Daily Archives: February 26, 2012

Spring Training Notes: 2/26/12

Brett Gardner during batting practice

Today was a rainy day in Tampa Florida so there’s not a lot that happened today, but before we get into the Spring Training notes:

— Matthew B. of Yankees Fans Unite will be hosting a live chat Tomorrow night at 7pm. Bring questions and your thoughts on the Yankees.

Now, let’s get to the links!

Mariano Rivera was one of the few outside this morning (in the rain) as he threw his first Spring Bullpen session. Mariano said that his bullpen session, “was very good.”

Chris Dickerson was outrighted to Triple-A Scranton which means there is a spot on the 40 man roster.

— Nick Swisher says that he anticipates filing for free agency after the 2012 season ends. Swisher realized that the Yankees don’t usually negotiate extensions while under contract.

— Courtesy of Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson & Nick Swisher took batting practice today, so here are some quick videos!

Note: To view the video, click the links below.

Brett Gardner taking Batting practice

Curtis Granderson takes Batting Practice

Nick Swisher taking Batting Practice

— And courtesy of Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, here are some pictures from today’s Spring Training! Enjoy!

Meet Raul Ibanez, The Yankees DH

If you had told me back in October that Raul Ibanez would be the Yankees’ DH, I’d call you crazy. Jesus Montero was finally ready for a full season in New York, and with Jorge Posada either retiring or certainly not returning, the DH was probably the least of the Yanks’ concerns.

Sure enough, a blockbuster trade on January 13th that sent Montero to Seattle left Yankee fans scratching their heads and asking, “who’s the DH now?”.

Well, over a month later, we have our answer – 40 year old Raul Ibanez.

The former star of the Seattle Mariners, Ibanez is coming off his final season in Philadelphia where he batted .256 against righties with 16 home runs and a .440 slugging percentage. I’m not that big on analytics, so that’s as far I’ll go with the stats, but it’s clear to me Ibanez is not the same player he once was and is not the best fit for the Yankees’ DH, in my opinion.

Granted, $1 million for 400 at-bats is a steal, and Johnny Damon, though seemingly out of all other options, still was reportedly demanding somewhere around $5 million. And his quest for 3,000 is probably the last thing the Yankees want to go through again, as Christian Lopez is still in the process of receiving 50% of Modell’s ownership. (I kid)

But Damon is 38, a couple years younger than Ibanez, and though many people don’t like this “factor” – he’s played in New York before, and won a championship too. He knows exactly what to expect in playing for the Yanks, and if the big excuse by Cashman for not signing Damon is for his defense, it makes him look stupid. Why is Cashman looking at situational fielding when picking a DH? And since when is Ibanez, at age 40, so much a better fielder than Damon, who is a lot faster and more athletic?

Anyway, you probably can tell by now I wanted Damon back. I feel that he still has more left in the tank than Ibanez, and could play a couple more seasons at DH if the Yanks can’t find a new one for 2013 and so on. But I guess I have to accept that Ibanez is the guy, so let’s try to look on the bright side, which there is for the 40-year old.

While Ibanez’s once electric bat speed is no more, whenever a left-handed pull hitter comes to Yankee Stadium, production is almost guaranteed. The short porch in right would have added more power to any of the veteran DH options that were on the Yankees radar. And with Ibanez, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his home run and double totals increase as well. Citizens Bank Park is by no means a pitcher’s park, but a move to 161st and River Ave. should benefit Ibanez as far as becoming a better overall hitter.

So what’s my final thought on the Raul Ibanez signing? Honestly, though I still think Damon is the better overall player, Ibanez  will produce nicely for the Yankees and should fit in batting somewhere 6th or 7th, depending on the production of Nick Swisher. 15-20 home runs and 60-80 RBI are not out of the question, and maybe even likely because of him playing in Yankee Stadium. If the Yankees get that out of Ibanez, it’ll be a great one-year relationship in New York.

Oh, and by the way, I’m Brian D. One of the new writers on the blog. Hope to be talking with you all soon! Go Yankees!

Morning Bits: Teixeira, Rodriguez, Girardi, Ibanez

Good morning everyone and a Happy Sunday to you all! Mark your calendars because on Saturday March 3 is the first Spring Training televised game on YES! Now onto the Morning Links!

— Mark Teixeira is 10-15 pounds lighter, plans to close his stance a bit vs. left handed pitching and plans to drop a bunt down from time to time. But the question is, is the shift getting to Mark Teixeira’s head?

— Wallace Matthews of ESPN asks wonders, where should A-Rod bat in the lineup this season?

— Joe Girardi rounded up his team yesterday and said one thing to them: We’re here for 28. 

Raul Ibanez admits that the 2009 World Series haunted him but says that wearing the Yankee Pinstripes are a privilege.

* FYI tomorrow at 7pm Matthew B. will be hosting a chat to talk all things Yankee related.  Stop on by and bring your questions.