You hear all sorts of fun rumors this time of year in Major League Baseball. Given that the Seattle Mariners are actually relevant, they are included in many of these whispers. People from all walks of life seem to have information from inside sources, outside sources and sideways sources.
In an age of social media, a frequent Twitter guy is Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He tweeted this little gem yesterday:
A lot of teams? Really? How many is “a lot” of teams?
Look, I like Dustin Ackley. That is, I would prefer to like his bat a little better. And his beard.
Neither his bat nor his beard are particularly fun to watch these days. When Ackley came up in 2011, he looked like a top prospect. In 90 games he had a slash line of .273/.348/.417 and a 3.4 WAR. Those are the types of numbers that you want to see from a young prospect because it either means that they are going to be a star, or it means that they may at least be a solid, everyday player.
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Unfortunately, we have seen an up-and-down few years from Ackley. Down in 2012, better in 2013, down again in 2014. This year, Ackley is hitting .229/.284/.339 with a 0.4 WAR. Not looking like that future star anymore. But, there are apparently “a lot” of teams that still see potential. Allegedly. If you can believe Twitter.
What’s the story with Ackley? Lost focus? Need a change of scenery? Beard weighing him down? Ackley is still only 26, so there is time to regain that early form, but it had better happen soon.
If teams are interested in Ackley, it may behoove the Mariners to listen. Granted, one has to assume that teams are not exactly putting together big packages of top prospects to get a shot at an average-hitting converted second baseman with little upside in terms of power. It would not be surprising if teams were offering a mid-level prospect. Maybe two.
Ultimately, the Mariners are rumored to be shopping for an outfield bat. With Michael Saunders on the disabled list, replaced him may be more urgent. However, Ackley should probably not get too comfortable unless he starts swinging a hot bat.
Teams are interested in Dustin Ackley? Great. Let the negotiating begin.