PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: Rick Ankiel #24 of the Washington Nationals returns to the dugout after striking out in the second inning of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
#Nats announce they've unconditionally released OF Rick Ankiel. Was designated for assignment last week.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 27, 2012
Ankiel was designated for assignment when the team needed to clear a roster for reliever Drew Storen. Since the team was unable to find a taker for him within the 10 day clock, he was unconditionally released. Of course, he could of accepted an assignment to the minor leagues, but it appears he rebuffed that idea and choose free agency instead.
Any team is free to sign the outfielder with a cannon arm now if they'd like, but the 33-year-old Ankiel hit just .228/.282/.411 in 171 plate appearances on the year before being designated for assignment. If he's able to find work soon, I would guess it's on a minor league deal.