The Yankees made no secret that they were looking for a left handed power bat to complement right handed Andruw Jones in sharing DH duties. Ibanez moved up the pecking order over fellow lefties Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, because he played 134 games in the outfield last year for the Philadelphia Phillies. This gives manager Joe Girardi options to spell some of his outfielders besides getting the lefty power hitter he and general manager Brian Cashman wanted.
On Sunday Cashman told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, "The preference would be to find someone from the left side that can do some damage against right-handed pitching, but in the event we have injuries that hit in-season, that my manager could put out for defense,"
Last year Ibanez, 39, was still very productive for the Phillies and in a total of 144 games batted .245 with 20 home runs and 84 RBIs.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post first tweeted early this morning that he wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees didn't work out something today with Ibanez because the framework of a deal was done weeks ago. Sherman's second tweet stated that the Yankees and Ibanez agreed to a $1.1 million deal, pending a physical.
Ibanez's glove and maybe the price, helped pull him ahead of Damon and Matsui to secure the spot on the roster. Raul does give them more flexibility in the line up and in the field than the other options that were available.