Raúl Ibañez may soon be taking on a new role in baseball…
The 42-year-old Cuban-American professional baseball right fielder and designated hitter is among the finalists to replace Joe Maddon as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ibañez, a Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star in 2009, is up against Kevin Cash and Don Wakamatsu for the role.
Dave Martinez, the Rays’ bench coach for the past seven seasons, was among seven candidates dropped Friday. Also cut were Barry Larkin, Doug Glanville, Manny Acta, Craig Counsell, Charlie Montoyo and Ron Wotus.
Tampa Bay said interviews with the finalists will be scheduled for the week of December 1. Maddon left the Rays after nine seasons to manage the Chicago Cubs.
“The decision on Dave Martinez was especially difficult,” Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said in a statement. “He’s played a key role in our organization’s evolution, and he’s done all he can to put himself in position to be a manager. In the end, we determined that our clubhouse would best benefit from a new voice that will add to our already strong and cohesive culture.”
Ibañez has spent 19 seasons in the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels and has 305 homers and 2,034 hits. He helped the Royals win this year’s AL pennant.