If the Yankees sign a left-handed outfielder who’s name is not Johnny Damon, this blog might explode. And so it is with great relief that I write these words: Rick Ankiel has signed with the Royals.
Ankiel’s power might have played well in Yankee Stadium, but he never seemed to be the kind of guy Brian Cashman was after. Especially not after the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson. Ankiel’s signing in Kansas City does, however, finally gives us a glimpse of the current outfield market.
Ankiel signed for one year, $2.75 million. That figure jumps to $3.25 million guaranteed because there is an option for a second year — at $6 million — with a $500,000 buyout. That’s the going rate for a guy who hit .231 with 11 home runs last year (.264 with 25 home runs the year before). The base salary is roughly the exact same as last season, when Ankiel made $2.8 million in St. Louis.
Although Ankiel doesn’t fit the Yankees plans, he does have similar numbers to Marcus Thames, who does fit the profile of a right-handed outfielder who could play regularly against lefties.
The past three seasons…
Ankiel: 289 games, 47 HR, .255/.315/.465
Thames: 276 games, 56 HR, .244/.298/.491
It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s fairly close (Thames made $2.275 million last season). If the Yankees are in the market for a Thames-type outfielder, Ankiel’s contract might give some idea of how much it would cost to sign that deal right now.