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Angels release 42-year-old Raul Ibanez

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The end of the line may be near for Raul Ibanez.

On Saturday, the Los Angeles Angels released the 42-year-old outfielder/designated hitter from his contract, reports Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. He immediately becomes a free agent.

It's a move that's been expected for awhile. After signing a one-year contract with a $2.75 million base salary in the offseason, Ibanez was never able to get on track and at times looked overmatched at the plate. He finishes his Angels tenure with a .157/.258/.265 slash line, three home runs and 21 RBIs in 190 plate appearances. A pace well short of his .242/.306./.487 line with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs posted last season with the Seattle Mariners.

It was always considered unlikely that he'd approach those numbers again. In many ways he defied the odds last season, topping 25 home runs for the first time since 2009. But the Angels had hoped he could hold back the hands of time just a little longer to give them needed depth in their lineup and production at DH. It just wasn't meant to be.

The move leaves the Angels without a left-handed bat on their bench, but allows them to keep both Grant Green and C.J. Cron. Two young players they're excited about and who have earned the opportunity. 

As for Ibanez, teams are always willing to take fliers on recently productive players by offering minor league deals, so there should be some interest in his services. However, given his age and apparent rapid decline, Ibanez will likely struggle to find a major league contract or guaranteed playing time. If that's what he seeks, then it's possible retirement or a move to Japan could be on the horizon.

If it is the end, Ibanez will walk away with a career slash line of .273/.336/.467 to go along with 2,019 hits, 303 career home runs and 1,202 RBIs over 19 season. Not Hall of Fame numbers, but not bad ones either.

He was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies World Series championship team in 2009, and he delivered three memorable postseason home runs for the New York Yankees in 2012. It's a career to be very proud of. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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