Ibanez hoping to remain with Mariners
HOUSTON -- Raul Ibanez's prodigious first half with the Mariners has resulted in his name coming up as a potential Trade Deadline candidate for a contending team, but the 41-year-old outfielder said Friday he's had no discussions on that topic with general manager Jack Zduriencik and isn't looking to leave Seattle.
"I like being here," Ibanez said prior to the Mariners' series opener against the Astros on Friday. "I like being a part of this team and I'd like to win here."
With Seattle sitting 11 games out of a Wild-Card playoff berth at the midseason break, would he be interested in getting dealt to a club with a better shot at the postseason?
"I would say it's July and why can't we do that here? That would be my response," Ibanez said. "Why can't we do that here? 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."
Ibanez has been in the postseason five of his 18 years in the Majors: once with Seattle in 2000, three times with the Phillies from 2009-11 -- including their World Series team in '09 -- and last year when he played a huge role for the Yankees.
But he's never been traded in his career and didn't sound eager to change that now after signing a one-year deal with Seattle and becoming the oldest player in Major League history with 20-plus homers and 50-plus RBIs at the All-Star break.
Ibanez is tied for fourth in the American League in home runs with 24 and also leads the Mariners with 56 RBIs while batting .267 going into Friday's game.
"It's never happened and that's even more confirmation for me as to why I don't think about it," he said of a potential trade. "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."
Ibanez spent his All-Star break lifting weights, swimming with his kids and staying busy.
"When you get to 40, you have to work out," he said. "I always joke with these guys and say, 'Inactivity is the enemy of middle-aged players.'"
He watched part of the All-Star Game, including the dramatic moment when last year's Yankee teammate, Mariano Rivera, entered the game to an empty field and pitched in his final Midsummer Classic.
"That was awesome," Ibanez said. "Just amazing. A great moment just for the game of baseball and everything that he's done. Not just what he's done, but how he's done it. He's the ultimate professional, first-class. Obviously, the greatest relief pitcher ever, but also one of the greatest human beings I've ever had the privilege of being around. It was great. I was on the couch and I felt like standing up and clapping."