Rick Ankiel Rumors
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.
It was on this day in 1961 that commissioner Ford Frick suggested that "a distinctive mark" would be placed on a new home run record if a player eclipsed Babe Ruth's then-record of 60 homers in more than 154 games (the length of Ruth's season in 1927). Though no such notation ever used in any sort of official record, it was still popularly believed that Frick and Major League Baseball had asterisked Roger Maris' 61-homer season.
Here's the latest from Yankee Stadium...
- The Yankees don't have interest in Juan Pierre or Rick Ankiel, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter links). The Bombers' search for outfield help will intensify with the news that Brett Gardner will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery, though Gardner's agent Joe Bick says Gardner still hopes to return this season, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- Wandy Rodriguez is "not even on [the Yankees'] radar," a source tells Marc Carig (Twitter link). The Yankees reportedly had scouts on hand to watch Rodriguez pitch on Wednesday.
- The Yankees have released right-hander Nelson Figueroa, according to Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune (passed on by Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog). Figueroa, 38, signed a minor league deal with New York in April and had a 3.96 ERA in 17 Triple-A games, nine of them starts.
- Darnell McDonald has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, reports Collins. The Yankees designated McDonald for assignment on Tuesday to create roster space for C.C. Sabathia's return from the disabled list.
On average, the ten teams in baseball's two East divisions are four games over .500. Here’s the latest from the two divisions...
- Rays president Matt Silverman says MLB needs to make significant changes to its economic structure, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. “We have advocated for meaningful change, especially when it comes to addressing the dramatic imbalances in our game,” Silverman said. “Meaningful change has not occurred.” The Rays were one of two eligible teams that didn’t obtain an additional draft pick in yesterday’s competitive balance lottery. Silverman called the picks “trifling.”
- The Tigers have barely obtained any offensive production from second base this year, so John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press discusses the possibility of a reunion with Omar Infante in light of yesterday's report linking the Tigers to the Marlins infielder.
- The Nationals recently asked a Mets person if they'd have interest in Rick Ankiel, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The Nationals believe the recently-designated Ankiel is a Major League caliber player and they expect him to be picked up by another club, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Peter Gammons of MLB Network suggests on Twitter that Ankiel would be a "great fit" for the Yankees.
- Jamie Moyer intends to continue pitching, Tom Mahon of the Philadelphia Daily News reports. "I'm not retired," Moyer said, adding that his agent is working to find a fit for him. Moyer, 49, has been a free agent since the Blue Jays released him two weeks ago.