Rick Ankiel Rumors
As has been previously discussed on MLBTR, Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.
Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.
MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is tomorrow at 12:00pm ET (11:00am CT). In other words, by tomorrow afternoon teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:
- Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
- Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
- Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline.
Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top)...
- Rangers manager Ron Washington informed infielder Jeff Baker that he has made the Opening Day roster, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
- The Indians announced that Jason Giambi has made the roster but will open the season on the 15-day disabled list with a back strain. Ezequiel Carrera was designated for assignment in order to clear room on the roster.
- The Mariners announced via press release that they have added Kameron Loe to the 25-man roster and transferred Josh Kinney to the 60-day disabled list to create space.
- Smith also tweets that Rick Ankiel is expected to make the team as the everyday right fielder, meaning Houston will have to make a 40-man roster move. Ankiel's base salary will be $750K, and his contract includes incentives based on plate appearances.
- LaTroy Hawkins has been informed that he will make the Mets' 25-man roster, writes ESPN's Adam Rubin. The Mets currently have an open spot on their 40-man roster, meaning no corresponding move would have to be made. Hawkins will earn a base salary of approximately $1MM for making the team.
- Pedro Feliciano, another Mets non-roster invitee, is still deciding whether or not to opt out of his contract or take his $100K bonus and report to Triple-A, Rubin tweets. Feliciano was told he would not make the Mets' roster yesterday.
- Red Sox bench hopeful Lyle Overbay says he has "no idea" as to whether or not the team will add him to the 25-man roster, according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber (Twitter link). Overbay has plenty on the line, as he'll earn $1.25MM (with $250K more available via incentives) if he makes the Opening Day roster.
Ivan Rodriguez has been hired by the Rangers as a special assistant to the general manager, the team announced today. "Pudge" spent 13 of his 20 Major League seasons as a Ranger and will now serve the organization as a scout, organizational instructor and ambassador. Here are some more items from around the AL West...
- Scott Downs wants to remain with the Angels and the southpaw tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he would be willing to negotiate an extension during the season. Downs' representatives at CAA have told the Angels' front office about their client's wishes but have yet to get a response. Downs turns 37 in March and has pitched very well in Anaheim, posting a 2.17 ERA over 99 1/3 innings in his first two years of his three-year, $15MM contract. He turns 37 in March, however, and Gonzalez speculates that the Angels may let Downs go since Sean Burnett and Nick Maronde are in the fold as left-handed bullpen options.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels spoke with Dallas Morning News readers about the team's offseason moves, international signings, the current Texas roster and more in a live chat today.
- The Athletics have received tentative guidelines from the Commissioner's Office regarding a possible move to San Jose, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. This isn't necessarily a sign that the A's will be allowed to move, Shaikin notes, though if the team can comply with these guidelines, it could prompt Bud Selig to put the matter of the proposed move to a vote of the other league owners. MLB has been studying the Athletics' proposed San Jose relocation for four years, and the Giants are known to oppose the move on the grounds that it infringes on their territorial rights.
- Rick Ankiel will make $750K if he makes the Astros' Opening Day roster, plus a few small bonuses based on plate appearances, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Houston signed the veteran outfielder to a minor league contract in January.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has been the subject of trade rumors all winter, but the veteran isn't buying into the notion that he'll be playing elsewhere come Opening Day, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. “I haven’t looked too much into it,” Ethier said. “It’s something I see as rumors. I think Ned was pretty quick to say there was nothing to it. That was enough to ease my mind, even though obviously there was a lot following that."
Here's the latest news and headlines from both the AL and NL West...
- The Mariners and Rangers both had discussions with Shaun Marcum before the veteran elected to sign with the Mets, writes Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com (via Twitter). As a result, each team remains in the hunt for starting pitching.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has some regrets for trading Justin Ruggiano to the Marlins last spring, but likes the player he received in Jobduan Morales, says Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- Houston manager Bo Porter believes Rick Ankiel will make the big league roster out of Spring Training if he can play up to his potential, writes Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com. “He will add leadership. He will add a veteran presence in the lineup. You look at his ability to play defense, I watched him make some throws and make some catches that make you shake your head. This guy’s phenomenal.”
We've seen a couple of Minor League signings in the AL West tonight, with the Astros adding Erik Bedard and the Rangers adding Nate Robertson. Here's some more news coming out of baseball's two western divisions...
- The Rockies have offered Yorvit Torrealba a Minor League contract, according to MLB.com's Thomas Harding (via Troy Renck on Twitter). Torrealba hit .227/.293/.330 in 218 plate appearances between the Rangers, Blue Jays and Brewers. He hit .258/.316/.394 over the course of four seasons with the Rox from 2006-09.
- Renck believes that the Rockies have a good chance at landing Carl Pavano, but suspects that the veteran righty has at least one other offer (Twitter link). Colorado is said to be aggressively pursuing Pavano.
- There's a "definite opportunity" for Rick Ankiel to make the Astros' 25-man roster this Spring, manager Bo Porter told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. The team is looking for a left-handed complement to J.D. Martinez and Justin Maxwell. Ankiel inked a Minor League deal with Houston earlier this month. Porter was his third base coach with the Nationals.
- In that same piece, Porter says that he spoke with recently suspended prospect Jonathan Singleton and told Singleton the organization is behind him as he looks to atone for his mistake.
The Astros have signed Rick Ankiel to a contract that will bring him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The 33-year-old is represented by Scott Boras.
Ankiel will be entering camp as a hitter and isn't eyeing a return to the mound, as Boras explained back in November. The deal reunites the veteran with manager Bo Porter, who was in Washington during Ankiel's time there. Ankiel also has a history with General Manager Jeff Luhnow from his playing days with the Cardinals.
In the previous two seasons with the Nationals, Ankiel has posted a .236/.292/.377 slash line with 14 homers. Since returning to baseball as an outfielder in 2007, Ankiel has hit .246 .309/.428 for the Cardinals, Royals, Braves, and Nats.
Links from around MLB on the day teams must decide whether to make qualifying offers to departing free agents...
- The Yankees like Russell Martin very much and are hoping to re-sign him as a free agent this offseason, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Pirates, Rangers and Mariners could all spend on catching this offseason. While the Mets need catching, they seem likely to pursue trades in Heyman’s view.
- Agent Scott Boras said there’s no chance of Rick Ankiel returning to the mound, Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). “He's not pitching," Boras said. It was reported yesterday that Ankiel might be open to pitching again.
- The White Sox announced that they promoted former MLB manager and player Buddy Bell to the role of vice president/assistant GM. Bell, 61, played from 1972-88, then managed the Tigers, Rockies and Royals.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs provides a guide to the top 25 values available in free agency this offseason, complete with a look at five players teams might want to avoid. Within the piece, which is well worth your time, Cameron explains that Delmon Young has essentially become a platoon bat, and argues that Maicer Izturis could bounce back in 2013. Be sure to check out MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents if you haven't done so already.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Tim Dierkes’ list of the top 50 free agents for the upcoming offseason. The list includes Tim’s predictions for each player, and we’d like you to join us in predicting the destinations for the top 50 free agents. You can make your picks here. Now for this afternoon’s links...
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears Rick Ankiel is open to giving pitching another shot. The Cardinals could be among the teams willing to give Ankiel another chance on the mound. Ankiel pitched for the Cardinals from 1999-2004, putting together a strong season as a 20-year-old in 2000. He returned to the big leagues as a hitter in 2007.
- The Cubs have been in contact with Ryan Dempster’s agent about the possibility of a contract, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The Cubs traded the LSW baseball client to the Rangers midseason and he’s now a free agent (he can't sign with a team other than Texas until Saturday).
- Catcher J.R. Towles left Hendricks Sports for agent Burton Rocks, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Our Agency Database has current information on the agents of most MLB players.
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com hears word that Michael Bourn could be looking for as much as $100MM in free agency. The Phillies would probably be reluctant to spend that kind of money on a 30-year-old player who relies heavily on his legs, Salisbury writes.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports previews the destinations for a number of the offseason’s top free agents.
Ankiel, 33, signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with Washington this past offseason. He appeared in 68 games as the Nationals' center fielder and posted a .228/.282/.411 batting line with five home runs in 171 plate appearances. The Yankees had some interest in Ankiel before acquiring Ichiro Suzuki.
The Rangers head into their Sunday night matchup against the Angels with an ailing starting rotation. The Rangers have scratched Roy Oswalt from his start tomorrow and Colby Lewis is scheduled to have his forearm examined tomorrow before he's given the green light to make his scheduled start on Tuesday. The Rangers don't believe Oswalt's injury is serious, but he and Lewis can both wind up on the disabled list, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Elsewhere from the AL and NL West:
- Despite their rotation woes, the Rangers' chief trade deadline goal is to add bench depth, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- With the signing of Carlos Quentin completed earlier today, the Padres are now turning their attention to closer Huston Street. Miller tweets talks are ongoing, but nothing is close right now.
- The Giants are not considering Rick Ankiel to fill their need for a power bat off the bench, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Baggarly says the Giants crave a right-handed bat at both corner infield spots and the outfield.
- Add the A's to the list of team interested in the Padres' Chase Headley, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney.
The Yankees have some interest in picking up Rick Ankiel according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post (on Twitter). Earlier this week we heard that they didn't have any interest in the outfielder, but Brett Gardner is out for the year with an elbow issue and Nick Swisher left last night's game with a leg problem.
Ankiel, 33, was designated for assignment by the Nationals a few days ago. He hit .228/.282/.411 with five homers in 171 plate appearances this season, including .237/.299/.437 in 148 plate appearances against righties. Ankiel signed a one-year deal worth $1.25MM with Washington this past offseason.