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.
It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.
That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.