Rebuilding year(s) offer little for fans yearning of immediate playoff implications, but can often play host to a range of exciting minor moves that deliver a hint of upside while occasionally pulling on the heartstrings. It’s important to be wary of this clear pander when a move like this occu-OH WHO ARE WE KIDDING, DUSTIN ACKLEY IS BACK.
Source: Dustin Ackley is returning to the #Mariners on a minor league deal. Ackley, 30, was drafted 2nd overall by Seattle in 2009 and played last season in AAA for the #Angels, slashing .286/.378/.398— Jon Becker (@jonbecker_) January 9, 2019
There’s little hope of Dustin Ackley rekindling his early-career potential, but at age-30 it’s not as though he’s entirely over the hill. For as much as mechanical changes, mental roadblocks, and contradictory player development may have harmed the former No. 2 overall pick, his athletic prime has been sapped most viciously by injuries. Since being traded to the Yankees on July 30, 2015, Ackley has suffered a right lumbar strain, a dislocated right shoulder, and at least one back injury. His last MLB plate appearance came on May 29th, 2016, with the Yankees, and he has spent the past two seasons toiling away in the Angels system for the Salt Lake Bees. Ackley now fills a more utility role, playing both corner outfield positions more than infield, but spelling at 2B and 1B as well. He should have a good opportunity to contribute for a Tacoma roster that remains thin-at-best.
Unfortunately, injuries and the afore-mentioned issues we all sadly observed during Ackley’s first Mariners tenure have sapped his once-promising offensive profile. His 2018 profile was not too shabby, with a 117 DRC+/107 wRC+, albeit in his 1199-thru-1483rd career PAs in the PCL. Maybe a return to a place he was once (still is?) beloved will bring him peace and set him right, but most likely this is simply a more interesting name than Zach Vincej. He still has a peculiar swing and finish, albeit a shade more closed in his stance last year, but the Ackley you remember is mostly still there.
I cannot recommend getting your hopes up for an Ackley resurrection tour, but if you’re headed to Tacoma to see the M’s future, you can now see another slice of their sordid past. And maybe, just maybe, their present?
We can always always dream.