The Mariners have officially announced the signing of Raul Ibanez. To make room for Ibanez, the team has designated right-hander pitcher D.J. Mitchell for assignment. The team has 10 days to either trade, release or outright Mitchell to the minor leagues if he hasn’t been claimed by another team.
Ibanez signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract. He will likely be a sometime starter at DH and a bat off the bench.
Ibañez, 40, is a familiar name to Mariners fans having appeared in a Seattle uniform from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008. Amongst all-time Mariners leaders he ranks in the top 10 in club history in nearly every offensive category, including home runs (127, 7th), RBI (547, 7th), extra base hits (341, 7th), hits (967, 8th), games played (986, 8th) and slugging percentage (.464, 9th).
“We spoke of adding some veteran presence to our ball club this off season,” GM Jack Zduriencik said in a press release. “In Raul we have a player and person with outstanding leadership skills who has participated in post season play the last several years. We will give Raul the opportunity to come in an compete and add an additional veteran presence to this ball club.”
With the Yankees in 2012, Ibañez hit .240 (92×384) with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 130 games while playing left field (80 G/65 GS), designated hitter (23 GS) and right field (13 G/11 GS). In 8 postseason games he combined to bat .318 (7×22) with 3 home runs and 5 RBI. In Game 3 of the American League Division Series vs. the Baltimore Orioles he hit a game-tying pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the 9th inning (to tie the game 2-2) and a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ibañez became the first player in Major League history to hit two score-tying or go-ahead home runs in the 9th inning or later in one postseason game.
“Raul is the ultimate professional both on and off the field,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “His veteran presence will be invaluable to our younger group of players.”
Mitchell was one of two pitchers acquired from the Yankees in the Ichiro Suzuki trade. Mitchell went 3-2 with 2.96 ERA in eight starts for the Rainiers.