Today, the sports world was informed that the New York Yankees had agreed to terms with free agent Raul Ibanez. The deal is worth $1.1 million, but could exceed that through incentives. But will the soon-to-be 40-year-old really push the Yankees forward?
Ibanez was signed to be New York's left handed designated hitter. Last year, with the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit for an average of .245. He managed to homer 20 times, while driving in 84 runs. Is this going to be enough to get it done in the Bronx?
With the Yankees acquiring pitching during this offseason, the only void needed to be filled was the DH spot. Raul Ibanez might be just what New York needs—could it be what Ibanez needs as well? With the short porch in right field, I expect Raul to prevail, but his health and age will be a major concern throughout the 2012 season.
With the signing of Raul Ibanez, the Yankees added the piece that they lacked last season when they were forced to make an abrupt exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. Out of the three men that the team was looking at, I believe Ibanez gave the Yankees more bang for their buck.
The Yankees could've gone with Johnny Damon, but he lacks the fielding ability that Raul Ibanez possesses in case of an injury this season. I also believe that Ibanez had the advantage over Matsui because the front office saw firsthand what injuries had done to "Godzilla."
Batting behind hitters like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, Ibanez is sure to be in a familiar environment. He batted behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in Philly, so he should be able to put up similar numbers—if not better ones—than he did last year.
In terms of a complete team, I believe the Yankees will be able to compete in 2012. Starting pitching does not appear to be an issue anymore, but anything is possible in the unforeseeable future—especially when the season opener is over a month away. Although up there in age, the lineup appears to be flawless on paper, but only time will tell.