Earlier this week Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch passed along a rumor that Rick Ankiel “is open to giving pitching one last shot since his market as a position player appears minimal.”
Not so fast, says Ankiel’s agent, Scott Boras (via Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports): “Rick Ankiel is a position player. He’s not pitching.”
We’ll see whether Boras and Ankiel change their minds if the market for him as an outfielder proves extremely weak, as expected. Ankiel has basically had one good full season as a hitter, back in 2008, and since then he’s hit just .234 with a .295 on-base percentage and .383 slugging percentage in 386 games.
At age 33 it’s hard to imagine any team giving him more than a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training as an outfielder.
The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.
However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”
Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.
Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.
Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.
No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.