- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
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If the Yankees had won the 2012 World Series, Raul Ibañez would sit among the franchise's all-time postseason legends. Even without the championship, Ibañez provided some cool moments that will be remembered forever, most notably Game 3 of the ALDS.
Between pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez in the ninth and tying the score, and then winning the game in the 12th, Ibañez earned himself a lifetime of Old Timers' Day standing ovations. The fact that he added an ALCS Game 1-tying long ball will make the applause last longer.
So he already has made a mark in Yankeed history -- and that might be it.
The Yankees still have some interest in bringing back Ibañez, but the Texas Rangers reportedly also want him and there are probably others.
Ibañez will turn 41 during the 2013 season and he really is a platoon DH at this point. His OPS against righties in 2012 was .812 compared to .492 against lefties. As a DH, his OPS was .905, nearly 200 points better than when he played the outfield.
Ibañez handled New York beautifully. His temperament and experience fit perfectly into the Yankees' clubhouse. He is a respectful guy who brings a professionalism to the ballpark each day. He might want another go-around with the Yankees -- but money will be somewhat of a factor. Perhaps he will go the route of Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda and take less to be a Yankee.
The Yankees, though, likely aren't going to win any bidding wars for Ibañez. That hasn't been their thing this winter, as you know.
The Yankees know that Derek Jeter is likely going to need more DH days. In '12, he DH'ed 25 of his 160 games. When/if Rodriguez comes back, he will DH more, too. In '12, Rodriguez already didn't use his glove one-third of the games he played. There are only so many left-handed pitchers.
Ibañez does give the Yankees power that they seemingly will be missing by having two speed starting outfielders (Brett Gardner and Ichiro) and by moving from Russell Martin to Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart behind the plate.
Ibañez played much more outfield in '12 than the Yankees intended. If he returns, the idea surely will be for him to have limited glove time.
Still, at this point, the Yankees need a right-handed bat to balance out their outfielders. Preferably with some power. Scott Hairston might be too rich for the Yankees' blood, but you have to think they would use money that could be allotted to Ibañez for Hairston, if they could bring in the lefty-crushing Hairston to the Bronx.
QUESTION: Do you want to see Raul Ibañez come back?