Everybody knows that Rick Ankiel is at a crossroads in his career. Who would have thought that he could actually come to a crossroads when his career looked more like Highway 1? What could possibly be going through his mind during the 2009 season? Does he take the money and run to the highest bidder after the 2009 season (depending on how his season goes)? Hometown discount for all the years the Cardinals stuck by his side and let him revive his career as on outfielder? Do we trade him at the trade deadline? There are a few possibilities floating out there to say the least. I would love for Rick to stay in a Cardinals uniform, but then you have to look at The Kid (Colby Rasmus) who is on the cusp of making the big league roster this year. I think the decision will become clearer as soon as we see Rasmus play and see what he can do. If it looks like he can hit and handle his own at the ML level and that his future is as bright as ever, then we should explore the opportunity to trade Ankiel because we already have our answer in house. I hate thinking about Ankiel playing in a different city, with a different uniform on, but as they all know and as we all know, baseball is a business and even the players have to look out for whats best for themselves as well as their families.
Rick Ankiel has definitely exceeded expectations on what his abilities are as an outfielder. There were some skeptics at the beginning of his comeback, but I was there that night when he hit his first home run as a Cardinal Outfielder and you could just tell he was going to be able to hold his own. Jim Edmonds said that he was not surprised at all because they used to see Rick do all of the things that he is great at during batting practice and while taking fly balls in the outfield and we saw him hit a few home runs as a pitcher too. Are we surprised at his freak-like abilities helping him become of the top Centerfielders in the National League? Absolutely not. Should we be surprised on what sort of situation we could be in because of this? Absolutely. We could trade Rick and finally get what we have always wanted: Young, top of the rotation type prospects. But what if we try to keep him. What will it cost? Do we try to resign him to a possible 3 year, 27 million dollar deal in September? Is that too much? If he hits .280+, 25 + home runs and 90+ Rbi's he is definitely worth it. But what if Duncan hits 25+, Mather holds his own and proves to us that he can hit ML pitching and Rasmus has a great year, would Rick's absence be that big of a loss when we have two to three other capable OF's to make up for his slack? I am way too interested to see what happens with him because we will have to wait until the middle of the season, but that is still a few months away. Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors.com said that Rick Ankiel is the second most intriguing name on the trade market behind Roy Halladay. Now if that doesnt tell you on what his potential value might be, then I dont know what else to tell you, but no matter how you look at it, we are in a win-win situation. What do you think?