This offseason, the Yankees ownership is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure NYY Steak has the best cuts of beef the team maybe sneaks into the postseason. In signing free agents Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, and Ichiro Suzuki, they are showing their dogged pursuit to recreate the magical 2012 playoff team that triumphed over the Baltimore Orioles (.505 Pythagorean record) to taste Division Series Champagne. So, it makes sense that the Yankees are trying to bring back Raul Ibanez to hold down the DH spot, whose heroic efforts lead the team to win three games in October.

Ibanez was worth about 1 win above replacement last year. He’s not going to blaze past that as he turns 41 next year, so the front office really should not spend more than $5 mil on a one year contract to retain his services. Ibanez’s career .362 wOBA vs RHPs is respectable, though his true talent level is surely below that now: .353 wOBA vs RHPs in 2010, .323 wOBA in 2011, .343 wOBA in 2012. He’s worse than useless against southpaws: 255 wOBA vs LHPs in 2011, .223 wOBA in 2012.

His above-average UZR defense (+4.0) last year looks like a fluke, and wouldn’t be of use anyway with the all-lefty OF the Yanks have signed up. Ibanez made his way into Yankee lore in October, but let’s realize that, at best, he’s only going to be a decent and one-dimensional player going forward.

But if the Yankees are committed to signing really old guys to cheapo deals (and they are!), they might consider broadening their horizons a bit, instead of fixating on Ibanez as the final piece of the puzzle. A couple of players they should look at are Jim Thome and Lance Berkman.

Thome is at least as old-boned and one-dimensional as Ibanez, so he should fit nicely into this offseason strategy. But he’s flat-out better than Ibanez at that one-dimension. Thome’s career wOBA vs RHPs is a crazy .427. His balky back means that he’s nowhere near that vaunted territory anymore, but he’s still been putting up better numbers than Ibanez in recent seasons: .479 wOBA vs RHPs in 2010, .355 wOBA in 2011, .345 wOBA in 2012. He’s also a far superior hitter against lefties, so we’d be spared some Eduardo Nunez at bats.

Another vintage option is Lance Berkman. Berkman is officially 37, but his body is a more Yankee-appropriate 40. Like Thome he has a career wOBA vs RHPs in the stratosphere (.421), and also like Thome, he’s surely well short of that at this twilight stage of his career. But he’s been surprisingly strong against righties in recent years, despite multiple knee surgeries: .373 in 2010, .421 wOBA in 2011, .369 wOBA in 2012. Despite being a switch-hitter, Berkman is not nearly as effective from the right side of the plate. But, he’s still better against lefties than Ibanez. Berkman says he is mostly pain-free, though he’s on the fence about returning for another season. Perhaps a chance at joining a wild-card contender could entice him to play.

Both of these old-timers project to hit better than Ibanez, and they at least provide a chance to capture lightning in a bottle. Brian Cashman will rightly tell you that Ibanez is much likelier to stay healthy. However, that just means more healthy mediocre PAs with no chance of great upside. Moreover, the Yankees just need one of these guys to last until about June. At that point, if Thome or Berkman break down, ARod or Youkilis can take over the DH duties and the Yankees will be fine. If they do make it to June, the Yankees will have a power platoon at DH which gives them top level production, and gives both sides of the platoon a great chance to stay healthy the rest of the season.