Once the trade sending A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates is completely finalized, Ibanez signing with the Yankees seems very likely, tweets Ken Davidoff. The Burnett trade should be completed by Monday, once Burnett takes his physical.
Another candidate for the Yankees DH position is free agent Johnny Damon, but the Yankees prefer Ibanez because of his ability to play the outfield. Vladimir Guerrero has also expressed interest in playing for the Yankees, but he bats right-handed and the Yankees would prefer a left-handed hitter.
New York has back up outfielder Andruw Jones to DH, as well as Alex Rodriguez on his days off from playing third base. However, they both bat right-handed so the Yankees have been hoping to add a cheap left-handed veteran as spring training is just around the corner.
With the Pirates stepping up and working out a trade to take part of Burnett's salary from the Yankees, they now have enough room to sign Ibanez, Damon, or another free agent.
Eric Chavez is also on New York's radar, but the Yankees will most likely lose interest if they end up signing Ibanez. Chavez was used primarily as a back up third baseman last season for the Yankees, but isn't necessarily needed with Bill Hall, Russell Branyan, and Eduardo Nunez all getting spring training invitations.