Raul Ibanez Rumors

Mariners Have “Serious Interest” In Raul Ibanez

The Mariners have "serious interest" in Raul Ibanez, reports George A. King III of The New York Post. King reiterates that the Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies also have interest in the veteran slugger.

Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 homers in 425 plate appearances for the Yankees last season while playing more outfield than expected due to Brett Gardner's elbow injury. He spent the 1996-2000 and 2004-2008 seasons in Seattle.

The Mariners acquired a DH-type in Kendrys Morales earlier this week, though he could shift to first if the team is willing to give up on Justin Smoak. Playing Ibanez in the outfield regularly is another option, though it's not advisable.

New York Notes: Mets, Ibanez, Hairston

As the Yankees take aim at a third consecutive AL East title, the Mets are working toward their first division title since 2006. Here's the latest on New York's two MLB teams…

  • While Sandy Alderson and the Mets appears to have done well to obtain top prospects Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey, the GM will ultimately be assessed by how those players fare at the MLB level, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Sherman shows that the prospects traded for Cy Young winners haven’t done particularly well in the Major Leagues in recent years.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he’s open to talking to free agents or discussing trades with other clubs, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. The GM confirmed that he continues talking to Raul Ibanez and his agent, but declined to discuss his interest in free agent outfielder Scott Hairston. Ibanez could become the Yankees’ DH and Hairston could balance out the team’s lefty-heavy outfield.

Yankees Likely To Re-Sign Ichiro

TUESDAY, 5:28pm: With Kevin Youkilis in the fold, the Yankees will next look to finalize a deal with Ichiro Suzuki, a source tells Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter).  The pact could happen in the next 48 hours.

MONDAY, 3:47pm: The Yankees are moving closer to a deal with Ichiro and the sides are expected to agree to terms within the next few days, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).

10:08am: The Yankees will likely re-sign Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported last night. The Yankees are showing strong interest in the free agent outfielder, Rosenthal writes. “They are all over him,” one person told FOX Sports.

If the sides complete a deal, Ichiro would join two other left-handed hitters in New York’s outfield: Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. The team is exploring the idea of adding a right-handed complement to the group, according to Rosenthal. However, bringing Ichiro back wouldn’t prevent the Yankees from re-signing the left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez.

Ichiro, a client of agent Tony Attanasio, would likely obtain a one-year deal from the Yankees, Rosenthal reports. A one-year deal would suit the Yankees, since they are aiming to avoid the $189MM luxury tax threshold by 2014. Ichiro ranked 40th on MLBTR’s list of top 50 free agents.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported on Friday that the Yankees continue to talk with Ichiro, who is now 39 years old.

Mariners, Phillies, Rangers Interested In Ibanez

The Yankees missed out on a couple of their free agent targets today when Jeff Keppinger and Eric Chavez agreed to deals with the White Sox and Diamondbacks respectively. Now, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the Yanks could lose out on another free agent, as postseason hero Raul Ibanez is drawing interest from the Mariners, Phillies, and Rangers.

We heard back in November that there was mutual interest in a reunion between the Yankees and Ibanez. However, a report earlier today suggested that the Mariners were pushing hard for the veteran, with New York not moving as aggressively. Ibanez has history in Seattle and Philadelphia, as well as New York.

The Yanks have talked to Ibanez's agent in Nashville, GM Brian Cashman confirmed last night.

Quick Hits: Rockies, Bonifacio, Oliver, Ibanez

The Winter Meetings rumors continue to fly in, so let's round up another batch of them….

  • The Rockies have told reps for free agents that they're attempting to acquire a pitcher via trade, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Colorado would also like to bring back Jeff Francis on a minor league deal, tweets Renck.
  • Although he indicated last night that Emilio Bonifacio could be available, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets today that the Blue Jays don't want to move him, "at least not yet."
  • Darren Oliver remains undecided about whether he'll play in 2013, and hasn't requested a trade, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The Blue Jays have exercised their '13 team option on the left-hander.
  • The Astros are planning to take two players in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • The Mariners remain in play for virtually every available hitter, tweets Knobler. Among their targets is Raul Ibanez, who the M's are "pushing" for, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Ibanez would prefer to rejoin the Yankees, but New York hasn't been as aggressive as Seattle, tweets Sherman.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Yankees bid higher than the White Sox for Jeff Keppinger, but the utility infielder chose Chicago.
  • In addition to Keppinger, the White Sox plan to bring in another infielder and a catcher, assuming A.J. Pierzynski leaves, tweets MLB.com's Scott Merkin.

Latest On The Yankees

The Yankees have been eerily quiet so far at the 2013 Winter Meetings.  Still, here's the latest from GM Brian Cashman's media briefing.

Free Agent Rumors: Hannahan, Ibanez, Saito, Nakajima

We rounded up one set of free agent rumors earlier in the day, but as we approach late afternoon in Nashville, it's about time for a fresh batch….

Mutual Interest For Yankees, Ibanez

Postseason hero Raul Ibanez would like to re-sign with the Yankees this offseason and the interest is mutual, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. The Yankees have “significant interest” in the 40-year-old, according to Davidoff. The club has asked Ibanez to wait while they focus on pitching, and that hasn’t diminished his interest in returning to the Bronx.

“If I get an opportunity to play for the Yankees again,” he told Davidoff, “it would be fantastic.”

Ibanez provided power throughout the regular season, hitting 19 home runs and posting a .240/.308/.453 batting line as a designated hitter and corner outfielder. The 40-year-old had a remarkable postseason, hitting two memorable home runs in the ALDS and another in the ALCS. He shouldn't face left-handed pitching at this stage in his career, and manager Joe Girardi acknowledged as much by using Ibanez against right-handers for 85% of his 425 plate appearances.

AL East Links: Ibanez, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox

Four years ago today, the Yankees traded a package headlined by Wilson Betemit to the White Sox for Nick Swisher. After helping New York to the 2009 World Series and three other playoff appearances, Swisher is now in line for a big multiyear contract as a free agent this winter. Here's the latest from the AL East…

New York Notes: Outfield, Soriano, A-Rod, Wright

The Yankees are considering a defensive change for next season, shifting Curtis Granderson to left field and Brett Gardner to center, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  Granderson's defense has declined in recent years, as he has posted negative UZR/150 ratings in four of the last five years, including a -18.2 UZR/150 in 2012.  Gardner, on the other hand, has a career 30.6 UZR/150, ranking him amongst the best defensive outfielders in the game.

Here's the latest from both the Yankees and Mets…

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman doesn't plan to offer Rafael Soriano a deal similar to the one he signed after the 2010 season that established Soriano as Mariano Rivera's set-up man and understudy at closer, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews.  "I don't think Soriano would sign here if he's not going to be the closer," Cashman said. "And I don't think we would do again what we did before. He's going to want closer money and I doubt he would want to come back here as a set-up man."  Soriano is a free agent after opting out of the last year of his deal, and agent Scott Boras said Soriano is looking for a four-year contract to close.  Soriano could still return to the Bronx, of course, if Rivera retires and the Bombers suddenly have a hole at the back of their bullpen.
  • Also from Matthews, he reports that the Yankees will make qualifying offers to Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda.  Swisher will almost surely turn this offer down but Kuroda "might accept it."  The Yankees have interest in bringing back Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez on short-term contracts, while the club also would like to re-sign Andy Pettitte and Russell Martin.
  • The Yankees haven't received any calls from teams interested in Alex Rodriguez, reports USA Today's Bob Nightengale.  It could be a moot point, as Nightengale hears that Rodriguez isn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for any team.
  • The Mets are continuing to talk to David Wright about a multiyear extension but talks are "stuck in neutral" and there is "nothing imminent" between the two sides, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post and Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger (both links to Twitter).
  • ESPN's Jim Bowden believes Wright and the Mets will agree to a new long-term contract, but if they can't, Bowden suggests five teams who could become trade destinations for Wright.