Last night the Seattle Mariners were forced to do some on-the-fly lineup maneuvering when Robinson Cano pulled up limp and Kyle Seager called in sick. The resulting lineup featured gems such as Willie Bloomquist, third baseman, Seth Smith, left fielder, and Mark Trumbo, right fielder. The alingment was predictably bad defensively. Oh! And Dustin Ackley played second base. Lets talk about that.
Ackley, as you may recall, lit the baseball world on storm as a rookie second baseman with the Mariners many, many moons ago. He had a punchy lil’ bat and flashed stupendous defense at the keystone. But after an offensive collapse, the M’s moved him to the outfield to accomodate Nick Franklin. He’s barely been back on the dirt since.
With Ack struggling through by far his worst season, the team is surely tiring of their once-promising player. It’s looking more and more like Ackley’s career with the Mariners isn’t going to go anywhere, and so the best bet for both team and player is a trade. And did I mention that Ackley played second base last night?
It’s easy for the team to simply say that they needed someone to cover for Cano, and that’s probably the biggest reason we saw Ackley in the infield last night. But a residual benefit of the move is that it gave teams a look at the position where Ackley played the best defense of his career. The position where he’d be most valuable going forward.
If the Mariners want to get anything for Ackley, then it’s in their best interest to be able to market him as a second baseman as well as an outfielder. If Cano needs another couple nights off, then maybe that’s all the better. Too bad this team has a million DHs or they could even get Ackley some non-emergency infield reps.
There’s really no downside here, as the Mariners don’t have anything to lose by increasing the value of their trade assets. Ackley did look rusty out there, but who wouldn’t? The big point is that we’re thinking about Ackley as a second baseman again. 24 hours ago nobody remembered that this was something he can do. Now we’ve all been reminded.
Dustin Ackley probably isn’t going to provide much value to the Seattle Mariners going forward, but he could conceivably help the team win in the future by way of a trade. The more positions he can play, the more likely it is that someone gives up an interesting minor leaguer for him. Works for everyone involved. Now if only he would start hitting. Like, even just a little.