We knew it was going to happen, we were just waiting for it to officially happen. It has now officially happened. The New York Yankees have reached an agreement with free agent Raul Ibanez. The one-year deal, which is pending an Ibanez physical, is reportedly worth a base salary of $1.1 million. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports added that Ibanez has the ability to earn a maximum of $4 million in 2012 based on plate appearance incentives.
The Yankees have been tied to Ibanez and other designated hitter options for weeks. But before they could seriously pursue a free agent bat, New York had to unload a player to create additional room in their budget.
That player ended up being A.J. Burnett, as the Yankees went from needing arms to having an excess of starting options in the matter of one weekend. With Burnett gone, the Yankees were able to take approximately $5 million off their books for 2012.
This allowed the club to engage in serious talks with Ibanez. The framework of a deal between the Yankees and Ibanez had reportedly been settled on for weeks, but nothing could be agreed upon until the Burnett trade was finalized. That happened this weekend, and the Yankees announced their agreement with Ibanez yesterday morning.
Last season for the Phillies, Ibanez hit at a clip of .245/.289/.419 with 20 home runs, 31 doubles and 84 RBI’s. New York sees Ibanez as a left-handed option for their DH role. The 39-year-old is likely to platoon with Andruw Jones, who has a career OPS of .867 versus left-handed pitching.
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