June 2 – Happy Birthday Raul Ibanez
I was completely against the Yankees signing the then 39-year-old Raul Ibanez as their left-handed DH this year. It happened after New York surprised everyone by trading their young hitting prodigy, Jesus Montero to the Mariners. Montero was slated to DH for the Yankees against all pitching in 2012 but after he was dealt, the Yankees re-signed Andrew Jones and began their search for a lefty to platoon with him.
Quite a few names were thrown out there by the Big Apple media, including former Yankees Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. My personal choice would have been Matsui and I actually felt Jorge Posada should have been asked if he wanted the spot. But in the end Cashman went with this 17-year big league veteran. Believe it or not, my negative feelings for Ibanez stemmed from having him on my fantasy league team a couple of seasons back during his second year with Philadelphia. I’d start him for a week and he’d go 1-for-20 and then I’d bench him and he’d hit a homer and drive in three. I finally put him on waivers.
Fortunately for the Yankees, signing Ibanez has proved to be one of the better moves the team made this off season. He got off to a quick start at the plate which helped counteract the slow starts of several of his New York teammates. He seems like a class act both on the field and in the clubhouse and his swing seems perfectly suited to Yankee Stadium.
Ibanez was actually born in New York City but then moved to Miami as a youngster. He broke into the big leagues with the Mariners back in 1996. In addition to the Phillies, he also played three seasons with the Royals. He’s hit 261 home runs during his career and driven in 1082.
Ibanez shares his June 2nd birthday with this former Yankee second baseman.