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Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Nationals sign OF Rick Ankiel to one-year deal

By Dave Sheinin

The Nationals have signed veteran outfielder Rick Ankiel to an incentive-laden one-year contract worth a guaranteed $1.5 million, pending a physical exam -- a somewhat curious move given the fact Ankiel hits from the same side (left) as holdovers Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan, who were expected to be the Nationals' primary starters in left field and center field.

Though he hit 25 homers for St. Louis as recently as 2008, Ankiel, who will turn 32 in July, is essentially a platoon outfielder these days, given his extreme lefty-righty splits. (Last year, while splitting the season between Kansas City and Atlanta, he had an OPS of just .452 in limited exposure to lefties in 2010, compared with .801 against right-handers.)

Of course, Ankiel is best remembered as the Cardinals pitching phenom whose well-chronicled bout with wildness a decade ago eventually led to his reinvention as an outfielder.

The Ankiel signing was first reported by Jon Heyman of SI.com.

By Dave Sheinin  | December 20, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
 
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Next: Nats sign Mattheus, ink six to minor-league deals

Comments

I have to assume that this is the first of multiple dominos to fall. An Ankiel/Morse platoon in left makes sense, or Ankiel/Werth in center with Morse full time in left.

I would be content with Ankiel as a platoon player. He is a solid defender and against righties only, could hit .265-15-55 with Morse adding .275-10-40 against lefties.

No problem with this move as long as he (or Nyjer Morgan) ever bats against lefties again.

Posted by: rushfari | December 20, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Good low cost signing. We needed a lefty power bat. He's gonna hit 5th this year and play center or left against righties when/if either nyjer or bernadina tank offensiviely.

Posted by: GiterDunn | December 20, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

.232 BA, 6 HR, 24 RBI. More o the same washed up signees. Signing an actual blue chip player in his prime--now that would be a real idea. Sorry that costs money.
Meet the new Nats.
Same as the old Nats.
106 losses this season. Bank it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

> -- a somewhat curious move given the fact Ankiel hits from the same side (left) as holdovers Roger Bernadina and Nyjer Morgan, who were expected to be the Nationals' primary starters in left field and center field.

Yeah, especially if he's platooning with Bernadina. What, they each hit against 'particular' righties? Another one-year contract. EXACTLY what I was explaining in the other thread. 6 homers in 211 ABs. Everybody just got done talking about how Greinke had problems handling pressure and they sign a guy who's been known to throw the ball in the stands from the mound? He may not be pitching, but it's still the same person. Dumpster diving doesn't even do Pants justice anymore. Now he's got a log-jam of left handed hitters with no power. Or very little. In TWO power positions - LF and CF.

Posted by: Brue | December 20, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I think he could be this year's Kevin Mench!

Posted by: mike8 | December 20, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight they trade Willingham for AAA players and then parlay their next bet on Rick Ankiel. Looks like the "dumpster dives" in full swing over in NatsTown.

People I'm a Nats fan but at this point the no cost, maybe reward philosophy ain't gonna any fill seats. It also won't change any FA's minds that the vacancy sign posted in NatsTown means "come on down, the waters fine"!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 20, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I mean, what is Pants gonna do - platoon two lefties in LF? How come nobody's done that the last 150 years? Or is he gonna give up on Bernadina and go with a mostly washed-up Ankiel who's on a one-year deal? Dude struck out 71 times in 211 ABs last year. Those are the only two real options. Unless they want to platoon him with Morgan too. But guess what - HE'S LEFTHANDED TOO

Posted by: Brue | December 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Truth, stranger than fiction. This is hilarious.

"Everybody just got done talking about how Greinke had problems handling pressure and they sign a guy who's been known to throw the ball in the stands from the mound? "

Assuming that this is not the left handed power bat for the middle of the order.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 20, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel is the number one starter we have been looking for. Career 3.90 ERA.

Posted by: MrDumberton | December 20, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

NatsTown will be GHOST TOWN this season. Peeps will be dumping tix before games. Anyone who spends more than 5-10 bucks on a seat........any seat.........
See ya at Camden Yaaaaaads.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

And this is the problem with the earlier posting from today.
What good is payroll flexibility if you're gonna use it on Rick Ankiel?

Posted by: Sunderland | December 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

1B solved!

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 20, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why anyone would be so down on this move. It didn't cost the Nats anything except for money and he sure is an upgrade as an extra player from Willie Harris. He can play all 3 spots in the outfield. He's insurance against Bernadina and Morgan having continued problems with their bats.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 20, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I guess if nothing else the Nats will have a very good defensive outfield at the end of games.

But really this is a move that is so minor it shouldn't register on the scale.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | December 20, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

There is so much to hate on with this signing that I don't know where to begin. How about that if Ankiel plays left field, it's a waste of his strongest asset as an outfielder - his arm. How does a one year gamble on a washed up player equate to a "Phase 2" move? Are they planning on giving him a shot to pitch in the bullpen? I know Ankiel has expressed interest in going back to pitching at some point. Is he going to play first base? What happened to all the posters on this site that are obsessed with Adam Laroche? Looks like he might go across town to the O's. And why would D. Lee want to join this bunch of losers this late in his career? Jayson Werth has to be absolutely kicking himself right now, regardless of how much money he has to wipe his tears with. God I hate this team.

Posted by: drobins7 | December 20, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Can Ankiel play centerfield? If so, this makes some sense as a backup plan in case there is more "Morgan Meltdown in store for 2011.

Posted by: hapster | December 20, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

What if they use him as a Morse/Ankiel platoon in LF with Bernadina playing CF and Nyjer DFAed? Ankiel will also be someone off the bench who might actually be able to hit a home run. We certainly lacked that last year...

Posted by: NatsWin | December 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I think that this is a decent move. Hawpe on a multi-year deal may have been a smarter long term move, who knows. But, maybe now they think that they have the OF set (platoon in LF Morse/Ankiel, Morgan in CF with Bernadina as insurance and the 4th OF is whomever is not hot, Werth in RF with an occasional start in CF aginast a tough lefty). Ok, not bad.

But they still need a LH 1B that can slug decently. They can use Morse there part time also if they'd like. Someone has to hit in the middle of the order from the left side with more reliable thump than Ankiel or Bernadina.

And something resembling an Ace was job One for Rizzo this off season, so I assume (hope and pray is a more accurate description) he's got something from his list of options that he loves to mention coming on that front.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's please overreact to another signing of a decent bench player. This move is only curious if you think Bernadina and Nyjer are going to be "the Nationals' primary starters in left field and center field." Or if you forget who our backup outfielders were last year. Or if you ignore the fact that Willie Harris is not on the roster. Or if you ignore the fact that his split numbers against RH'ers were better than Bernadina's and Morgan's last year. Or if you ignore the possibility that Bernadina and Morgan both won't be here in April.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, let's please overreact to another signing of a decent bench player. This move is only curious if you think Bernadina and Nyjer are going to be "the Nationals' primary starters in left field and center field." Or if you forget who our backup outfielders were last year. Or if you ignore the fact that Willie Harris is not on the roster. Or if you ignore the fact that his split numbers against RH'ers were better than Bernadina's and Morgan's last year. Or if you ignore the possibility that Bernadina and Morgan both won't be here in April.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 20, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Locally, some of us remember Ankiel when he pitched for the Prince William Cannons, on his way up to the Cardinals.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | December 20, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This team was 100% behind Dukes like they are behind Morgan, you see how that worked out.

Maybe management knows a little more about moves to be made then posters on this board do.

And Jurgensen9, how can some posters be down? Some posters would be down even if Matt Chico threw a no hitter, its who they are.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 20, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe management knows a little more about moves to be made then posters on this board do."

Good luck, SC, but that kind of crazy talk won't get you far around here.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 20, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your posts, baltova1 and SCNatsFan. They were helpful correctives to this morning's discussion.

Posted by: fpcsteve | December 20, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Bye Willie Harris.

@ Jurgensen9 "I'm not sure why anyone would be so down on this move."

Obviously it this signing cuts into our "Payroll Flexibility". Sorry I'm still laughing at the last post...

Posted by: PNatsFan | December 20, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I have no problem with bench signings like this, if that is all it is. However, if this is the usual dumpster diving binge in full swing, then I have big problems. Fact is, though, we don't know yet which it is. Nats history is such that those who are worried have cause for it, unfortunately.

Posted by: NatsFly | December 20, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why anyone would be so down on this move. It didn't cost the Nats anything except for money and he sure is an upgrade as an extra player from Willie Harris. He can play all 3 spots in the outfield. He's insurance against Bernadina and Morgan having continued problems with their bats.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | December 20, 2010 12:11 PM

It's all about timing, really. This teams needs a legitimate starting 1B - and could definitely use a decent starting pitcher or three. Dumpster diving before that happens is going to be met with criticism. If we signed Pavano and LaRoche - then Ankiel later on, no one would be commenting.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 20, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Matt Stairs, Rick Ankiel.........

Please welcome your new 2011 Washington Natinals.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Its a decent sign for the cheap..people need to stop freaking out. He is not a bad guy to come off the bench as a 4/5th outfielder.

Posted by: Cartaldo | December 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I love the "Pro" DC Sports Teams! They should do a Comedy Show! This is Natinals Baseball and This is Nats Town!

Posted by: jwing14 | December 20, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel shuts the door on Willie Harris. That is what its all about people.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It looks more and more like your first baseman might end up being Prince Fielder. Next year when he becomes a free agent or via trade and salary extension if the Brewers don't get far in the AL Central.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel is a fundamentally sound outfielder who can play all three outfield positions, throw, run, and hit with pwoer. He is not a high average hitter, or a first baseman. He provides a bat off the bench and centerfield insurance should Morgan get injured or traded. It is a good signing.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 20, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"It looks more and more like your first baseman might end up being Prince Fielder."
Yeah, he fits the Rizzo mold of athletic, versatile ballplayers.
Why in the world would Rizzo outbid people for Prince when he didn't want Dunn?

Dunn spread his 270 lbs across a 6' 5" frame. Prince is 5' 11" tall and 270 lbs! You think Rizzo will ink him for 4+ years????

Posted by: Sunderland | December 20, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Still no starting pitching. Still Morgan in CF. Willingham gone for minor leaguers. Still Riggleman managing. Dunn gone. One new player in RF. And of course Matt Stairs and Rick A.
What an offseason.
Whata team.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

For those that don't know, the reason people are down on this signing, is that it is the 2nd biggest acquisition by the Nats this offseason. Right, the 2nd biggest signing is a non-roster invite for a bench outfielder. Whoop-dee-doo.

Can someone answer me this, how are some of you folks still optimistic? The Nats front office is the gang that couldn't shoot straight...

Posted by: comish4lif | December 20, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Baltova and natsbiscuits for actually adding some depth to the article and not just trashing any move the Nationals make. Agree that for a 4th outfielder we just upgraded our roster and it is certainly a better move then Kevin Mench!!

I am learning to skim through the hate to get to the meat of this blog which I think is still baseball and Nationals baseball.

Still waiting for the firstbase and starting pitcher to be signed and agree that if that had preceeded this it would not be a big deal. I am hoping that Morgan will be pushed this spring and if he continues to have problems on the basepath or can't get on base that we now have options. Too bad we can't get him a new arm because that will never improve. Is there a weaker outfield arm in the majors??

Go Nats

ps: Skinsfan, how is your season working out? We might not be able to spell our names on our uniforms but I would be willing to bet we will have a .500 or better season before your nightmarish football team.

Posted by: sjm3091 | December 20, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not positive but I do not believe that Mike Rizzo and the FO are done with potential trades? We just got the inside scuttlebutt ON ONE, the Grienke trade. And we saw Willingham go for 1 major league power pitcher/potential closer + a former first round pick and potential left handed power hitting center fielder.

We don't know what else might be going on behind the scenes. There are still more than four months before baseball actually begins and the off season ends.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@comish4lif

Carrying over from the last thread, but: The idea that it somehow benefits the Nats to front-load contracts is crazy. Basic time value of money. It might make sense in a league where there's a salary cap, but it makes absolutely no sense in baseball.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | December 20, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel is at least a league-average CF. Isn't it likely that Rizzo picked him up to light a fire under and/or replace Morgan?

Posted by: TomServo | December 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yep, this is a lefty potential power bat off the bench and a cheap, veteran, athletic guy that can play all three outfield positions. A solid low-level signing. Why all the lefties in the outfield? Because LaRoche is going to get too much money in Baltimore and that is going to lead the Nats to give a one-year deal to righty Derrek Lee.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 20, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Man the Nats coulda had Greinke alongside Strasburg for years. Now that's the basis of a great rotation. And rotations win titles. Not RFs. But it woulda taken smarts to get it done. Too bad. Instead we get to keep future hall of famer Ian Desmond. What a waste. This deal was a no-brainer.
Greinke and Strasburg. Geez.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel is a bench player, a role player to pinch hit against right handers. In that role, he's a fine signing. He's a good complement for an NL team that needs versatility in double switching.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 20, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the willful ignorance of some ...
The Nationals had a deal for Greinke. He refused to go. The Nationals could not have had Greinke. The End.
We now return to our regularly-scheduled "Dooming the 2011 Roster When There's Still Two Months Until Spring Training" session.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | December 20, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@jaycane40oz - I think in regular business, NPV of assets is an important concept, but I think baseball is the one business where Front-loading a deal does make sense.

Looking at Werth and the Nats - the Nats have payroll flexibility now, when they know their payroll is low and will continue to be low. In the future, they may need flexibility to pay for the Zimms, Strasburg, etc. Why not pay some of Werth's deal now? In the future, we may need to move Werth's contract - by then - any money spent will be a sunk cost. Whether Werth helps up win or not. If we have to move his deal, it'll be easier to move if he's less expensive.

I know, "nobody does it that way" - that's an excuse, not a reason.

Posted by: comish4lif | December 20, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Why is the skins fan giving us roster management tips?

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 20, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@akins_fan_22,

Grienke vetoed the trade? You can be certain Rizzo and the Lerners called and tried to talk to him? He made a choice. How is what they did "not smart"?

Just like your team did with stupid moves like McNabb, Haynesworth, CP26. Now those really are bonehead moves on the part of Daniel Snyder.

Brainless diatribes belong on RI not here.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

ps: Skinsfan, how is your season working out? We might not be able to spell our names on our uniforms but I would be willing to bet we will have a .500 or better season before your nightmarish football team.

Posted by: sjm3091 | December 20, 2010 1:32 PM

No need for DC on DC violence. Which is probably why skins_fan should just get back to his Poopy/jwing circle jerk.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 20, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

And BTW, there is NOTHING wrong with double switching. It's the National League. No DH. Double switches are how you play the game.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 20, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Glad the Nats got Werth instead of keeping Dunn. Happy they traded injury prone Willingham for two potentially good players. Happy they've picked up some sound bench strength. Looking forward to Rizzo's next moves which I think might be Lee and a decent pitcher. I guess one's view is just a matter of perspective.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 20, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to the previous topic.

NO there is no salary cap. But if you are locked into an older player as the Phillies will be it doesn't make sense to have them if they are no longer capable of playing at a high level. Its easier to live with one guy who has a contract and his better years are behind (see Barry Zito and the Giants) but its a lot harder to do this when your entire roster looks like that as in the Yankees and now the Phillies and of course the Cubbies.

The Lerners and Mike Rizzo do not want to make a second Chicago Cubs roster of expensive mistakes. That only makes sense. Using payroll flexibility to lock in mostly young high ceiling players also makes sense. Else you end up stuck with as the Cubs have been with expensive underachieving older players.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

>>The Nationals had a deal for Greinke. He refused to go. The Nationals could not have had Greinke. The End

Sez who? Mere speculation.

>>Skinsfan, I would be willing to bet we will have a .500 or better season before your nightmarish football team

Since neither will have one for years, that's a scary thought.

>>He's a good complement for an NL team that needs versatility in double switching

Did some1 say..... oh no he dint.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to the previous topic.

NO there is no salary cap. But if you are locked into an older player as the Phillies will be it doesn't make sense to have them if they are no longer capable of playing at a high level. Its easier to live with one guy who has a contract and his better years are behind (see Barry Zito and the Giants) but its a lot harder to do this when your entire roster looks like that as in the Yankees and now the Phillies and of course the Cubbies.

The Lerners and Mike Rizzo do not want to make a second Chicago Cubs roster of expensive mistakes. That only makes sense. Using payroll flexibility to lock in mostly young high ceiling players also makes sense. Else you end up stuck with as the Cubs have been with expensive underachieving older players.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Ankiel is a Boras client.

Also, in other news, the Nats signed a former first-round pick, a lefty 1B by the name of Michael Aubrey, who is supposed to be a slick fielding guy with good plate discipline. Back problems have kept him from fulfilling his potential and he is now 28 years old, but I guess we stick him in AAA and hope he's a late bloomer.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 20, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@skins_fan_22,

And Jason Campbell apparently was the best QB of the entire mix as his record shows this year?

What happened there? All the ravenous skins_fan_22 fans wanted him out of town? Now he might just go to the playoffs while Skins fans are stuck at home. Now Shanny the fearless leader will draft a new QB and it will all start anew.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Peri You are right and Sunderland you are wrong. I feel a Fielder move comming on too. It would make sense The Brewers don't need pitching so Zimm is safe, and we have enough in the minors to offer them a good deal. Also Nieves is catching for them now so it wont be long before they need a good catcher. As a far a fielder being a fat tub of lard, uh your wrong thier. I spent 4 years being stationed in Milwaukee. He is all musle, he is also a Vegan and a work out warrior. also his stats prove Peri's point.

Fielder age 26:
GS- 160
TC- 1341
PO- 1251
A- 86
E- 4
DP- 116
FLD%- .997
Batting
R- 94
HR- 32
RBI- 83
BB- 114
SO- 138
SB-1

Dunn age 31:
GS- 156
TC- 1309
PO- 1203
A- 93
E- 13
DP- 119
FLD%- .990
Batting
R- 85
HR- 38
RBI- 103
BB- 77
SO- 199
SB-0

Adam LaRoche age 30
GS- 143
TC- 1272
PO- 1139
A- 122
E- 11
DP- 119
FLD%- .997
Batting
R- 75
HR- 25
RBI- 100
BB- 48
SO- 172
SB-0

Fielder is younger and just plain better.


Posted by: hansenjo | December 20, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Sez who? Mere speculation."

Verified by multiple sources.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Chuck James is gone, Bixler and Mattheus are back along with Aubrey formerly with the O's. Replacement for Chris Duncan in Syracuse. Not sure Marerro will be playing there for the Nats in 2011.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think BobLHead might be right - the Nats might take Lee on a 1 year deal ($8M maybe?) and use Ankiel and Bernadina as lefties, Stairs gets some AB's and maybe they move switch-hitting Espinosa into the 2 hole on occasion.

If Lee returns to his pre wrist injury form, and Ankiel can be a 20HR threat and Bernadina improves significantly and Espinosa can carry over his stroke from the minors to the bigs, Rizzo will look pretty smart. But, that is a lot of ifs for a club with this kind of rich market to be lining-up.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 20, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21,

There's also Morse on the right side who will likely platoon with Bernadina. I suspect he will end up starting in left if they acquire Lee.

Posted by: periculum | December 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

>>@skins_fan_22, And Jason Campbell apparently was the best QB of the entire mix as his record shows this year?What happened there? All the ravenous skins_fan_22 fans wanted him out of town?Posted by: periculum

Not me. If you go back and read my posts you'll see I was always a BIG fan of JC, didn't want him traded, thought they gave him away for nothing and never liked the deal for McNabb.

Although not a fan of the Patriots, peeps can really learn from them. They gather draft picks rather than give them away.

Just look at Randy Moss. They traded a 4th rounder for him a few years ago. Now 2 year's later with all that additional mileage on him, they receive a 3rd rounder for him. Now that's brilliance.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC:

"According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Cubs and Rangers have "jumped ahead" of the Nationals in the running for Brandon Webb.

The Nats may be scaling back their spending. There are so few quality starting pitchers left on the open market and Webb is likely to command a decent-sized one-year contract."

Scaling back, huh? Gee, do you think?

Posted by: swanni | December 20, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

periculum said, "We don't know what else might be going on behind the scenes. There are still more than four months before baseball actually begins and the off season ends." Exactly! Thanks, periculum. Yet another helpful corrective to our discussion.

Posted by: fpcsteve | December 20, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

>Ankiel is at least a league-average CF. Isn't it likely that Rizzo picked him up to light a fire under and/or replace Morgan?

Posted by: TomServo

His OPS against lefties is like .400 or something unheard of. Pants managed to find someone who hits lefties WORSE than Morgan. There's no way at this point in his career that he can start without having to platoon against lefties.

>Double switches are how you play the game.

Posted by: natbiscuits

I think Pants set this up with Ankiel and Stairs so Riggleman could double switch with the right handed lineup. Who cares if neither of them can hit any more. People say 'low-risk move, what does it matter' - it matters if Ankiel is on the 40-man roster - who you gonna drop - thereby putting someone out there to be picked as a Rule 5 because, as people on here say - 'there's still plenty of time left in the offseason'. It also means he takes ABs away from another player in spring training. Plus Morse gets shoved farther down the food chain. Unless they're just waiting until Lee (SD) and LaRoche (Balt.) sign and they'll say, 'we'll put Morse at first'. Which is what their sorry selves will probably do anyway.

Posted by: Brue | December 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I think the Brew would have to absolutely tank for them to move Fielder this year; the Grienke trade shows they believe their time is now and would trade for more established players rather then trade the ones they have as they have already moved 4 top tier prospects for vets.

As for Fielder (or any big name FA) signing here, clearly there is still a significant gap between what some players think is respectability with this team; lets just hope that gap gets closed more this year. Remember at one point the Phillies were a laughingstock and it didn't turn around overnight. What's done with this franchise is done, what counts is where they go from here; complaining about past moves is pointless.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

>>periculum said, "We don't know what else might be going on behind the scenes. There are still more than four months before baseball actually begins and the off season ends."

If only that were true. Unfortunately we have history as our guidepost and the Nats history isn't particularly pretty. Including their offseason history. Sure hope to be proven wrong but really doubt it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@ Comish4lif

Not because that's how everyone does it, but because of the simple fact that $21 million in 2017 is worth less than $21 million today. So front-loading the contract would make it more expensive. More importantly, the money they're saving won't just disappear, so they'll be just as able to spend it in 2017 as they are now. (Or, put differently, spending $20 today and $40 in 2017 is the same (better, actually) as $30 today and $30 in 2017. The fact their payroll is higher in 2017 doesn't change the fact that they're actually paying less overall, and so should just as easily be able to absorb contracts then.)

But, math is boring, and Ankiel does suck. Bobby and whoever else is in the booth will love him because he plays hard and gets good jumps in center (I assume that's where he'll end up), but those good jumps will be counterbalanced by the lack of athleticism. And he doesn't have any power any more. No harm in having him on the bench, though.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | December 20, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Fielder?? The guy is listed at 289 lbs and he may not be as tall as 5'11" and he gloves worse than Dunn (according to UZR in 2010), amzingly enough. How does he fit in to the D and athleticism mantra? If they go and pay Fielder Adrian Gonzalez money next year after walking away from Dunn for less than half as much money, then they are true idiots. He's younger and better, sure, but he aint $75M better.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 20, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Signing an actual blue chip player in his prime--now that would be a real idea. Sorry that costs money."

Uh, did you completely miss the Jayson Werth signing?

Posted by: GoNatsGo | December 20, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

It's more likely that Ankiel will play some 1B for the Nats than Cecil Fielder.

Folks, the off-season is coming to a close. Perhaps they will sign Derek Lee. Perhaps. But other than that, it will be dumpster diving all the way to Viera.

Posted by: swanni | December 20, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

>>Signing an actual blue chip player in his prime--now that would be a real idea. Sorry that costs money."

>>Uh, did you completely miss the Jayson Werth signing? Posted by: GoNatsGo

IN HIS PRIME!!!!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Folks, the off-season is coming to a close."

In two months, when pitchers and catchers report. Two months ago today, the offseason hadn't even started. They were still playing ball. So the offseason is less than half over.

Posted by: FeelWood | December 20, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel's production has tailed off recently

"St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel, who punctuated a storybook comeback from pitching travails by homering twice with 7 RBIs Thursday, joined the list of athletes linked to a Florida-based steroids investigation.

The New York Daily News reported Friday that Ankiel received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, citing records its reporters saw. That Orlando outfit, Signature Pharmacy, has been implicated in a steroids investigation run by Albany County (N.Y.) District Attorney P. David Soares, which has resulted in 22 indictments and several Florida clinic raids."

Posted by: nativedc | December 20, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe management knows a little more about moves to be made then posters on this board do.

To know whether that was true, you'd have to know more than the posters and also than management so you could make the judgment. But then, you'd probably be doing something else for a living.

Posted by: markfromark | December 20, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

>>Maybe management knows a little more about moves to be made then posters on this board do.

6 last place finishes sez a one handed monkey knows more than this management.

>>The New York Daily News reported Friday that Ankiel received a 12-month supply of human growth hormone in 2004 from a Florida pharmacy that was part of a national illegal prescription drug-distribution operation, citing records its reporters saw.

Talk about Rizzo's HIGH character guys.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 20, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Just what we need, another friggin' outfielder who hasn't hit squat since they suspended him for 'roids.

Nice move, Mike. Worthless giveaway of a million bucks.

How's the search for starting pitching going, lol?

Posted by: howjensen | December 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

We do need late inning defense in the outfield, desperately, so he is a nice fit. If he can pinch hit, he will always be lurking to pinch it for almost anyone in the lineup when a tough righty comes in from the bullpen, too. Something we have never had, a good pinch hitter with power from the left side.

Posted by: paulkp | December 20, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

This is already an upgrade over Morgan in center.

Posted by: egoodman8 | December 21, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

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