In great news for people who like to see strikeouts and home runs, the Mets have signed Rick Ankiel to a major league deal. He is in tonight’s lineup; he’s going to platoon with Juan Lagares in center field, because… Ankiel or Lagares might be the center fielder of the future, or Jordany Valdespin should play less, or something.
Anyhow, Ankiel still has power, with five home runs in 65 plate appearances. He’s also a bit strikeout prone, with 35 in 65 plate appearances. 35! His once-great defense has become below average in center or right, where he played for the Astros this year. And the Astros released him.
You know why the Astros released him? Because they have young players they’d rather see during a rebuilding phase, and he’s not going to help much now. Why did the Mets sign him? Either they didn’t think they had young players worth seeing, they think he can help now, or both. Let me say I have my doubts about either proposition.
Oh, Toby Hyde says basically the same thing. Always comforting when I agree with him, and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t. I do think it is worth pointing out that the young players he mentions indisputably have more long-term potential than Ankiel, since he is 33. It is also worth pointing out that the Mets obviously don’t think it is much, because Ankiel is here.
There’s a bullpen joke here about the former pitcher, but if the Mets aren’t going to take the time to evaluate their youngish players at the major league level, I don’t think I have to put in the effort to make it.