Raul Ibanez Rumors

Royals Sign Raul Ibanez

The Royals have signed Raul Ibanez to a Major League contract, the team announced.  The 42-year-old was released by the Angels last week after signing a one-year, $2.75MM deal with the Halos in the offseason.  Ibanez is represented by ACES.

Ibanez didn’t produce much in Anaheim, hitting only .157/.258/.265 with three homers over 190 PA this season.  He projects as a bench bat and occasional designated hitter for the Royals, likely spelling regular DH Billy Butler every once in a while against a right-handed starter.  Ibanez, while a below-average defensive outfielder, could also see a bit of time in the outfield since the Royals just designated Justin Maxwell for assignment.

While it’s unclear if Ibanez has anything left at the plate, it’s a fairly low-risk signing for the Royals considering Ibanez’s track record, clubhouse presence and the fact that he’s signing for a minimum salary.  This is Ibanez’s second stint with Kansas City, as he originally played for the Royals from 2001-03.

West Notes: Correa, Ibanez, Hawkins

Top Astros prospect Carlos Correa awaits medical evaluation in Houston after an ankle injury Saturday, as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle notes. “I hit an RBI triple and then my spike got stuck at the bag,” Correa explains. GM Jeff Luhnow says Correa is expected to miss time due to the injury, although it’s not yet clear how much. Correa, the top pick in the 2012 draft, was hitting .325/.416/.510 for Class A+ Lancaster, and the Chronicle guesses he might have been in line for promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi. In any case, losing him to a serious injury would be a significant blow to the Astros, even with their strong farm system. Here are more notes from the West divisions.

  • Raul Ibanez is not a good fit for the Mariners, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune tweets. Ibanez hit 29 homers for the Mariners in 2013, but the Angels released him yesterday after he hit a mere .157/.258/.265 in 190 plate appearances for them.
  • Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins is 41, but he has no plans to stop playing, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes. If I stay healthy, I can pitch forever,” says Hawkins. “That’s my thought process. I have been blessed with a right arm that has definitely defeated all of the odds.” The Rockies signed Hawkins last winter to a deal that pays him $2.25MM in 2014, with a $2.25MM option and a $250K buyout for 2015. Hawkins’ 2.77 ERA suggests the Rockies will pick up that very cheap option, although Hawkins’ peripherals have been underwhelming, with 3.8 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 26 innings so far.

Angels Release Raul Ibanez

The Angels have announced that they’ve released Raul Ibanez. Ibanez collected 190 plate appearances with the Angels this season and hit .157/.258/.265. The Angels have endured criticism recently for playing Ibanez at designated hitter ahead of the much younger C.J. Cron.

The Angels signed Ibanez to a big-league deal in December, paying him $2.75MM plus bonuses based on playing time. Ibanez was effective offensively for the Mariners last season, hitting .242/.306/.487 with 29 homers in 596 plate appearances, but he never got untracked with the Angels, and he has been a consistently weak defender and baserunner for years, so he doesn’t add value if he’s not hitting. Ibanez, 42, has played in parts of 19 seasons with the Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Yankees and Angels.

West Notes: Perez, Cashner, Ibanez, La Russa

Rangers left-hander Martin Perez underwent his Tommy John surgery earlier today, and everything “went as expected,” writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister, who performs most of the club’s surgeries. As the Rangers look to deal with that blow to their rotation, here’s more from baseball’s Western divisions…

  • For the time being, Padres ace Andrew Cashner has avoided joining Perez on the list of series elbow injuries. Cashner underwent an MRI today, and while that test has conditioned the public to fear the worst, GM Josh Byrnes issued the following statement via press release: After performing an MRI today on Andrew’s right elbow, our doctors have indicated to me that he has elbow soreness and irritation. Based on our doctors’ recommendation we will be proceeding with rest and rehabilitation for his recovery.”
  • Though the Angels will soon need to make roster moves to get Kole Calhoun, David Freese and Dane De La Rosa back on the active roster, releasing struggling DH Raul Ibanez isn’t likely, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. General manager Jerry Dipoto wouldn’t say Ibanez will not be released, Gonzalez writes, but he expressed that the team will remain patient and voiced confidence in the aging slugger: Raul has a track record. He has done this before. He has gone through cold spells, and he has gotten hot. There’s nobody here who believes Raul has had his last good days in the big leagues.”
  • Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall “can hardly stop pinching [himself]” after the team’s hiring of Tony La Russa as its new chief baseball officer, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. La Russa drew interest from multiple clubs for an executive role and turned down at least one offer, feeling that he wasn’t needed with that team, Heyman adds. He also writes that manager Kirk Gibson has close to a clean slate following the La Russa hire, and that La Russa will give Gibson and GM Kevin Towers until at least season’s end to help get the Snakes back on track.

Quick Hits: Rincon, Coffey, Ibanez, Kolek

Here are some stray notes from around the game to finish up the evening:

  • 35-year-old former big leaguer Juan Rincon, who has not thrown in the bigs since 2010, is looking to mount a comeback, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Rincon, a righty who owns a 4.03 ERA in 507 MLB innings, has thrown for several clubs already, says Heyman.
  • Meanwhile, another veteran — 33-year-old right-hander Todd Coffey — is set to put on a showcase tomorrow, Heyman tweets. Heyman says that the eight-year veteran, whose career ERA stands at 4.10, has amped his fastball up into the 92mph to 94mph range as he looks to return after sitting out all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Besting both of the aforementioned players in both age and MLB service is Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez, who is now in his 19th big league campaign at age 41. But with a disappointing .139/.248/.267 slash through 117 plate appearances, Ibanez could be in danger of losing his roster spot, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. With rookie C.J. Cron off to an outlandish 1.128 OPS start (albeit in only 29 plate appearances), and having shown the ability to hit righties at the Triple-A level, Ibanez could prove superfluous. On the other hand, manager Mike Scioscia appeared to downplay that possibility. “I don’t know that it’s going to be C.J. versus Raul,” he said. “We’ll find at-bats for guys who are swinging the bat well.”
  • While hard-throwing young arms are the story of this year’s amateur draft, none has more power than Texas prep righty Tyler Kolek, writes Baseball America’s John Manuel. The mountainous Kolek has consistently hit triple-digits on the radar gun, leading scouts to tell Manuel that he throws harder than any high school pitcher in the draft era. Of course, that kind of radar reading comes with risks, as all observers of the game are aware. Fellow BA writer J.J. Cooper breaks down the rise of power arms in the high school ranks, discussing the risks — and, of course, the immense upside — that come with top-end speed at a young age.

Angels Sign Raul Ibanez

JANUARY 15: Ibanez will make about $250K for every 50th plate appearance, and would max out his $2.25MM incentive plan by making 400 trips to the plate, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

DECEMBER 27: The Angels lost a good deal of pop from their lineup when they traded Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks, and they're hoping that Raul Ibanez can replace some of those lost round-trippers. The Halos officially announced that they've signed Ibanez to a one-year deal today. The ACES client reportedly receives a $2.75MM guarantee with incentives that can take the deal as high as $5MM.

The 41-year-old Ibanez turned back the clock with a surprising 29-homer campaign with the Mariners last year. Ibanez slashed .242/.306/.487 and hit lefties equally as well as he hit right-handed pitching. However, the Mariners gave Ibanez a surprising 832 innings in the outfield, where his glove was poor enough for Fangraphs to grade him as a replacement-level player and Baseball-Reference to peg him at a mere 0.4 WAR despite his power.

In that sense, Anaheim is a logical fit, as they don't need to play Ibanez in the outfield given the presence of Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck. Ibanez figures to receive the lion's share of at-bats as the Halos' DH. Though Albert Pujols occupied the position a good deal last year, Anaheim will bank on his health in 2014 and beyond as he returns to his role as an everyday first baseman. Ibanez isn't the only new face in the Angels' lineup either, as GM Jerry Dipoto acquired David Freese from the Cardinals this offseason in a trade that sent Peter Bourjos to St. Louis.

As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register points out (on Twitter), this move places the Angels within roughly $15MM of the $189MM luxury tax threshold, but that doesn't figure to stop the team from pursuing Matt Garza or Masahiro Tanaka (in the event that he is posted).

Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish first reported that the two sides were close (on Twitter), and Fletcher first tweeted the one-year, $2.75MM guarantee. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement and the incentives (Twitter links).

Angels Nearing Deal With Raul Ibanez

The Angels are closing in on a deal with Raul Ibanez, per MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports adds (also via Twitter) that it will be a one-year deal. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that the deal is expected to be for $2.75MM.

The 41-year-old Ibanez turned back the clock with a surprising 29-homer campaign with the Mariners last year. Ibanez slashed .242/.306/.487 and hit lefties equally as well as he hit right-handed pitching. However, the Mariners gave Ibanez a surprising 832 innings in the outfield, where his glove was poor enough for Fangraphs to grade him as a replacement-level player and Baseball-Reference to peg him at a mere 0.4 WAR despite his power.

In that sense, Anaheim is a logical fit, as they don't need to play Ibanez in the outfield given the presence of Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck.

This post was originally published on Dec. 18.

AL Notes: Rays, Garza, Ibanez, Astros

On this date in 1980, the Yankees made Dave Winfield the highest-paid athlete in all of sports with a ten-year, $16MM contract. In the intervening four decades, a ten-year MLB contract is now worth something in the neighborhood of $240MM (Robinson Cano and Albert Pujols) to $275MM (Alex Rodriguez). Meanwhile, $16MM will only buy you one year of Hiroki Kuroda or two years of Marlon Byrd this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. As you rush out and buy your child a bat, a glove, and every baseball instructional video ever made, here's today's American League news and notes:

  • The Rays feel justified in giving James Loney the most lucrative free agent contract during Andrew Friedman's tenure, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays value Loney's defense, quality at-bats, clubhouse presence, and his left-handed bat which balances a predominantly right-handed lineup.
  • Also from Topkin's article, the Rays will now turn their attention to adding bench and bullpen pieces with catcher Jose Lobaton and outfielder Matt Joyce as possible trade chips.
  • The market for Matt Garza is strong because of his 2013 season, AL East pedigree, and not being attached to draft pick compensation, tweets CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
  • The Angels believe they can sign both Garza and Raul Ibanez and still fall below the $189MM luxury tax threshold, writes FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal notes the Angels' interest in Ibanez stems from his career slash line of .349/.407/.522 in 327 plate appearances at Angel Stadium.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Astros are still in the market for a first baseman and could turn to the Nationals' Tyler Moore.
  • Despite the signing of Joba Chamberlain, the Tigers' preference is to have Bruce Rondon set up closer Joe Nathan, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.
  • The Royals are to be commended not just for signing Omar Infante away from the Yankees, but also strengthening their ballclub immediately at a reasonable cost, opines Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan.

AL West Notes: Wilson, Young, Angels, Morrison

The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.  Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity.  "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice.  The Wilson selection isn't a gimmick,  ESPN's Richard Durrett writes, and Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though Daniels stressed that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals.  Here's more out of the AL West…

  • Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes.  The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market.  Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
  • There is a chance that Michael Young could rejoin the Rangers if both parties see a fit, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets.  Texas dealt its longtime franchise staple to the Phillies last offseason and Young was subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in August.
  • Despite recent rumors linking the Angels to Matt Garza and Raul Ibanez, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team doesn't have any outstanding offers to free agents.
  • In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
  • The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports.  Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
  • The YankeesIndiansBravesPhilliesBlue JaysTwins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post

Quick Hits: Diaz, Benoit, Axford, Feldman, Ibanez

Since being ruled ineligible due to providing a false birthdate over the summer, Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz has interest from a list of teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, agent Jamie Torres tells Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. “There are some very good players out right now and more are coming,” Torres said. “Let’s put it this way: I can predict that a few of the Cuban players that sign between now and Spring Training are going to contribute in the big leagues in the 2014 season and their contribution is going to be significant.”  More from around baseball..

  • Omar Infante has been looking for a four-year deal and is drawing some interest from clubs who see him as a left fielder or third baseman, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Yesterday it was reported that Infante is seeking a deal with an $8MM+ average annual value.
  • Some agents and teams are convinced that the three-year, $30MM deal the Astros gave free agent pitcher Scott Feldman has been a wrench in talks for others since agents feel obligated to also shoot for that type of “lottery ticket” contract, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
  • Free agent Raul Ibanez is considering offers from multiple contenders, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Earlier today, Stark reported that Ibanez could be headed to the Angels.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he’ll hold on to Ike Davis if no one comes to the table with a strong enough offer, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “Let me emphasize one thing: We’re not in the business of giving players away,” Alderson said. “We don’t expect to get in that business.”
  • The Tigers are in on Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). The Twins, meanwhile, aren’t in the mix because of the draft pick compensation tied to him.
  • Agent Scott Boras says he would talk to Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, writes CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff.
  • The Twins continue to talk to free agent pitcher Mike Pelfrey, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether a deal with Pelfrey would preclude a signing of fellow free agent hurler Bronson Arroyo, but MInnesota has flexibility.
  • One GM tells Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily (Twitter link) that he can’t see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft.
  • White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn says his team still has several potential options ahead less than 24 hours after acquiring center fielder Adam Eaton from the Diamondbacks in a three-team deal, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. One rival exec believes the White Sox would like to trade outfielder Dayan Viciedo, who is now part of a crowded house with the addition of Eaton. Another baseball source said the White Sox have looked into the possibility of trading away second baseman Gordon Beckham.
  • The free agent market for second basemen seems to be impacted by the availability of Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips, and others, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.