Rick Ankiel has elected to become a free agent again after being designated for assignment by the Mets last week.
Ankiel has now been let go by two of the five worst teams (Astros, Mets) in baseball this season while hitting .188 with 60 strikeouts in 136 trips to the plate. He’s a helluva story and universally well-liked around baseball, but Ankiel is 33 years old and hasn’t topped a .725 OPS since 2008.
Since moving from pitcher to outfielder in 2007 he’s appeared in 598 games for six different teams while hitting a combined .242 with a .304 on-base percentage and .424 slugging percentage.
Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.
Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.
Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.