General manager Brian Cashman said yesterday that the Yankees “are taking to Raul Ibanez” about returning to New York.
Ibanez came up huge in the postseason, but had a modest regular season performance at age 40, hitting .240 with 19 homers and a .761 OPS in a platoon role that shielded him from tough left-handed pitchers.
Ibanez hasn’t topped an .800 OPS since 2009, but if the Yankees are looking to pinch pennies he’ll certainly be cheap to re-sign.
That would also mean that the Yankees’ four outfielders and designated hitters–Ibanez, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner–were all left-handed hitters, so not surprisingly George King of the New York Post speculates that Cashman is pursuing various right-handed-hitting outfielders to pair with them.
Earlier this week the Yankees were linked to Vernon Wells of the Angels and I supposed someone can technically be a right-handed hitter even if they’ve ceased hitting years ago.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.