Free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez is drawing interest from several major league clubs including the Yankees, Rockies and Braves, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman reports that Ibanez is expected to sign at the Winter Meetings, which start on Monday.
The 41-year old outfielder played for the Seattle Mariners in 2013, marking his third stint with the team. He batted .242/.306/.487 with 29 home runs in 496 plate appearances. Considering his eroding on-base skills (.300 OBP over the last three seasons combined) and embarrassing outfield defense, Ibanez is solely a source of left-handed power at this point in his career; over the last three years, he's hit 68 home runs combined.
Despite Ibanez's power surge last season, both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs valued him as barely replacement-level last season due to the negative value of his defense. Therefore, he is probably best suited as a designated hitter at this point, and that is likely the role for which the Yankees want him. Ibanez played for New York in 2012 and the team could use his powerful bat as a DH against right-handed pitching; they currently have right-handers Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells as DH options. The Yankees are not alone, though; Sherman reports that a "bunch" of other AL clubs are kicking the tires on him.
However, Ibanez is also being looked at by National League teams, including the Rockies and Braves. Those teams would likely want him as a bat off the bench; Colorado already has Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer in the corner outfield positions, and Atlanta's got Justin Upton and Jason Heyward. Both teams are also set at first base with Justin Morneau and Freddie Freeman, respectively.