Raul Ibanez’s one-year contract with the Yankees is worth just $1 million in guaranteed money, but the bigger issue is that he’s 40 years old and coming off a terrible season in which he hit .245 with a .289 on-base percentage and .419 slugging percentage in 144 games.
Within that awful overall performance was some decent work versus right-handed pitching, against whom Ibanez hit .256 with a .307 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage. Of course, that’s hardly good for someone who is now a designated hitter and Ibanez also batted just .211 with a .232 OBP and .353 SLG off lefties.
So–as our own D.J. Short just asked on Twitter–if the Yankees were willing to hand the DH spot over to an old, rapidly declining hitter who posted decent numbers versus righties and terrible numbers versus lefties last season, why not just re-sign Jorge Posada (who retired because the Yankees weren’t interested)?
Because for as much criticism as Posada took in what turned out to be his final season, he dramatically out-hit Ibanez against right-handed pitching and the Yankees are going to use Andruw Jones as their DH versus left-handed pitching anyway. Last season Posada hit .269 with an .814 OPS off righties, compared to .256 with a .747 OPS for Ibanez.
Ibanez may be a slightly better fit for the roster because he can play the outfield, but he certainly can’t play it anything but very poorly and, if playing a position very badly counts as versatility then Posada’s catching has similar value. Whatever the case, the Yankees said goodbye to a 41-year-old, mediocre designated hitter who played his entire 17-year career in New York and signed a 40-year-old, mediocre designated hitter who might actually be worse for the role.