They’ve let Adam Dunn walk and have traded Josh Willingham. They signed Jayson Werth to a mega-deal that he will never come close to justifying. Now the Nationals have signed Rick Ankiel to a deal. To play outfield, not to pitch. At least if it was to pitch it would be an interesting and potentially inspiring story. Asking him to be the everyday left fielder is neither of those things and just adds to the curiousness of the Nationals’ 2010-11 offseason.
It’s not a ton of money — Ankiel will only get $1.5 million and the chance for another million and change in performance bonuses — but aside from that one pretty damn spiffy playoff home run he hit into McCovey Cove back in October, he hasn’t shown himself to be useful in a couple of years now. Not even to a last place team like the Nats.
Query: what’s wrong with Mike Morse? In 98 games last year Morse hit .289/.352/.519 playing in right and at first base. Can he not handle left field? If the Nationals do end up signing Derrek Lee, he has no position at all. If the Nats are truly going to make him a bench player, I’m sure there are a lot of teams who would be interested in stealing him away.
The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.
Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.
Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.