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.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.