Everyone suspected the Yankees would move quickly to sign a lefty DH after they got rid of AJ Burnett. The Yankees signed Raul Ibanez yesterday (probably won’t be official until today). Raul Ibanez is a serviceable 40-year old lefty who can probably still play a little bit of defense.
But, in this, the Yankees are gambling. Unlike the Yankees of old, we actually have a budget now. Johnny Damon appeared to be the front-runner, but he wanted more money. You can listen to Brian Cashman talk all day long about how Ibanez will be a better player defensively, but that’s because he’s trying to sit on a couple million bucks like it’s an egg waiting to hatch.
Ibanez is going to be 40, so he’s got over a year more on his wheels than Damon. And, yes, Damon threw like a girl 5 years ago. But, he’s played and proven himself at Yankee Stadium. Look no further than AJ Burnett to see someone who never really thrived in NY. He had one great year, which Yankee fans will always be thankful for.
Ibanez hasn’t played in a big time sports market. Let’s not confuse the Phillies with NY. It’s just not the same.
Ibanez may work out just fine. He likely only sees spot action as a lefty, so maybe that’s enough. And, maybe I’m putting too much stock in the greatest stolen base in World Series history (make that two stolen bases).
But, I’d rather have Damon.