.289). The journeyman signed at 1-year deal $1.1 million contract that could be worth as much as $4 million with incentives. It’s a risk-free gamble by Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Yankees fans may remember Raul Ibanez’s 2009 World Series, in which he was one of the few Phillies to actually threaten the Yankees with his bat. Of course, 2009 was Ibanez’s most famous season, although his 2006-2008 Mariners campaign was much better according to WAR.
The lefty Ibanez can only be a DH now; he was one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball.
Even though Raul is one of the nicest players in MLB, that didn’t stop some fans and journalists for suspecting he was using steroids in 2009 when he had a great homerun pace, such as “The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows”.
Unfortunately, Mr. Nice Guy lost his cool as he attacked the mutants:
“You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool – anything you can test. I’ll give you back every dime I’ve ever made. I’ll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this stuff, Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother’s basement. It demeans everything you’ve done with one stroke of the pen.”
Ironically, his 2010 season sucked, as did his 2011 season. He’s in a serious decline, and he is not getting younger. He’s in the twilight of his career. In many ways, the current version of Raul Ibanez is worse than Andruw Jones ($2 million). Raul’s splits indicate that he can’t hit lefties. Jones can hit lefties, so it should be a strict platoon. If that is so, it’s possible the Yankees may get 25-35 HR from the DH slot, maybe 80 RBI, but with no walks, batting average, or speed. Raul may have some clutch hits left in his bat, but more than likely he will continue to suck.
Other options included the in-house option of Eduardo Nunez (who can’t field), free agent Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon (who was told by Cashman he was not his #1 choice and demanded 2-years and loads of cash), literally any player who is currently unemployed, AAA players, or, of course, Mike Francesa’s lame “rotating DH” philosophy (A-Rod, Jeter).
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