Cheap Seats

Ankiel left job hunting by Cubs

Chicago's signing of Marlon Byrd is probably bad news for free agent outfielder Rick Ankiel.

The career Cardinal is looking for a starting job as an outfielder and the Cubs were said to have interest. But Byrd, who inked a three-year deal for $15 million, will take over in center at Wrigley Field in 2010.

Ankiel made a big splash in 2008 when he successfully made the transition from pitcher to slugging fly chaser. But his troubles staying healthy and being consistent at the plate seemingly have inspired St. Louis to move on.

The Pirates are said to have interest in Ankiel. While a deal with Pittsburgh isn't going to be for big bucks, it could help Ankiel drive up his stock and earn a better contract in the future. He needs to be a starter to develop his stroke. So it is unlikely there will be a reunion with the Cardinals where the best he could hope for would be a bench spot.