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).