Mariners officially announce Raul Ibanez deal
The Seattle Mariners officially announced their $2.75 million,
one-year deal with outfielder Raul Ibanez on Wednesday, returning
the veteran to where he began his major league career in 1996.
Seattle confirmed an agreement with Ibanez over the weekend but
needed to clear a roster spot before making the transaction
official. That took place when the Mariners designated for
assignment right-handed pitcher D.J. Mitchell, opening a spot on
the 40-man roster. Mitchell was acquired from the New York Yankees
in the trade last July for Ichiro Suzuki.
The deal allows Ibanez to earn an additional $1.25 million in
performance bonuses. This will be his third stint with the
Mariners, after rejoining them from 2004-08.
”Raul is the ultimate professional both on and off the field,”
Seattle manager Eric Wedge said in a statement. ”His veteran
presence will be invaluable to our younger group of players.”
Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik has said the team wanted
to add veteran leadership in the offseason. The 40-year-old Ibanez
hit .240 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs in 384 at-bats for the Yankees
Including the playoffs, Ibanez hit five home runs that tied the
score for the Yankees and eight that put New York ahead, according
to STATS. He homered twice after entering as a pinch hitter on
Sept. 22 in a 10-9, 14-inning win over Oakland. And with New York
fighting for the AL East title, he delivered a tying, pinch-hit
homer against Boston in the ninth Oct. 2 and then singled in the
winning run in the 12th.
Then in Game 3 of the division series against Baltimore, he
became the first player in major league history to homer twice in a
postseason game he didn’t start. He pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez in
the ninth inning and hit a tying home run, then hit a winning shot
in the 12th.
Three days later, his two-run homer in a four-run ninth inning
tied the AL championship series opener against Detroit, a game the
Yankees lost 6-4 in 12 innings as the Tigers started their way to a
Whether there’s another season of production left in Ibanez’s
bat is uncertain. He’ll be joining the worst offensive team in
baseball, which has tried to make incremental upgrades during the
offseason but has been unable to make a huge splash.
Seattle last week added power-hitting Kendrys Morales in a trade
that sent left-hander Jason Vargas to the Los Angeles Angels.
Former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero started 77 games at
designated hitter last season for the Mariners and 55 behind the
plate, so Ibanez’s acquisition by the Mariners could make catcher
John Jaso expendable. Jaso made 39 starts behind the plate and 44
The Mariners also signed former Mets slugger Jason Bay to a
one-year deal in the hope that he could restart a career that fell
off in New York. But there remain questions about whether any of
the three can make a significant difference to Seattle’s scuffling
”In Raul we have a player and person with outstanding
leadership skills who has participated in postseason play the last
several years,” Zduriencik said. ”We will give Raul the
opportunity to come in and compete and add an additional veteran
presence to this ball club.”
In 17 major league seasons that also included time with Kansas
City (2001-03) and Philadelphia (2009-11), Ibanez has a .278 career
average with 271 home runs and 1,116 RBIs.