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.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.