Beerleaguer: Let’s look at the pros and cons from the Yankees’ side, starting with the reasons why it won’t work, beginning with his age. He’s 39 and was one of the least productive players at a “slugging” position in all of baseball last season, hitting .245/.289/.419 overall, which is woeful for a left fielder. His numbers against righties, including a pedestrian .440 SLG, were no great shakes, either. Compare that to Jim Thome, for example, a .261/.379/.523 hitter over the last three seasons in the DH role (statistically, Thome was arguably the best DH in baseball over the last three seasons).
Be that as it may, Yankees GM Brian Cashman picked Ibanez over a handful of other options and his instincts are typically sharp. Moving to the American League will help. By the end of last season, he was toast. We know Ibanez cheats for a fastball more than anyone in the game, according to scouts who talked to Sports Illustrated during the season, but when he got ahold of one, he tagged it as hard as anyone on the Phillies. That’s going to play well at Yankees Stadium. Plus, if the Yankees can surround him with some protection – Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson – he’s going to see more pitches than he did in Philadelphia.
Whether he succeeds or not, the Yankees are a good fit.