Astros release outfielder Rick Ankiel

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This hardly comes as a surprise, but Sara Eckert of CSNHouston.com reports that the Astros have officially released outfielder Rick Ankiel.

Ankiel was designated for assignment earlier this week as part of a mini-roster shakeup and passed through waivers unclaimed. While the 33-year-old outfielder ranked second on the Astros with five home runs, he was batting just .194 with a .234 on-base percentage and had a miserable 35/3 K/BB ratio in 65 plate appearances. That’s a strikeout rate of 53.8 percent. Yikes.

That Ankiel was dumped by the worst team in the American League doesn’t bode well for his chances of finding an opportunity elsewhere. Still, he’s had a heck of a career for someone who appeared done in his early 20s.

Mets sign reliever Anthony Swarzak

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Marc Carig of Newsday reports that the Mets have signed reliever Anthony Swarzak. It’s a two-year, $14 million deal, pending a physical.

Swarzak is an eight-year big league veteran who pitched for the White Sox and Brewers in 2017, posting a 2.33 ERA in 70 games. The righty struck out 10.6 batters per nine innings while walking 2.6. It was a really nice year and he’s a really nice pickup for the Mets, even if he is a fallback choice after they failed to sign Bryan Shaw.