Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed free agent outfielder Raul Ibañez to one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
To make room on the Major League 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher D.J. Mitchell has been designated for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Mitchell to the minor leagues.
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,” Zduriencik said. “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.”
In his four seasons since last appearing for the Mariners (2009-2012), Ibañez averaged 30 doubles, 22 home runs, 80 RBI and 141 games played a season with the Philadelphia Phillies (2009-2011) and New York Yankees (2012). He was a National League All-Star in 2009 and a postseason hero for the Yankees last season.
With the Yankees in 2012, Ibañez hit .240 (92x384) 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 (7x22) 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.”
During his 17-year Major League career Ibañez has combined to hit .278 (1883x6771) with 396 doubles, 46 triples, 271 home runs and 1,116 RBI in 1,947 games. In 10 seasons with the Mariners (1996-2000, 2004-2008), Ibañez hit .284 (967x3407) with 127 home runs. When he appears in a game in 2013 he’ll join Mike Blowers (1992-95, 1997, 1999), Norm Charlton (1993, 1995-97, 2001) and Jeff Nelson (1992-95, 2001-03, 2005) as the only players in club history to have three separate stints with the Mariners.
Ibañez was originally selected by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 1992 June Draft out of Miami-Dade Community College. He made his Major League debut on Aug. 1, 1996 vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ibañez Career Highlights:
- Safeco Field – Career .284 hitter (453x1597) with 66 home runs and 262 RBI in 467 games at Safeco Field (.355 OBP, .472 SLG, .828 OPS)…is the all-time home run leader at Safeco Field and ranks 2nd in hits (453) and extra base hits (161).
- Amongst active Major League players Ibañez ranks T15th in games played (1,947), 25th in hits (1,883), 21st in doubles (396) and 24th in home runs (271).
- Playoffs – Appeared in 10 postseason series (44 G) during his career, including the 2009 World Series with Philadelphia.
- Recorded 11 consecutive seasons with 15 or more home runs at age 30 or older (age computed on June 30 of each season)…trails Craig Nettles (12) for most in Major League history, and tied with Rafael Palmeiro, Eddie Murray and Hank Aaron.
- Recorded 16 career multi-homer games (6 with Seattle) and 10 walk-off hits (6 HR).
- Has homered in 32 different ballparks during his 17-season Major League career.