- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
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The New York Yankees are considering adding a left-handed bat, and one of the three most prominent remaining free agents -- Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui -- could be on the team within a week, according to a major league source.
A baseball official told ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, however, that the "prices still need to come down a little" before the Yankees will make a deal with any of the three free agents they are interested in.
Damon and Matsui each have history with the team, of course, and would return to the high-pressure market with ease. Ibanez has played the last few seasons with the Phillies, hitting 20 homers last year, and may be most coveted among the trio because of his power.
The Yankees had gone into the offseason with Jesus Montero penciled in as their designated hitter role, but he was traded to Seattle for pitcher Michael Pineda. The Yankees could use veteran Andruw Jones at DH against left-handers, but still appear to have an opening for a hitter against right-handed pitchers.
Damon, 38, played for the Yankees from 2006-09. He hit .282 with 24 homers and 82 RBIs for the 2009 World Series champion team. He spent 2010 with the Tigers and 2011 with the Rays, batting .261 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs last season.
Matsui, 37, was also part of the 2009 Yankees champs. He batted .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs that season and then also moved on. He was on the Angels in 2010 and the A's last season. He slumped to a .251 average, 12 homers and 72 RBIs last season.
At 39, Ibanez is the oldest of the three and also coming off a mixed season. He had 20 homers and 84 RBIs but hit only .245 and had a .289 on-base percentage.
Senior writer Buster Olney covers MLB for ESPN The Magazine.