Opinion

Royals interested in retaining Raul Ibañez in off-field role

The Kansas City Royals’ Raul Ibañez (18) was greeted after scoring on a double by Mike Moustakas in the fifth inning on July 31 against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals have interest in bringing Ibañez back in an off-field role next year.
The Kansas City Royals’ Raul Ibañez (18) was greeted after scoring on a double by Mike Moustakas in the fifth inning on July 31 against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Royals have interest in bringing Ibañez back in an off-field role next year. The Kansas City Star

Raul Ibañez has not officially declared his retirement, but multiple teams have reached out to him to gauge his interest in working as a coach or manager in 2015. Tampa Bay listed Ibañez as a candidate for their managerial interest. The Yankees contacted Ibañez about becoming their hitting coach.

Ibañez, 42, served as a mentor and guide for the Royals during his brief time with the club this past season. General manager Dayton Moore indicated that he had spoken with Ibañez about sticking around in a nonplaying role in the future.

“We would love have him be a part of what we’re doing in Kansas City,” Moore said at the Arizona Biltmore, the site of the GM Meetings.

Moore declined to discuss the specifics of the offer out of respect for Ibañez, who is said to be weighing several options for his future.

The Royals signed Ibañez on June 30 following his release by the Angels. After a brief on-field spell, Ibañez contributed less and less on the field. He hit a mere .188 with two home runs.

But the front office valued Ibañez’s experience in a clubhouse devoid of that quality. It was Ibañez who suggested the famed team meeting in July, which players and coaches cited as a turning point in the season.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar.

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