Raul Ibanez Makes the Case That All's Well

Eighth inning grand slam lifts the Yankees to 6-3 win

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Raul touches 'em all in latest argument for the status quo.

    It's always nice when everything ties together into a compact narrative the way it did for the Yankees on Monday.

    There was a negative report about the state of Brett Gardner's elbow, the third time that he has experienced a setback with what was described as an elbow strain when he went on the disabled list in April and seems like something much more serious three months later.

    He'll have an MRI, but there doesn't seem to be any way to count on Gardner's return regardless of what the test reveals.

    Gardner's news stoked a fresh wave of trade chatter. The focus this time is on Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, who has clashed with manager Charlie Manuel amid the disaster that has been the 2012 Phillies season.

    Victorino will be a free agent after the season and his Jorge Posada-style move to refuse to play because he was batting seventh all but ensures that his run in Philly is at its end. The price should not be high as Victorino's production is way down, but his speed and defense would certainly play even if his bat never reaches the heights of some previous seasons.

    The question is whether they would play better than what the Yankees already have in place in left field. Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and DeWayne Wise aren't the sexiest names in baseball, but they have provided a platoon with power at the plate and, in wise, a speedy replacement with a good glove to help win/ice games in the late innings.

    Monday night made an argument for keeping things just as they are. Phil Hughes pitched well in limiting the Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings, but the Yankees managed just two runs of their own heading into the eighth inning.

    Alex Rodriguez sparked a rally with a single and an infield single and a hit batter brought Ibanez to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Jason Frasor tried to sneak a 3-1 fastball past Ibanez, but the veteran was waiting for it and launched it into the seats for a 6-3 victory.

    One at-bat does not make the case against a trade, obviously, but it is merely the latest piece of evidence that the non-kids are OK in left for the Yankees. Ibanez and Jones have combined for 23 homers and 62 RBIs so far this season, numbers that might provide a stylistic difference than Gardner but ones that aren't any less likely to help you win games.

    If the right deal presents itself, the Yankees should certainly listen. There's no reason to chase a trade for help at a spot that's held up just fine despite the change in original plans.

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    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.