The deal is for $1.5 million, with another $1.25 million available in performance bonuses.
Ankiel figures to get the bulk of playing time in left field, but will steal at-bats from Nyjer Morgan in center as well. His stiffest competition for playing time willbe Roger Bernadina. Ankiel hit .232/.321/.389 in 404 plate appearances last season, dinging six home runs while splitting the year between the Royals and Braves.
One has to wonder if the lefty would have been better off waiting and seeing if he could get a deal with the Brewers. After the Zack Greinke trade, the Brew Crew are thin at short and center field. Ankiel was the best player of the shortstops and CFs on the market and may have had a fit in Milwaukee.
The Brewers do still have Chris Dickerson, however, who may win the center field job by midseason.
Those teams still looking to boost center field depth have exciting options in Willie Bloomquist, Jim Edmonds, Jody Gerut, Scott Hairston and DeWayne Wise left in free agency. OK, maybe not so exciting.
Meanwhile, Austin Kearns has signed a one-year deal to return to the Indians, where he opened 2010. He was later dealt to the Yankees and finished with a .263/.351/.395 line in 461 plate appearances. His deal will earn him $1.3 million, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer outlines.
-- Evan Brunell