Rumor: Ibanez’s 1st choice is the Yankees

While the Yankees are having discussions with free agent outfielder Scott Hairston, they have asked Raul Ibanez to hold tight so they can negotiate with Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, according to Ken Davidoff of the NY Post.

“I know they have certain needs that they need to go after first,” Ibanez told Davidoff. “I’m open to anything. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to play in The Bronx again. That would be great.”

It sounds like the Yankees want to get a deal done with Ibanez, but will wait until later in the offseason so they can take care of some things, and probably get a better idea of where they stand payroll-wise, before they make things official with him. Something similar went down with the Yankees and Eric Chavez a year ago.

The Yankees paid Ibanez a base salary of $1.1 million and he ended up making $3.15 million after incentives. Both sides would probably be interested in something around the same range.

A platoon with Hairston, who hit .286/.317/.550 against lefties last year would work well with Ibanez, who hit .248/.319/.492 against righties.

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