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.
Gawker/Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio is not always the muckraker Gotham wants, but sometimes he’s the muckraker Gotham needs.
Wait, not sure we really need this, but it’s out there anyway and 800 readers will send me this throughout the day asking me to link it, so I link it: Daulerio tracked down Brian Cashman’s mistress. She’s fed up with the Yankees’ GM, reached out to his wife, and is basically opening up about it all.
Go for the story, stay for the picture of Cashman’s pajama pants. Oh, and on at least one tangential baseball point, the hearsay from the mistress in which she says that Cashman said that Jorge Posada was acting like a “spoiled brat” last season, presumably when he sat out of that game because Joe Girardi dropped him way down in the batting order.
Whether any of this is anyone’s business or newsworthy or whatever is an open question. On the one hand it all seems kind of unseemly, and apart from the Posada thing, has nothing to do with baseball. On the other hand, Cashman and a handful of other larger baseball figures are routinely covered by the baseball press for non-baseball things such as their charity work, their homes, and all manner of other things, so this is a balancing yin to all of that yang.
We link, you decide, then we all read it regardless of what we say about the morals and ethics of it all because deep, deep down we all like gossip and let’s not pretend we don’t.
In the wake of Jorge Posada’s retirement following an 1,829-game career spent entirely with the Yankees comes a story about how he was almost traded to the Mariners as a prospect way back in 1995.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has the details:
Management deemed that they couldn’t afford Tino Martinez, so he was on the trade block. GM Woody Woodward focused on the Yankees, who needed a first-base replacement for retiring Don Mattingly. Posada at the time was a 23-year-old catcher who had spent the ’95 season at Triple-A Columbus. For Columbus, he had hit .255 with eight homers and 51 RBIs, striking out 101 times in 108 games. … Posada was a well-regarded prospect, nothing more, nothing less.
According to a story by long-time Mariners beat writer Bob Finnigan in the Seattle Times on Dec. 4, 1995, the Mariners nixed a trade that would have sent pitcher Sterling Hitchcock and Posada to the Mariners for Martinez and a reliever, either Jeff Nelson, Bill Risley, or, wait for it, Bobby Ayala. The same report of a nixed trade that would have sent Posada to the Mariners was in the New York Times and New York Daily News.
Stone goes on to say that the primary reason the Mariners backed out of the trade is that the Yankees insisted on including Posada instead of Seattle’s preferred target, Russ Davis. That changed a short time later when the Yankees signed Wade Boggs to play third base, making Davis expendable, at which point they traded him to the Mariners with Sterling Hitchcock for Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mecir.
And that 23-year-old prospect named Jorge Posada stayed with the Yankees and became one of the 20 best catchers in baseball history.
It turns out Seattle had a pretty good long-term answer behind the plate in Dan Wilson, but those star-studded teams of the late 1990s and would have been even more dangerous with Posada in a lineup that also included Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner.