Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Yankees [Print without images]

Monday, February 20, 2012
How will Ibanez like DH?


Maybe it's too late to ask that question, since, as ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney first reported, that is the job the Yankees have signed Raul Ibanez to do. (He will also get some playing time in left-field, his outfield ability being the main reason the Yankees signed him over Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui).

And while the sample is comparatively small -- 217 games and 884 plate appearances spread over 16 seasons -- the numbers say Ibanez is pretty close to the same hitter as a DH as when he plays left-field, where he has spent most of his career. Ibanez is a career .280 hitter overall with a .342 on-base percentage and .471 slugging percentage. As a DH, the numbers are .272/.341/.426.

But the last time he spent any significant time at DH was in 2005 as a Seattle Mariner, when he got 425 plate appearances and hit .283 with 12 HRs and 54 RBI. And I am told by people who know him that Ibanez is kind of an ansty guy who may not take well to sitting around for long periods between at-bats. Still, unlike Jorge Posada, who never made the adjustment from catcher to DH, Ibanez is making the switch willingly and, having been born in New York, is known to have wanted to play for the Yankees.

One red flag: For his career, Ibanez -- who has 252 career home runs -- has homered about once in every 25 at-bats. As a DH? Once in every 36.