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Angels and Raul Ibanez agree to one-year deal

Veteran, 41, who batted .242 with 29 home runs with Seattle last season, would be guaranteed $2.75 million and receive as much as $5 million with incentives to be the club's designated hitter.

December 18, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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The Angels have agreed to terms with Raul Ibanez on a one-year contract to be their designated hitter.

The contract would guarantee Ibanez $2.75 million, with incentive bonuses that could make the deal worth $5 million. Ibanez would earn all the bonuses if he remains in the lineup all season.

The signing would leave the Angels with one major item on their off-season shopping list: a veteran starting pitcher. The team appears to have about $13 million to $15 million under the luxury-tax limit — incentive payments count toward a luxury-tax bill — which should allow them to be competitive in bidding for Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka, assuming Tanaka becomes available.

The Garza and Tanaka markets would not necessarily overlap. If Tanaka's Japanese club agrees to release him, major league clubs would have 30 days to bid for him, which would extend the process deep into January. Garza is prepared to reach a deal before the Tanaka situation resolves itself.

If the Angels cannot land Garza or Tanaka, they probably would wait to see what veteran pitchers might be available closer to spring training, when prices tend to drop.

Assuming Ibanez passes his physical, he would replace Mark Trumbo as the Angels' designated hitter. The Angels traded Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks last week.

Ibanez, 41, batted .242 with 29 home runs for the Seattle Mariners last season. The Angels clearly are betting that his second-half fade was not a result of age. He hit .267 with 24 home runs in the first half, .203 with five home runs in the second half.

Ibanez is a career .349 hitter in Anaheim, with 10 home runs in 79 games and a .929 OPS.

He won't be the oldest position player in Angels history. In 2004, Andres Galarraga played seven games with the Angels at 43.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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