Having already spent two stints and 10 seasons in Seattle, Raul Ibanez is back for more. The 40-year-old outfielder and designated hitter returns to the Mariners on a one-year contract worth $2.75 million. He can earn another $1.25 million depending on performance incentives, although we have no idea what exactly those incentives are. If we had to guess, we’d say the Mariners basically said, “hey, please don’t inflict upon this city what you did in Philadelphia two seasons ago and we’ll pay you more.”
Ibanez had his uses last season as a Yankee, hitting .240/.308/.453 with 19 homers in 425 PA and providing a bit of left-handed punch off the bench. At this stage in his career, Ibanez isn’t likely to provide a whole lot of left-handed punch in parks like Safeco, so it’s doubtful he’ll be able to accomplish a whole lot with the Mariners. With Ibanez already 40 and several years removed from his last legitimately good season, the Mariners are clearly grasping at inexpensive straws once again in an effort to make something happen for an offense that hasn’t been viable in what seems like forever.
Ibanez’s contract may only be for one season, but I don’t see the point in it. He isn’t going to spark the offense, and his numbers are going to look pretty unsavory away from the homer haven that is the new Yankee Stadium. Ibanez can’t really handle the outfield anymore, and his bat won’t carry the DH slot, so what exactly are the Mariners doing here? Not scoring runs, that’s what.