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UCB Debate Day: Trade Ankiel

Posted on April 29, 2009 at 11:33 PM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals | United Cardinal Bloggers
I know I've been away from the blog the last few days.  Work and other things have conspired against me, and it may be this weekend before I get a chance to catch up.  Rest assured that Heroes and Goats will return soon.  Until then, I hope this will help tide you over!

Today is another United Cardinal Bloggers project day. This time, the UCB takes up different issues in Cardinal Nation and debates them across blogs. You can find the list of all the questions and debate matchups here.

The statement up for debate between me and Kathy of Redbird Chatter is that the Cardinals should try to trade Chris Duncan instead of Rick Ankiel. I will be taking the con side of this, stating that Ankiel should be the one traded.

This is a hard one for me. I've never been a huge Duncan supporter and I've been an Ankiel fan since before he came up in '99. If given a choice, I'd love to see Rick stay in Cardinal red for a long time to come. However, the four-outfielders-for-three-slots merry-go-round is starting to get old and the best way to relieve that situation is a trade.

There are two reasons why Ankiel is the better player to trade. One, he should bring back a higher return and two, he's a free agent at the end of the year.

While Ankiel has not had as strong of a 2009 as Duncan, he still would be an attractive target for a team, especially one with deep enough pockets to tempt Scott Boras out of his "must hit free agency" mindset. Ankiel is a center fielder with much more range and fielding ability than Duncan, he has a stronger offensive pedigree, and arguably has more upside than Duncan.

Teams get excited about athletic center fielders. Teams have limited first base/DH types somewhere in their system, though perhaps not to the level that Duncan is. Still, you have to think that, even with his impending free agency, Ankiel would bring more in return, especially if he is moved well before the trading deadline.

Wouldn't you rather have Duncan plus, say, Philip Hughes* versus Ankiel and a Double-A prospect? Which helps the team more this year?

*Note, all trade possibilities are constructs of my imagination and therefore are not necessarily realistic. Still, the principle holds.

Of course, while his pending free agency is a detriment to what the Cardinals might receive back in a trade, the fact that in a few months, he could walk away from the team with nothing to show for it is probably the biggest reason you move him now.

While it's possible that Ankiel might wind up as a Type A or B free agent, there are no guarantees of that. The extra draft picks would be nice, but getting tangible returns, something that could help you this year, would be nicer. To eliminate the risk and to maximize their asset, the team should trade Ankiel sooner rather than later.

All of this assumes that Ankiel will not sign an extension in the middle of the season, something Boras has said won't happen. If that fact changes, of course, then many of the calculations above would change as well. As it stands right now, though, Rick Ankiel is the most attractive trade bait John Mozeliak could dangle.

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4 Comments | Leave a comment

Is it OK to agree with the opposing argument as well as my own? It will interesting to see how this plays out. If Ankiel doesn't get going at the plate soon, his trade value will go down while his sign-ability goes up. Still, you are right in his being potentially the most attractive trade bait. Truthfully, I hate to see either go, but that's not realistic. Great debate day!!!

Tough topic. The reasons for trading Duncan are valid, but also limit what we will get in return. Trading Ankiel does make more sense from a business perspective.

And I like Ankiel, too. He's a great story.

C'est la vie.

I would hate to see Dick Ankiel leave the Cardinals. We have all been through some much since he was a baby. But, he choose an agent, that is what he is, so the Cardinals have to maximize their investment and get the most they can in a trade. He can't afford us and we can't afford him as long as his agent holds the must be a free agent policy knife to the Cardinals throat.

If Phil Hughes was really a possible return, then do it today and bring up Mather or Robinson. Colby Rasmus should be at least as good as Mr. Ankiel.

At this point I'd argue against trading any of the outfielders. With Barton gone, Robinson on the DL and Mather, Jay and Savinoha struggling in AAA we no longer have a surplus of dependable outfielders. The four man rotation is working well and I think that Rasmus, in particular would be overexposed if playing everyday.

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