Common sense prevailed and the Cardinals have signed Rick Ankiel to a $2.825-million, one-year contract, narrowly avoiding the team's first arbitration hearing in nine years.
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Seriously, what sense would it have made to sit across the table from a guy who has been in the Cardinals system for a decade and beat him up to try to save a little money? Especially when the Redbirds are well below their budget cap...?
It's smart for the team not only to avoid the hard feelings, but also to avoid the distinct possibility that it would have lost. The $3.3 million Ankiel wanted is not unreasonable for a guy who cracked 25 homers, regardless of if he has only been an outfielder for two years. And I still think the Cardinals would be well served to offer Ankiel a three-year deal in the range of the deal Juan Encarnacion completed last season. Ankiel hit almost as many homers last season as Encarnacion did in his three years in St. Louis. Ank's production totals last season were nearly identical to Encarnacion's first -- and best -- season here. And that was in an abbreviated year. So it would seem that he offers nothing but upside to Encarnacion...
Hopefully they'll show the same sense with fellow outfielder Ryan Ludwick and hammer out a deal before his arbitration hearing next week.
The life long Cardinal: Rick Ankiel in little league