So here is a somewhat radical thought that will never happen because the Yankees seem destined to go down this road with Ibanez. Why not cut Ibanez and install Chavez as the left-handed DH until either Jack Cust or Russell Branyan show whether they can do anything or not in the minors? This would give the Yankees the flexibility to keep either Justin Maxwell or Doug Bernier. As I have stated before, I have no comfort in Eduardo Nunez as a backup infielder. Yes, he has hit this spring and perhaps being a young player, his bat may be more valuable than he has shown in his first two seasons. I will grant that. But with Jeter and A-Rod both being close to obtaining their social security cards, is having one back up infielder enough?
Okay, you might argue that Chavez can play third. Can he? Perhaps for a game or so here and there, but not for an extended period of time. Those days are gone for him. Bernier shows a great ability in the field and that is what you want in a backup infielder. Cutting Ibanez gives you that flexibility.
Or it can give you a fifth outfielder in Justin Maxwell. The way Maxwell has played this spring, and being that he is out of options, the odds are that if the Yankees decide not to keep him, some other team is going to snatch him up. Dewayne Wise has also had a great spring, but he is five years older than Maxwell, has more MLB experience and has never done much with it (aside from his highlight reel grab to save Buehrle’s no-no). I love the way Maxwell plays the game and his ability on the bases. The trouble is that he is a right-handed bat and has little pop. The Yankees already have Andruw Jones as the right-handed DH and fourth outfielder, so Maxwell has trouble fitting on the team.
From my point of view, having Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez on the same roster is redundant. I have zero confidence that Ibanez can come close to even Jorge Posada‘s production last year as the DH. Eric Chavez still can do some things with the bat even if his power is shot these days. I believe he could come close to Posada’s numbers as the lefty DH. And if not, then Cust and Branyan are in the wings or a trade could be made if needed. Ditching Ibanez opens up a spot for a useful infielder like Bernier or a useful outfielder like Maxwell. Losing both to start the season with Ibanez makes the Yankees a weaker team.