The New York Mets, are desperate to find help in their outfield, signed Rick Ankiel to a major league contract. The team has already inserted him into the starting lineup, as Ankiel will bat seventh and play center field against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
After the deal was signed, the Mets optioned outfielder Andrew Brown to Triple-A Las Vegas. Ankiel, who signed a contract with the Houston Astros before the 2013 season, was released after playing a total of 25 games. He was batting .194 with five home runs and 11 RBI in 62 at-bats. However, Ankiel also struck out an eye-popping 35 times, more than half his plate appearances.
“We’re hoping he helps us out,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Obviously, he’s a great defensive outfielder. Makeup off the charts.” (ESPN)
Collins also added that Ankiel will platoon with Juan Lagares in center until further changes. Ankiel, who is a left-handed batter, will likely get most of the starts against right-handed pitchers, and Lagares the opposite.
The Mets started the season with outfielders Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd, Collin Cowgill, Jordany Valdespin, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Mike Baxter. The team moved Cowgill and Nieuwenhuis to Triple-A, while calling up Lagares and now signing Ankiel, trying to fix their outfield woes.
There’s no doubt that the Mets still have a lot of holes to fill and their outfield isn’t nearly perfect, but bringing in Ankiel could spark some offense. When the outfielder isn’t striking out, he has a lot to offer, including power.