The Nationals sign Rick Ankiel

4 Comments

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.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.