Sep 24, 2011; Flushing, NY, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez (29) singles to right center field during the ninth inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mets beat the Phillies, 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Yankees Rumors: New York "Negotiating Exclusively" with Raul Ibanez

Friday, the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates reached an agreement in a trade involving starting pitcher A.J. Burnett.  After today’s physical, the deal should be made official and the Yankees are expected to enter phase two of operation salary space.  New York is reportedly hoping to add a pair of free agent bats with the money saved in the Burnett deal, and Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweeted that the Yankees are “negotiating exclusively” with Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez has appeared to be New York’s primary free agent target for some time now.  Following the Jesus Montero trade it seemed as if the Yankees would be on the prowl for a new designated hitter.  Several names were floated, including Carlos Pena, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, but New York reportedly likes what the left-handed Ibanez has to offer.

Beyond Ibanez, the Yankees were said to be eyeing free agent Eric Chavez.  New York would reportedly like to bring back the veteran to fill a reserve role.  Most assumed Chavez and Ibanez would sign deals with New York soon after the Burnett trade was made official.

However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post has heard that the Yankees may not have the room in their budget, even after a Burnett trade, to acquire both Ibanez and Chavez.  For the time being, Sherman believes it will be an either or decision for the Yankees.  While this could be the case, Sherman noted that Yankees executives are expected to meet and discuss if additional salary room can be made that would allow the club to sign both free agents.

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Tags: A.J. Burnett Carlos Pena Hideki Matsui Jesus Montero Johnny Damon New York Yankees Raul Ibanez

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