Well, well, well. The Houston Astros finally added another outfielder to the mix and it's a very interesting name indeed. Brian McTaggart is reporting that the Astros have extended a non-roster invite to Rick Ankiel, the former pitcher turned outfielder who started out with the Cardinals but most recently played with the Washington Nationals.
Ankiel hit .228/.282/.411 last season in 171 plate appearances for the Nationals. He hit five home runs and had 17 extra-base hits while striking out 59 times and walking 12 times. One of Ankiel's strengths since moving to the outfield has been his defensive ability, as he possesses a good arm and moves fairly well. Last season, he had a negative Fielding Runs total in a small number of innings, but is generally positive in that area. For his career, Ankiel has a plus-20 Defensive Runs Scored for just his arm.
This signing reminds me a lot of Travis Buck, giving Houston an outfield arm to compete with the Martinii who provides some skills they don't have on the roster. Ankiel could start in a pinch in right field and be a good Brian Bogusevic clone out there while giving Houston some pop off the bench.
Still, there's a bigger than zero chance that Ankiel will not make this team and could be cut during spring training or decide to stick with Houston in Oklahoma City.
What do you think? Was this the kind of addition you wanted for the outfield? Are you sad like me that Austin Kearns resigned with the Marlins instead of coming here? Do you hold any animosity towards Ankiel for his time with the Cards?