Raul Ibanez has had a nice career. Despite not landing a full time role until he turned 29 years old, Ibanez has managed to hit over 300 home runs, collect over 2000 hits and more than 1200 RBIs. He has made an All-Star team, appeared in the postseason five times, and won the Hutch Award, given to the player who “best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire” of former pitcher and manager Fred Hutchinson, last season.
However, at age 42, his career may be about over. He was released by the Los Angeles Angels earlier this season before being picked up by the Kansas City Royals, where he spent the remainder of the season. Overall for the 2014 season, Ibanez posted a .167/.264/.285 batting line with five home runs. His bat looked slow against the fastball and too fast for offspeed pitches. Unfortunately, Ibanez may not be a viable major league player any longer.
This does not mean that Raul Ibanez’s time in the majors is over. Even though Ibanez was left off the Royals postseason roster, he still spent time in the dugout, serving as an unofficial coach for the Royals. Having Ibanez’s veteran presence, even if he was not on the roster or in the lineup, may have been a major boost to the young Royals, most of which were going through the postseason for the first time.
That Balls Outta Here
In fact, a potential coaching career may await Ibanez if he is interested in one. After the World Series ended, the New York Yankees contacted Ibanez about their hitting coach vacancy, and there appears to be mutual interest. While the Royals do not have a vacancy at hitting coach – yet – they do have an opening on their staff. First base coach Rusty Kuntz is calling it a career now that the postseason is over, leaving the Royals and Ned Yost looking for a first base coach.
Could that spot be a place for Raul Ibanez? Yost raved about his veteran leadership and how his team meeting in the middle of July turned the season around. It was for that leadership, and to essentially have another coach as a player, that Dayton Moore brought him in. If Ibanez is interested in a coaching career, it certainly appears as though he would have his opportunities.
Raul Ibanez could end up having a role for a team somewhere in 2015. It just may be as a coach instead of as a player.