With under two weeks to go until the trade deadline, hot-hitting Raul Ibanez is bound to be prominent on the rumor mill. In fact, his name is already being mentioned as a possible candidate to be dealt, based on his torrid first half (24 homers) and the fact the Mariners are nine games under .500.
But Ibanez, speaking to a group of reporters just now in the Mariners clubhouse in Houston, said that he doesn’t want to go anywhere — even if it’s a route for a possible return trip to the playoffs.
“I would say it’s July and why can’t we do that here? That would be my response. Why can’t we do that here?” he said. “Yeah, I want to play in the playoffs — right here. I think we’ve been playing good baseball the last couple of weeks, and I’d like to see that continue.”
Still, the Mariners have dug themselves a steep hole. Even after sweeping the Angels heading into the All-Star break, they are 13 games out of first place in the AL West. They are 11 games out in the wild card with seven teams to pass to get one of the two wild-card berths.
Ibanez has played in the postseason five times — with the Mariners in 2000, with the Phillies in 2009-11, and with the Yankees last year. He made it to the World Series with the Phillies in 2009 but they lost to the Yankees. He said he has not talked to Seattle GM Jack Zduriencek about his trade status.
“I have not,” he said, adding: “I like being here, I like being a part of this team, and I’d like to win here.”
For now, Ibanez says he’s not spending any time worrying about it, or even thinking about it at all.
““It’s something I can’t control anyway,” he said. “I’ve been doing this long enough to know if you focus on what you can’t control, then what you can control kind of takes a back seat. I only focus on what I can control, and that’s my attitude and my preparation and my approach to the game, and how I can help my team win.”
This is Ibanez’s 18th season in the major leagues, and he’s never been traded, despite being involved in rumors before.
“It’s never happened, and that’s even more confirmation for me as to why I don’t think about it,” he said. “A lot of times you end up worrying and stressing about things that never happen. I try not to worry and stress and think about things like that. I try to do my job.”