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.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.