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.
Update (5:55 PM ET): It’s official. The Mets have optioned Phillip Evans to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Bautista on the 25-man roster. Bautista will be available for Tuesday’s game against the Marlins.
SNY’s Andy Martino reports that the Mets are close to a deal with free agent Jose Bautista. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as the Mets were rumored to be interested in him on Monday, a day after the Braves released him.
Bautista, 37, struggled to a .593 OPS in 40 plate appearances with the Braves. He’s coming off of his worst season as a regular, as he hit .203 in 157 games last year with the Blue Jays.
Bautista mostly played in the outfield for the Jays, but played third base for the Braves. The Mets need depth at both third base and in the outfield due to injuries to Todd Frazier, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares.
It will be interesting to see who loses their roster spot to accomodate Bautista. I suggested earlier it should be Jose Reyes.