Free Agent Stock Watch: Rick Ankiel

The Royals signed outfielder Rick Ankiel to a one-year, $3.25MM deal in January.  I liked the contract, thinking the Royals could extract some value out of him at the trade deadline.  GM Dayton Moore succeeded on that front, pairing Ankiel with Kyle Farnsworth and cash to acquire Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, and Tim Collins from the Braves.  Ankiel has a $6MM mutual option for 2011.  The Braves are likely to choose the $500K buyout, making Ankiel a free agent.  Let's examine his situation.

The Pros

  • Ankiel's power returned in his 101 plate appearance stint with Kansas City.  He slugged .467 with 11 extra-base hits.
  • He hit a respectable .256/.339/.462 in 177 plate appearances against righties this year.
  • The sample was small, but Ankiel's 10.8% walk rate this year was a career best.
  • He's capable of playing all three outfield positions.
  • Ankiel is likely to sign another one-year deal at a lower base salary.

The Cons

  • Ankiel was terrible with the Braves and has never been good at getting on base.
  • Ankiel fares poorly against lefties.
  • He can't stay healthy.  This year a quad strain limited him to 74 games.
  • Ankiel is not much of a defensive center fielder, based on UZR.
  • He's represented by Scott Boras, so his price could be inflated despite the poor season.

The Verdict

When healthy, Ankiel provides some pop against righties.  It'd be difficult to guarantee him more than a million bucks, and you could argue that the deals signed by Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, and Corey Patterson are the best comparables.  Ankiel will have to earn his playing time in 2011.

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16 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Rick Ankiel"

4 years 10 months ago

Let him platoon with Jeff Francouer for someone. That could possibly be a productive combo in one of the outfield corners

4 years 10 months ago

You know, this year has been quite a roller coaster for Jesse Chavez. Traded from a team that was no where near contending to a team who could contend in the playoffs, traded again to a team that was fighting for a playoff spot, and finally back to a team no where near contending.

4 years 10 months ago

He shouldn’t have to worry about his free agent stock. According to Boras he is as good as Mickey Mantle.

4 years 10 months ago

Complimentary player, nothing more. Platoon him a bit. His best bet is to go to a team with a manager who is savvy in playing the matchups (LaRussa, Maddon, etc.).

4 years 10 months ago

pro: strongest throwing arm in the game right now :)

4 years 10 months ago

However, not too accurate.

4 years 10 months ago

I disagree, i didnt see many errant throws this year, unless your talking about when he pitches.. then yeah..

4 years 10 months ago

I think Jay Bruce might have hm beat. Have you saw Jay throw from right? runners never test his arm its strong and accurate

4 years 10 months ago

Shin Soo Choo has an absolute cannon, and he could locate a beach ball through a pin hole

4 years 10 months ago

Vladimir Guerrero would have them all beat in his days as an Angel in RF.

4 years 10 months ago

UZR seems faulty here. Ankiel was the Braves best defensive outfielder that is why he even played. He would be a solid 4th outfielder to platoon.

4 years 10 months ago

Ankiel has a lot of speed but I don’t think he understands what kind of player he is. He tries to murder the ball every time he swings the bat. I’m not sure he ever sees the pitches he swings at. If he took a more ichiroesque approach at the plate, put the ball in play, or hits the ball on the ground, and used his speed to get on base he could be a very valuable leadoff type hitter. He generates serious bat speed as well, but it is wasted because he can’t make contact.

4 years 10 months ago

Agreed.. his approach is so terrible, he trys to pull everything, and his backfoot ends up behind the plate. He almost looks as clueless as Melky swinging.

4 years 10 months ago

I for one hope he stays with the Braves…he has a cannon for an arm and is deadly accurate. He also just seemed to start having good contact with the ball and was the best defensive outfielder for the Braves. Hopefully he’ll be in a Braves uniform again next year and stay healthy for the season so we can see what he can really do.

4 years 10 months ago

Ankiel needs to be in the AL. Not that his defense is that bad, at least his arm is good, but not playing the field might help keep him healthy enough to play a full season. His bat has regressed, or at least hasn’t approached his 2008 levels again, but considering he’s a transplanted pitcher I think it’s safe to say that 2008 was the outlier and we’re now seeing his true ability as a hitter.

4 years 10 months ago

Ankiel will have to earn his playing time in 2011. Part – time, earning part – time in 2011.