In light of the Kansas City Royals' recent acquisition of outfielder Raul Ibanez, one has wonder why the team even bothered to pick up the struggling outfielder.
Recently released by the Los Angeles Angels, the 42-year-old Ibanez was showing his age at the plate with a .157/.258/.265 line across 190 plate appearances, at which point the Angels had had enough. Given the Royals' lack of depth and the struggles of certain key bench players, however, the team didn't have much to lose in signing the aging outfielder, and general manager Dayton Moore thought as much.
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"Our bench is something that we’ve been trying to address," Moore said, according to the Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough. "Raul obviously can fit there. He can play left field. He can play right field."
It also doesn't hurt that Ibanez loves KC, too.
"I have some very fond memories of the city. My son was born in Kansas City," Ibanez said in an AP article. 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. 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."
But it's not just his love for the city. Ibanez also put up some of his best numbers playing for the Royals, though that was admittedly way back in the day. But he hit .294 with 24 homers and 103 RBI—in just 137 games with Kansas City back in 2002. And though his .157 average this year seems a far cry from that (and it is), Ibanez did hit 29 homers with a .487 slugging percentage last season.
Given the Royals' lack of depth, all they're really asking Ibanez to do is fill in as a bench player, a fourth outfielder. He's not far removed from what would be excellent production off the bench, and with nowhere to go but up and a change of scenery that will probably make Ibanez much more comfortable than Los Angeles, why wouldn't the move pan out?