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Mariners Smart to Bring Veteran OF Raul Ibanez Back to Seattle

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Mariners Smart to Bring Veteran OF Raul Ibanez Back to Seattle
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Raul Ibanez is 40 years old, but apparently the Seattle Mariners still believe that the left-handed power-hitter can contribute.

Ibanez appeared in 130 games for the New York Yankees in 2012. He faced right-hand pitching almost exclusively in that time.

According to The Associated Press (via ESPN), "A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Raul Ibanez and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract."

Per Baseball-Reference.com, 85 percent of Ibanez's at-bats came with a platoon advantage.

He posted a batting average of .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI for the Bombers. The last two seasons have seen Ibanez's batting average dip dramatically. He's a lifetime .271 hitter, but at this stage of his career, that is a long shot.

He hit .275 in 2010 and .245 in 2011.

He still has some pop from the left side, as he hit 19 home runs in the 2012 season. That is likely the quality that endeared him to Seattle. Power from the left side of the plate is still a rare commodity.

When there is an experienced player with a proven track record availale, he'll always have suitors.

Ibanez's power came exclusively against right-handers. He hit all 19 of his home runs against right-handed pitching. Though he played the field the majority of the time for the Yankees, he is not one of the most fleet outfielders.

He could hold his greatest value as a designated hitter, especially in a platoon situation with right-handed slugger Jesus Montero.

Ibanez brings a wealth of playoff experience to the table as well. Over his time with the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, Ibanez has appeared in 44 postseason games.

Overall, this is a good veteran bat to add to the fold.

As long as a team can hit Ibanez seventh or even sixth against right-handed starters, he can certainly help.

Because Ibanez has had two previous stints with the Mariners organization, he fits the team perfectly. He can split time with Montero as a designated hitter, or he can provide depth in the outfield. 

Above all else though, he will provide proven leadership on an unproven team.

That's exactly what the Mariners are hoping for, and what they need. He's not a superstar, but Ibanez still gives his new team solid value at this point in his career.

 

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