The Dodgers have hired Raúl Ibañez as their vice president of baseball development and special projects, tweets Fabian Ardaya of the Athletic. He returns to the L.A. organization, where he worked in Andrew Friedman’s front office between 2016-20.
Ibañez had a 19-year playing career in the major leagues. The left-handed hitting outfielder suited up with the Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Yankees and Angels between 1996-2014. He played through his age-42 campaign and remained in the sport almost immediately after hanging up his spikes. He was a finalist in the Rays managerial search within weeks of his retirement but ultimately backed out of the running. (Things worked out well for Tampa Bay, who ended up hiring Kevin Cash.)
After one year off, he joined the Dodgers in a special assistant capacity. Ibañez would hold that position for five seasons before moving to the MLB offices. He joined the league as a senior vice president of on-field operations. Ibañez was among a number of recently retired players working alongside the commissioner on various initiatives — in his case, primarily with regards to rules and on-field technology.
Ibañez spent three seasons in that role. The 51-year-old now heads back to the team side, reuniting with many former colleagues in Los Angeles. Whether this could set the stage for an eventual jump to a more significant front office or coaching position remains to be seen. In addition to the Rays, Ibañez has been mentioned in managerial searches in Houston, San Francisco and with the Yankees and Cubs over the years.