Yesterday afternoon, it was reported by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that the Mets are diligently monitoring the left-handed hitting outfield market; which includes names such as Johnny Damon, Kosuke Fukudome, Rick Ankiel, Raul Ibanez and Juan Pierre.
All things considered, the name that intrigues me the most is Rick Ankiel. Ankiel may never hit for a high average, but he could provide some pop off the bench. His real value, however, would be defensively; which was described to me as “jaw-dropping” by one Nationals fan. He can play all three outfield positions and the former pitcher has, arguable, the best outfield arm in baseball; as Mets fans may remember from last season when he gunned Josh Thole out at the plate. And so, in my opinion, he would make the perfect fourth outfielder/left handed hitter off the bench.
Adam Kilgore, who covers the Nationals for the Washington Post, had the following to say about Ankiel back in November:
Well-liked by teammates, Ankiel became part of the clubhouse’s bedrock. He played frequently exhilarating defense, changing several games with his arm, perhaps the strongest outfield arm in baseball. Fighting injuries and sometimes inconsistent playing time, Ankiel endured some dismal stretches at the plate. But he could also get hot – from the start of July through mid-August, Ankiel hit .320 and blasted a home run once every 17 at-bats”
The 32-year-old free agent hit .239 with nine home runs and 37 runs batted in over 380 at-bats for the Washington Nationals in 2011. Ankiel made $1.5 million on a one-year deal last season.
To read Kilgore’s entire post on Ankiel, click here.