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Royals Reportedly Sign Rick Ankiel

According to Tim Brown at Yahoo, the Royals have signed Rick Ankiel to a one year deal with an option for 2011. (h/t to Schaum from everyone, who has been all over this)

Brown reports that the deal is $3.25 million for 2010, with a mutual option for 2011, for $6 million.

Umm, what?

No really, what?

Remember when the rumor was that the Royals were considering Rick Ankiel, Scotty Pods and Randy Winn. That was incorrect: they are considering all of them, to comprise in sum the 2010 outfield. When Dayton signed Brian Anderson, we assumed that that meant no Scotty Pods. When he signed Pods, we assumed no Ankiel/Winn/anyone else.

Obviously, our ability to understand Dayton was even lower than previously thought. Just remember that when we all start trying to figure out what this means. It likely means something, yes, but something from the mind of one of baseball's weirdest GMs. Ya think Fields is a goner? You think this means the end of Guillen? You think this means DeJesus is outta here? Maybe... maybe not.

Oh, and why?

The (reported) 2011 mutual option is just classic Dayton. Well, a lot about this is classic Dayton: Ankiel was born in the 1970s, posted an OBP under .290 for a full season in '09, Ankiel is a tremendous athlete etc.)

When we were originally talking about this, I liked Ankiel as an alternative to Pods: he potentially has a different game and might have a bounceback in him. A part of me still feels that way. From the early responses, here and elsewhere, I can see that many of you are willing to dream a little with Ankiel, and I do understand that.

Still, man, this is kinda a weird one. I don't mind the 2010 part of this contract, but the 2011 option just stands out as unnecessary. And by that I mean dumb. There is a not insignificant chance that Ankiel is close to done as a player andin that case the Royals are going to be on the hook for 2011 as well. These are not minor details here. Not when it's January 20th and I'm not sure who we're bidding against.

(update: many are saying that the mutual option means the Royals will have an opportunity to decline, which makes a large difference and is not dumb)

Or, the option could be clarified to mean something different. I'm not sure we know yet. Maybe it's vesting based on playing time? Who knows.

Stay tuned.