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Hot Stove: Seattle Mariners Eyeing Return of Raul Ibanez?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12:  Raul Ibanez #27 of the New York Yankees connects for a solo home run in the fourth-inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 12, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Phil WatsonCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2012

***UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweeted Saturday evening that the Seattle Mariners and Raul Ibanez had reached a contract agreement.***

George King of the New York Post reported Saturday that the Seattle Mariners are reportedly showing “serious interest” in free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez, who played for the New York Yankees in 2012.

King, citing a “person with knowledge of the situation,” said Seattle would like to sign the 40-year-old who hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 425 plate appearances for New York last season.

Ibanez has served two previous stints with the Mariners, as a reserve from 1996-2000 and as their everyday left fielder and sometimes designated hitter from 2004-08. His second stay with the Mariners included the most productive years of his career, when he hit .291/.354/.477 with 113 homers and 489 RBI over those five seasons. He drove in more than 100 runs three times during that span, including a career-high 123 in 2006.

According to King, the Yankees have been in talks with Ibanez’s agent but stressed those talks have not included actual contract negotiations.

Ibanez said earlier this winter that he would like to return to the Bronx, but the Yankees have not made re-signing him a priority.

Instead, the Yankees have been searching for an outfielder who swings from the right side of the plate to provide some depth and alternatives to lefty-swinging regulars Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki.

New York has interest in free-agent Scott Hairston, but Hairston wants a multi-year contract, and that has been a sticking point for the Yankees, according to King, who also said the Philadelphia Phillies have shown interest in the former New York Met.

On Friday, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted the Atlanta Braves were also interested in Hairston.

One potential right-handed hitting outfielder came off the market Saturday, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Feinsand tweeted Saturday morning that Cody Ross had agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, citing a league source.

The departure of Ibanez—who set a postseason record in 2012 with three home runs in the playoffs hit in the ninth inning or later—could leave Eduardo Nunez as a viable option as the designated hitter, according to King.

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