Raul Ibanez had one heck of a year. The 42-year-old was signed by the Los Angeles Angels to replace Mark Trumbo as their designated hitter.
By June he had hit just three home runs and was batting .157 and the Angels released him. He was given a second chance to end his career on his terms when the Kansas City Royals signed Ibanez.
The Royals were the first team to give Ibanez a chance to play everyday at age 29 in 2001. His career skyrocketed and he became one of the most respected players in the league, all after the age of 30.
That is pretty remarkable and he has compiled some unbelievable statistics in the past 12-13 years. They’re so good that it inspired me to write a piece on him when he signed with the Royals this season. You can (and should!!) read it using the link below. I promise you some of the statistics will blow your mind!
Ibanez was left off the World Series roster for the Royals but remained with the team mentoring and helping out the younger players. When asked about retirement after Wednesday’s game seven loss Ibanez said,
“Of course, when you’re 42, it’s definitely an option. I think the time will come when I’ll address that, but now is not the time.”
Of course talking about retirement right after a heartbreaking World Series loss isn’t a good time to be thinking about ending one’s career.
It seems that retirement is becoming more and more likely for Ibanez since he is all but guarenteed a job still working in baseball.
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reported early Thursday,
“the Yankees plan on talking to Ibanez about a coaching position on Joe Girardi’s staff.”
So now the rumor is that the New York Yankees are hoping to hire Ibanez as a coach – more than likely to replace recently fired hitting coach Kevin Long, however, they also have a space open at first base coach that was vacated by Mick Kelleher.
Ibanez is known to be one of the most amiable players in all of baseball. It’d be almost impossible to say or think otherwise based on his reputation and how he handled not being on the World Series roster, by mentoring instead of sulking.
He’d be a great fit with the Yankees’ organization who, like many others, just really like him. He also experienced what is probably the most memorable game in his 19-year career with the Yankees and their fans.
Ibanez was the hero of the 2012 ALDS. Two huge moments came in game three of the 2012 ALDS when the Yankees were facing the Orioles. Ibanez hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth and a game-winning home run in the 12th to lift the Yankees to a 3-2 victory.
Of course he was also a member of the 2009 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies so that moment factors in there somewhere but the excitement of that game in 2012 was pretty spectacular.
It’s time that Ibanez called his career as a player and moved on to another career that he was also born to do and that is coach. Whether it be with the Yankees or not it just feels like his next calling.
Although I hope the Yankees’ do hire him and soon, while the timing is right for them both. I think they’d match up just perfectly.