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08/13/08 9:54 PM ET

Ibanez-to-Rays rumor starts to swirl

Left fielder doubts he'll be traded because of waiver rules

ANAHEIM -- Almost two weeks after nearly being traded to the Blue Jays, Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez has returned to the rumor mill, this time involving the Rays.

While confirming on Wednesday that he has been claimed on waivers by more than one other Major League organization, the Mariners' most consistent offensive player of the season said he doubts that he'll be traded.

"I'm not saying it's impossible, but I just don't think it will happen," he said prior to Wednesday night's game against the Angels. "Everything is more complex now."

According to FOX Sports, the Rays want to acquire Ibanez to help fill a void created by the loss of left fielder Carl Crawford to finger surgery, which is expected to keep him out of action for six to eight weeks. The Rays also have lost third baseman Evan Longoria for up to three weeks because of a broken wrist.

"I hope whatever happens is best for the organization and for all of us," Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said.

Ibanez, 36, went into the series finale against the Angels with a .287 batting average, .351 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and team-leading 80 RBIs. He is owed the remainder of his $5.5 million salary this season and is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

Despite recent reports that the Mariners have discussed a contract extension, Ibanez said, "Nothing is going on about a multiyear contract."

Unlike the non-waiver trading period, which ended on July 31, players that are traded between Aug. 1 and the end of the season must first clear waivers, and other teams can claim a player to block a trade to another club.

If the player is not claimed within 47 business-day hours, he may be traded to any club. If the player is claimed by another club, the request may be revoked, allowing his current club to pull him back. However, the player's current club also may work out a trade with the claiming club within 48 1/2 business-day hours or elect to allow the claiming club to take the player for a $20,000 fee and assume responsibility for his current contract.

If more than one club claims a player, the club with the lower winning percentage has priority, but American League clubs have priority for AL players, and National League clubs have priority for NL players. Once a player on Major League waivers has been claimed and the waiver request revoked, any subsequent request for Major League waivers during the same waiver period is irrevocable.

A player with a no-trade clause who is claimed on Major League waivers must be pulled back if the player's no-trade clause allows him to block a deal to the claiming club. However, the player may waive the no-trade clause and join the claiming club.

Ibanez does not have a no-trade clause, but Mariners pitcher Jarrod Washburn, who reportedly also has been claimed, has a limited no-trade clause in his contract.

"At this point, I just want to focus on what I can do to help this team win," Ibanez said, adding that the trade rumors were more intense at the end of July than they are now.

Trading either, or both of the players, could have a definite effect on an organization that wants to avoid becoming the first franchise in MLB history to have a $100 million payroll and lose 100 games. Seattle started the season with a club-record $117 million player payroll and went into Wednesday night's game with a 45-74 record. The Mariners must go no worse than 18-25 to dodge triple-digits in losses.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.