The Yankees are currently trying to finalize their deal with Ichiro Suzuki and looking for a right handed hitting outfielder to pair with him and the other lefties in the outfield. While they are doing that they are keeping talks alive with Raul Ibanez, according to George King of the NY Post.
They are not considering Ibanez as a right handed hitting outfielder. Instead they are looking at him to fill at least half of a platoon at DH, the same job they hired him for a year ago.
Ibanez is said to prefer a return to the Yankees, but is getting interest from a number of teams including the Mariners (he used to play for them and his offseason home is in Seattle), the Phillies (also used to play for them), and the Rangers (motivated to sign somebody after they whiffed on their biggest targets). So re-signing with the Yankees is not a forgone conclusion.
Last offseason he was left without a job until February and that’s how the Yankees landed him on a $1.1 million base salary. He ended up making $3.15 million after incentives. It seems hard to believe the Yankees will commit that much to him, but it’s probably going to take more than $1.1 million. If a deal is worked out expect it to be somewhere in the middle and probably with incentives.
Ibanez was initially signed to be a DH platoon against righties last year and he hit .248/.319/.492 in that role. However, because of injuries he was forced to make 65 plate appearances against lefties and hit a pathetic .197/.246/.246 against them. He was also forced to play the field and he also struggled while he was playing in the field so the Yankees priority before signing him has been to find an actual outfielder, Scott Hairston, to make sure they don’t have to put him in a role where he wont’ thrive.