Ibanez adds to Mariners' logjam at DH and left field
The Seattle Mariners' logjam at the first base/DH/left field positions isn't getting cleared up much.
Instead, it's getting more jammed.
The addition of Raul Ibanez the day after Christmas means the field is absolutely packed heading into spring training, although general manager Jack Zduriencik said there is room for more roster moves between now and mid-February.
Since the end of the season, Zduriencik has added first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales, outfielder/DH Jason Bay and Ibanez.
The Mariners gave much of their DH time to catcher Jesus Montero last season, but the addition of Morales means Montero will have to mostly be behind the plate. Morales, Justin Smoak and Mike Carp all are primarily first basemen, although Carp was a left fielder before injury issues limited him to first base for almost all of 2012.
Ibanez and Bay are likely to spend their time between left field and DH, although manager Eric Wedge suggested that Ibanez could see some time at an increasingly crowded first base as well.
The 40-year-old Ibanez, back with the Mariners for the third time in his 17-year career, is a left-handed hitter with pull power, which is something the Mariners have too little of. More than that, he has always been a clubhouse leader, and with Seattle owning one of the younger rosters in the American League, leadership is no small issue.
"We spoke of adding some veteran presence to our ballclub this offseason," Zduriencik said. "In Raul, we have a player and person with outstanding leadership skills who has participated in postseason play the last several years. We will give Raul the opportunity to come in and compete and add an additional veteran presence to this ballclub."
Ibanez's big moment in 2012 came for the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, when he homered in the bottom of the ninth inning and again in the bottom of the 12th inning, a game-winning bomb.