I purposely waited a few weeks before I analyzed whether the New York Yankees should retain Raul Ibanez. I wanted to make sure that his postseason exploits didn't weigh too heavily on my decision on whether he should be a Yankee in 2013.
First of all let me be honest I didn't like the signing last season. I thought Ibanez was too old and they should go after someone younger. If they wanted to get a veteran I said go after Johnny Damon. Looking back on it I was sort of wrong. Damon had a dreadful season batting just .222 in over 200 at bats. Ibanez batted only .240, but he did manage to belt 19 home runs taking advantage of the short porch in Yankee Stadium. He helped fill an unexpected hole in right field when Brett Gardner went down with an injury early in the season.
One thing is sure Ibanez is a streaky kind of guy. He had a decent April and May. Batted just .162 in June, but rebounded in July batted .279. August was dismal as he hit .196 with just one home run. In September he batted .262, including two huge hits against the Boston Red Sox in the second to last game of the season.
Then the playoffs rolled around and he cemented his place in Yankees lore. A game tying home run in Game 3 of the American League Divisional Series was followed by a game winning homer just three innings later. His bombs looked even more impressive because they came while he took Alex Rodriguez's place in the lineup. Yankee fans love to hate Rodriguez and this just them more ammunition. In the A.L. Championship Series Ibanez drove in two of the Yankees six runs against the Detroit Tigers.
When everything is taken into consideration Ibanez did a solid job for the Yankees in 2012. I'm not super excited to bring back a 40-year-old, unless he agrees to a contract around $1 million like he did last season. If not shake his hand and let him walk. The Yankees will be better off with a younger, more versatile bench player.Darren Pare is a third generation Yankees fan. The unique thing is that he lives in the middle of Red Sox nation, Maine, and has for all his life and that gives him a different perspective. You can follow him on Twitter @dpare71 or on Facebook.
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- Raul Ibanez
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