The Nationals sign Rick Ankiel

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They’ve let Adam Dunn walk and have traded Josh Willingham.  They signed Jayson Werth to a mega-deal that he will never come close to justifying. Now the Nationals have signed Rick Ankiel to a deal.  To play outfield, not to pitch. At least if it was to pitch it would be an interesting and potentially inspiring story.  Asking him to be the everyday left fielder is neither of those things and just adds to the curiousness of the Nationals’ 2010-11 offseason.

It’s not a ton of money — Ankiel will only get $1.5 million and the chance for another million and change in performance bonuses — but aside from that one pretty damn spiffy playoff home run he hit into McCovey Cove back in October, he hasn’t shown himself to be useful in a couple of years now. Not even to a last place team like the Nats.

Query: what’s wrong with Mike Morse?  In 98 games last year Morse hit .289/.352/.519 playing in right and at first base.  Can he not handle left field?  If the Nationals do end up signing Derrek Lee, he has no position at all.  If the Nats are truly going to make him a bench player, I’m sure there are a lot of teams who would be interested in stealing him away.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.