The Yankees might have missed out on Torii Hunter, but they have begun preliminary talks with Raul Ibanez about bringing him back in a platoon role next season, according to Dan Martin of the NY Post.
The Yankees signed Ibanez last offseason to be the left handed part of their DH platoon. Because of the injury to Brett Gardner they were forced to use him in a more everyday role. They would likely be bringing him back in that initial role of the left handed part of their DH platoon next year with Alex Rodriguez likely serving as the right handed end of that platoon.
Ibanez, 40, hit .240/.308/.453 last season. That’s a poor average and on base percentage, but his powerful bat made him a decent option which paid off with a few big home runs in the playoffs. Those numbers were even better against righties as he hit .248/.319/.492 so if the Yankees were able to keep him in the strict DH platoon role he could potentially contribute even more.
The interesting thing will be how much they are willing to pay Ibanez. He earned $1.1 million in base salary and ended up making $3.15 million after incentives. If the Yankees give him more than that this time around it could be a message that they plan on using him a lot next year, possibly in an outfield platoon, which would be a disaster. If they insist on keeping his salary down though it could be a sign that he’s more of a backup option in a similar situation to Freddy Garcia last year where he was insurance more than anything.