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The Nationals sign Rick Ankiel

Dec 20, 2010, 12:14 PM EDT

Ankiel splashdown

They’ve let Adam Dunn walk and have traded Josh Willingham.  They signed Jayson Werth to a mega-deal that he will never come close to justifying. Now the Nationals have signed Rick Ankiel to a deal.  To play outfield, not to pitch. At least if it was to pitch it would be an interesting and potentially inspiring story.  Asking him to be the everyday left fielder is neither of those things and just adds to the curiousness of the Nationals’ 2010-11 offseason.

It’s not a ton of money — Ankiel will only get $1.5 million and the chance for another million and change in performance bonuses — but aside from that one pretty damn spiffy playoff home run he hit into McCovey Cove back in October, he hasn’t shown himself to be useful in a couple of years now. Not even to a last place team like the Nats.

Query: what’s wrong with Mike Morse?  In 98 games last year Morse hit .289/.352/.519 playing in right and at first base.  Can he not handle left field?  If the Nationals do end up signing Derrek Lee, he has no position at all.  If the Nats are truly going to make him a bench player, I’m sure there are a lot of teams who would be interested in stealing him away.

  1. BC - Dec 20, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Maybe they make Ankiel the bench player?

  2. woodenulykteneau - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    They’re not asking him to *be* the everyday LF. They’re asking him to *compete* for the job with Roger Bernadina. Werth and Zimmerman are the only assured starting position players. Every other spot is up for grabs.

  3. spudchukar - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    What’s wrong with Mike Morse? He bats right-handed.

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    I’d put Ankiel at 1B as late Bing Devine once suggested. It’s harder to get hurt in the field at 1B.

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