Raul Ibañez is returning to his baseball roots. For the third time in his 17-year career, Ibañez will don a Mariners uniform.
On Wednesday, Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik officially announced the signing of the veteran outfielder/designated hitter to a one-year contract. The news of the agreement came days earlier.
While the Mariners don’t release details of any contract, other sources have confirmed it’s for $2.75 million with more than $1 million in possible incentives.
“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.”
Ibañez spent the 2012 season with the Yankees, hitting .240 in 130 games with 19 homers and 62 RBI. He was meant to bea DH/bench player, but injuries forced Ibañez into more of an everyday role. He played 72 games in left field. All 19 of his home runs and 57 of his RBI came against right-handed pitching last season.
The Mariners likely will use Ibañez exclusively against right-handed pitching.
But the veteran’s biggest contribution may come in providing an excellent example about conditioning and day-to-day preparation for the many young players on the Seattle roster.
“Raul is the ultimate professional both on and off the field,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said in a release. “His veteran presence will be invaluable to our younger group of players.”
Ibañez was taken by the Mariners in the 36th round of the June 1992 amateur draft out of Miami-Dade Community College. He made his big league debut on Aug. 1, 1996. He stayed with the team until 2000, leaving for Kansas City as a free agent. After finding success with the Royals, Ibañez returned to Seattle in 2004 and played four more seasons. He is among the franchise’s most productive players. He ranks in the top 10 in club history in nearly every offensive category, including home runs (127, seventh), RBI (547, seventh), extra base hits (341, seventh), hits (967, eighth), games played (986, eighth) and slugging percentage (.464, ninth).
To make room for Ibañez on the 40-man roster, the team designated right-handed pitcher D.J. Mitchell for assignment. The Mariners now have 10 days to trade, waive or send Mitchell outright to the minor leagues.
Mitchell was one of two pitchers acquired in the midseason trade that sent Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees. In eight starts with Triple-A Tacoma, Mitchell posted a 3-2 record with a 2.85 ERA.Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @RyanDivish