Royals ink Rick Ankiel to one-year contract

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ankiel smiling.JPGAccording to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals and outfielder Rick
Ankiel have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.25 million contract with a $6 million mutual option for 2011.

Scott Boras strikes again.  Ankiel seems like a fine human being and we should all applaud his transformation from headcase pitcher to homer-hitting outfielder, but his days as an effective everyday player are through.  The guy has far too many holes in his swing.  He hit just .231 last season with a .285 on-base percentage over 404 plate appearances and struck out 99 times.  Oh, and he turns 31 this season.  To add such a lucrative mutual option was silly, whether or not it’s ever exercised.

Let’s look on the bright side for just a minute, though.  Ankiel does boast one of the strongest throwing arms in the league and has compiled decent UZR/150 marks at the corner outfield positions.  He has also pieced together a .254/.324/.469 batting line against right-handed pitchers over the last three seasons.  If used correctly, maybe — just maybe — he can have a positive impact on the 2010 edition of the Kansas City Royals.  It’s not like that offense can get any worse.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.