LAS VEGAS -- Rick Ankiel could be the answer for a one-year fix to help solve the puzzle for improving the Rays' offense.
According to a report in the New York Post, the Rays are among "at least five teams" looking to trade for the Cardinals outfielder.
If the Rays did acquire Ankiel, it's likely he would serve as a temporary solution since he is one year away from hitting the free agency market and Scott Boras is his agent, which could move him out of the Rays' range of affordability. Ankiel is arbitration-eligible in 2009.
The Cardinals needs are a closer and a starting pitcher. The Rays have plenty of starting pitching and starters Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine have been the most common names tossed around as trade bait during this offseason.
Ankiel, 29, bats and throws left-handed. He hit.264 with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs for the Cardinals in 2008. Once a promising pitcher -- he experienced a highly publicized control ordeal before returning to the Minor Leagues and changing positions. Ankiel has one of the best arms in baseball and can play right or center field.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.