Rick Ankiel says he would consider pitching again. Here are his comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I keep thinking when I can’t run any more and I still want to be in
the game, maybe I’ll give [pitching] a shot. For now,
I’m an outfielder and that’s how I look at it.”
Stranger things have happened, I suppose. Minnie Minoso got a base hit when he was 50. A high school baseball coach pitched relief for the Devil Rays. Corey Patterson and Gary Matthews Jr. keep finding work. Ankiel could pitch one day I guess. For someone. I just hope that if he really does want to pitch again he doesn’t wait for a time when he “can’t run anymore.” After all, if a pitcher’s legs go, he’s not that useful anymore.
Anyway, what happened to Ankiel the pitcher makes me sad to this day. It’s a fantasy, I know, but I think it would be great to see him throwing junk to some minor leaguers when he’s 40 if such a thing would give him a sense of career satisfaction or closure or whatever.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.