Rick Ankiel has elected to become a free agent again after being designated for assignment by the Mets last week.
Ankiel has now been let go by two of the five worst teams (Astros, Mets) in baseball this season while hitting .188 with 60 strikeouts in 136 trips to the plate. He’s a helluva story and universally well-liked around baseball, but Ankiel is 33 years old and hasn’t topped a .725 OPS since 2008.
Since moving from pitcher to outfielder in 2007 he’s appeared in 598 games for six different teams while hitting a combined .242 with a .304 on-base percentage and .424 slugging percentage.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.