Ankiel is the type of player and person that’s worth taking a chance on, but unfortunately he was the same player with the Mets that he was with the Houston Astros earlier this year. He provided some power and strong outfield defense, but his average was under .200 and his strikeout rate was far too high. With the Mets not being competitive in the standings, there’s no reason to keep a veteran like Ankiel around if he’s not being productive and helping them win games.
There’s no way that the Mets can consider Ankiel a part of their future, and so to continue to give him playing time would be taking away opportunities for younger players that the Mets should be trying to develop and evaluate for the future. Ankiel was taking at bats away from Jordany Valdespin and rookie Juan Lagares, who the Mets need to see play as often as possible in order to find out what kind of role fits best for them going forward, and that will be easier to do not that Ankiel is no longer in the picture.
With Kirk Nieuwenhuis catching fire in triple-A, now is the perfect time to promote him at the expense of Ankiel. Nieuwenhuis is somewhat similar to Ankiel in that both are left-handed hitters, quality defenders, and have moderate amounts of power, but Nieuwenhuis could figure prominently into the Mets future, something that can’t be said for Ankiel.
If the Mets were winning games and Ankiel was a part of that things would be different, but that just hasn’t been the case. Ankiel did bring a nice veteran presence to the clubhouse, which shouldn’t be understated, but that can only go so far without production on the field to go along with it.
Bottom line, there are other outfielders in the Mets organization that should be getting playing time instead of Ankiel. This doesn’t mean it was a mistake to take a chance on Ankiel, but it does mean that it was the right move to part ways with him.