When the Los Angeles Angels inked 41-year-old Raul Ibanez to a one-year, $7 million contract this past offseason, they knew that it would be a risk signing him.
After a hot start to the season, Ibanez has cooled down significantly as his batting average has now dropped to .146 and he has gone 1-for-20 (.050) in the last seven games played. It has been anything but what the Angels hoped for when they signed him. They were looking for the 18-year veteran to continue to be the power hitter he was last season where he had 29 home runs with 65 RBIs as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
But instead Ibanez has shown that father time has caught up to him. This is evident by how he is performing so far this season as he has demonstrated that the game may have passed him by and he can no longer be relied upon for consistent production. His hitting has seemingly gotten worse as each game has passed by; he has only two multi-hit games with 31 strikeouts in 30 games on the season.
There were telling signs in the second half of last season that he was beginning to slow down as he hit just five of his 29 home runs with a .203 batting average. Let’s face it; Ibanez is an older player who at this point in his career is more likely to strikeout than drive in runs. Yes, the season is young and he still has time to prove he can be a productive player, but so far he has shown that he can no longer be a presence in the lineup.
Ibanez has been a constant professional through his struggles this season, but what this year has shown is that he may be the shadow of the player he once was.