According to George A. King III and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Yankees are considering offering Ibanez another contract this winter. This comes one year after the team let him walk following a playoff performance New Yorkers have not seen from one player since Reggie Jackson.
Almost all analysts considered Ibanez’s career near over during spring training in 2012, when he simply could not get a hit. As soon as the regular season started, however, Ibanez found a spark in his swing and put together one of the most memorable seasons of his long career.
That magical season consisted of Ibanez batting only .240 in 130 games played, which would make little sense to someone who just reads the statistics.
All season long, Ibanez came up with timely hits for the Yankees, delivering more than a handful of game-winning hits for his team. However, it was his postseason performance that forever etched his name in Yankee lore.
Had it not been for Ibanez, the Yankees probably never would have advanced past the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Division Series. It was his presence that propelled New York to the Championship Series, which it lost in four games to the Tigers. However, Ibanez did everything he could in that series as well, delivering a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth off closer Jose Valverde.
After reuniting with the Seattle Mariners last season, Ibanez tied Ted Williams’ record of single-season home runs after 40 years of age. The lefty hit 29 home runs last year, giving people in Seattle something to cheer about even when their team had been eliminated from playoff contention.
With a suspension for third baseman Alex Rodriguez looming and extreme demands from Robinson Cano, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, the Yankees could use a cheap and reliable bat in the lineup. He would not come at a great asking price, which is beneficial to an organization doing everything it can to avoid paying the giant luxury tax this season.
Furthermore, Ibanez proved last season that he is far more than just a designated hitter at this point in his career. In 2013, he played 99 games in left field.
Ibanez could provide a spark to a Yankees team that is desperately searching for help in the free-agency market.
If the Yankees make this move, land Ibanez and make the playoffs, we may witness more of that October magic New Yorkers missed out on last season.
Statistics Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.