In continuing with my little Ibanez “love affair” when I saw that Raul Ibanez was on the Rays’ managerial list, which no one really seems to be that into at the moment, I just had to write about it!
When I say that people are not that “into it” I only mean that it doesn’t seem to have the intensity that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ or even the Minnesota Twins’ managerial jobs garnered.
But that’s ok because in my book things just got interesting. I’ve written about Ibanez’s career and about why he’d make a good fit as the New York Yankees’ hitting coach so obviously I am a fan.
Some of the feats he accomplished after the age of 30 are really quite impressive, better than some Hall of Famers’ stats after they hit the big 3-0.
So the fact that Ibanez has never formally coached or managed anywhere on the professional spectrum but made the first list of candidates for the Rays’ managerial job doesn’t surprise me because I have researched his career and personality, but it may to some.
It may surprise some because Ibanez is inexperienced or is he? As Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones writes,
“Ibanez is 42. He has been around the block, playing for a slew of managers during his 19-year major-league career with five teams.
He played for the fiery Lou Piniella and the steady Mike Hargrove. He played for the passionate Tony Pena and the reserved Charlie Manuel, He played for Joe Girardi, who is very smart, and Mike Scioscia, who might be the smartest manager in the game.”
Pretty compelling arguments right there.
Also on the list are Rays’ bench coach Dave Martinez, former Washington Nationals’ and Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta, Craig Counsell who spent the majority of his 15-year career with Milwaukee and is now serving as a special assistant to the club, Giants’ bench coach Ron Wotus, Indians coach Kevin Cash, former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and minor league manager Charlie Montoyo.
Of course the list of candidates may still grow. The Rays’ president of baseball operations Matt Silverman, who announced the candidate list, said that he believed the list would grow.
Silverman didn’t even seem to feel a sense of urgency about the situation saying,
“With a talented core of players and a strong clubhouse culture, our next manager will step into an enviable position,’‘ Silverman said. “We will look for him to build upon that and take us to the next level.’
Personally I’m rooting for Ibanez. That would be so cool to see! Going straight from 19-years in the big leagues to being a big league manager?
Although if Ibanez is at all like he is described, a very humble man, he’d more likely be interested in the Yankees’ hitting job. Then again, his Kansas City Royals teammates did talk about how helpful he was during October. Jones notes,
“He wasn’t on Kansas City’s postseason roster, but he was interviewed on TV from the dugout during one of the playoff games and you couldn’t help but think, “Hmm, sharp guy. He might make a good manager some day.”
Ibanez remained with the Royals throughout the World Series, despite being left off of the World Series roster, as more of a mentor/coach than a player.
It could go either way on either side when it comes to Ibanez but there are some other good candidates on the list even if they don’t exactly have “star power.”
The Rays will still be the Rays in 2015 either way, take that however you want to (anywhere from the rumors of them moving cities to the fact that they kept Zobrist or enter your opinion on the Rays here).
It will be interesting to see how things transpire from here. I’m just excited for my boy Raul! The Yankees know that he’d be a good hitting coach candidate, maybe the Rays are onto something again. It’s not as if Joe Maddon was the obvious choice the last time around. 🙂