Raul Ibanez Rumors
The Mariners have officially signed Raul Ibanez to a one-year contract, the team announced. The deal is worth $2.75MM guaranteed with another $1.25MM in performance bonuses. The ACES client played in Seattle from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008.
Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.453 with 19 homers in 425 plate appearances for the Yankees last season. He was considerably more productive against righties (.248/.319/.492) and at Yankee Stadium (.273/.349/.545), and he wound up starting 76 games in the outfield due to Brett Gardner's injury. The Yankees, Rangers, and Phillies also had interest in signing him.
The Mariners acquired Kendrys Morales last week, who gives the team a logjam at first base and DH along with Jesus Montero, John Jaso, Justin Smoak, and Ibanez. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes did not rate Ibanez as one of this winter's top 50 free agents. The Mariners designated D.J. Mitchell for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement while The Associated Press, WFAN's Sweeny Murti, and MLB.com's Greg Johns added details (Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News looks at the Yankees' offseason so far and examines deals the team hasn't made given budgetary concerns (all Twitter links)...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman blames the team's lack of pursuit of Raul Ibanez on the club's priority of acquiring a right-handed hitting outfielder. Beyond finding an outfielder, Cashman says that the team does not have an unlimited budget and must work within its means.
- Feinsand points to right-handed outfielder Matt Diaz as a potential fit for the Yankees. Diaz has regained his health, should be an inexpensive sign and would bring a career batting line against lefties of .324/.364/.498.
- The Yankees will open the 2013 season with a payroll over $200MM but remain in a situation similar to last year where Cashman had to move expensive contracts before adding anyone new.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Cashman confirmed he's talked to the representatives for Kevin Youkilis, A.J. Pierzynski, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Ichiro Suzuki (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch reporting).
- It's still probable that the Yankees' catcher is already on the roster, and the team is focused on a corner outfield replacement for Nick Swisher as well as left side infield depth (Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting).
- Cashman described the third base market as "a very limited sandbox to play in."
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....
- Recently non-tendered third baseman Jack Hannahan has a big league offer from an AL Central team, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It could be the Twins, who met with his rep yesterday according to Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500.
- The Mariners contacted Raul Ibanez's agent, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.
- Shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima seeks a three-year deal, tweets Yahoo's Jeff Passan, but teams are hesitant.
- Takashi Saito, who turns 43 in February, would like to pitch another year in the U.S., tweets Yahoo's Tim Brown.
- The Mets have considered the idea of signing Mark Reynolds to play in the outfield, but his price tag may be too high for their liking, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Davidoff also tweets that the Yankees have met with Eric Chavez's agent at the Winter Meetings and expressed an interest in bringing back Chavez.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that the Brewers have "definite interest" in Jason Grilli, but only at a reasonable price (Twitter link). Milwaukee continues to seek both starters and relievers, but doesn't have the money to make a play for someone like Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse, says Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
- Jeremy Bonderman, who is attempting a comeback, could have a deal in place by the weekend, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
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.