Royals sign 42-year-old Ibanez nine days after Angels’ release
Raul Ibanez’s first opportunity to be an everyday major league player came with the Kansas City Royals.
Returning to the Royals more than a decade later, his hope is for another experience: postseason play.
The Royals signed the 42-year-old Ibanez Monday, nine days after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels.
"It’s been in the works for a while. I was really excited about the opportunity to come here. I like the makeup of the club, and I like the possibilities. They’re endless," Ibanez said in Minnesota before the Royals played the Twins. "There’s a great opportunity to do some special things here."
The Royals entered Monday 3-1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central and 1-1/2 games out of a wild-card spot. Manager Ned Yost said he’ll probably play Ibanez in the outfield, at first base and as the designated hitter.
"He’s what we call a professional hitter," Yost said. "So we think he’s going to be a big addition to our team."
Ibanez, the second-oldest active player in the majors behind Cleveland’s Jason Giambi, who is on the disabled list, batted only .157 in 57 games for the Angels. Though 10 of his 26 hits were for extra bases, he said his balance was "totally off" at the plate.
"I’m just going to be myself and try to help this team any way I can," Ibanez said.
This is his fifth team since 2011. Ibanez hit 29 home runs just last year for Seattle, the team that he broke in with in 1996. He didn’t regularly crack the lineup until joining the Royals in 2001, and in 2002 he had his breakout year with a .294 batting average, 37 doubles, 24 home runs and 103 RBI in 137 games.
"I have some very fond memories of the city. My son was born in Kansas City. Nothing would please me more than to be part of something that hasn’t been done here in a long time, and that’s getting into the postseason," Ibanez said. "I’ve been in from the other side, and when you’re playing against them you look at that team and you realize how far the organization has come and how much progress they’ve made."
The Royals made several moves Monday. Ibanez and infielder Christian Colon were added to the roster, and infielder Pedro Ciriaco and outfielder Justin Maxwell were designated for assignment.
Colon was recalled from Triple-A. The fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft was batting .296 with 48 runs, 14 doubles and 14 steals in 74 games for Omaha. Yost said Colon will play second base, shortstop and third base.
Kansas City also traded left-hander Donnie Joseph to the Miami Marlins for cash. He was designated for assignment on June 24.
The 26-year-old Joseph pitched in one game for Kansas City this season, getting two outs on June 16 in Detroit. The Royals got him during the 2012 season in a trade that sent reliever Jonathan Broxton to Cincinnati.