A day that I that would have come much later than this early on, but Rick Ankiel was designated for assignment, along with Fernando Martinez, by the Houston Astros, and I feel this may be Ankiel’s final hurrah. Both players were hitting below the Mendoza Line (.200 BA in layman’s terms), Ankiel hitting five home runs and took only one walk in 65 plate appearances, and shockingly, he struck out a total of 35 times. Ankiel won the hearts of a few Astros fans early on in the Spring, captivating plenty more, including myself, with his Opening Night home run en route to defeat the Texas Rangers, but it has been all down hill for Ankiel and the Astros alike since that beloved Opening Night.
Ankiel’s story alone can win your heart and have you become a fan of his. I wrote about him earning a spot with the Astros back in March about he could bring good to the Astros clubhouse; unfortunately I do not have access to the Astros clubhouse and cannot see his interactions with the other 24 guys on the team, but it seemed that he had found a niche in Houston. His struggles at the plate in recent years would continue, and ultimately, is the cause for his departure from Houston, as much as it pains me to see him have to leave, but I’m extremely glad he was able to make the club despite it being so short lived. I was hoping he could have a resurgence, a very miniscule one, in Houston and become an anchor on the Astros roster, a gritty veteran presence would have been an extremely good influence for the young Astros. I’m still hoping for Ankiel to find a way to revitalize his Major League career, despite being over 30 years old, but I fear his bat, or lack thereof, and his defensive liability may turn teams off to claiming him.
Ankiel, Martinez, and Brandon Laird will all be replaced by Tyler Crowe, Jimmy Paredes, and JD Martinez who is coming back off a rehab assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi. Crowe hit .300 with two homers, 14 RBIs and a team-leading 11 stolen bases in 29 games for Oklahoma City, Paredes leads the RedHawks with a .376 average in 29 games this season, and JD hit .300 in five games, a home run, five RBI and a .550 slugging pct. He appeared in 14 games (12 starts) for the Astros prior to going on the DL. Paredes, who has made starts at third base and in right field for the RedHawks this season, has also posted a .444 on-base-pct., drawing 14 walks in 29 games. He drew 22 walks in 124 games for the RedHawks in 2012. I’m all for these roster moves, and it’s best to make a change when obviously, the way they are playing right now simple is not getting it done, and weeding out the “duds” will only improve the team and help speed up the process of the rebuilding.
– Richard Perez