New York Yankees: Raul Ibanez Expected to Sign Soon to Be Team's DH

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IFebruary 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10:  Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies heads to first base against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The A.J. Burnett trade rumors to have finally come to an end.

The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates have reportedly agreed to a deal that will send the 35-year-old starter to Pittsburgh in exchange for two prospects and salary relief.  

The Pirates inherit $13 million of the remaining $33 million left on Burnett's deal.

Burnett will take a physical with the Pirates and because a large amount of money is involved with the trade, Major League Baseball will have to approve the deal.

Once the deal is approved, the Yankees can focus their attentions on the designated hitter spot, in which they have eyed up their candidate.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees prefer to sign former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez to be their DH in 2012.

They prefer Ibanez over former Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon because the Yankees feel Ibanez is better on defense and has better numbers against right-handed pitching.

Ken Davidoff of Newsday reported that the Yankees are negotiating extensively with Ibanez's representatives and a deal is expected once the Burnett deal to Pittsburgh is finalized.

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Along with Ibanez, the Yankees are also expected to re-sign Eric Chavez as bench help as well.

Ibanez in 2011 hit .245 with 20 home runs and 84 RBI with the Phillies. Ibanez will likely spend most of his time playing against righties, while Andruw Jones will be the starter when facing lefties.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 07:  Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Ibanez is also still in great physical condition, so if the Yankees needed him to, he could also play left field.

While I was all for bringing Damon back to New York, Ibanez at this point is the better choice, mostly because he can still play the field at a regular pace if needed, while Damon can not.

Plus, coming to Yankee Stadium, Ibanez could see a surge in power numbers, trying to hit the ball to the short porch in right field.

Since Spring Training is about to kick off for the Yankees, I expect Yankees GM Brian Cashman to wrap up the Ibanez deal as soon as possible and get him into camp and ready for the season.