Free At Last: Dustin Ackley Has Been Traded

I don’t know who Ramon Flores is, nor do I know who Jose Ramirez is.  I just know they’re not Dustin Ackley, and therefore I like them already.

As I’ve belabored endlessly, Dustin Ackley has been the most disappointing draft pick in Seattle sports history.  It’s not even really all that close.  We used a #2 overall draft pick to select the first hitter of the 2009 draft and ended up with a useless nothing.  He was supposed to be a guy with a good amount of athleticism – to the point where we pretty much just needed to find a place for him to field and let him go to work – who could hit in his sleep.  He was never going to be a masher, but he was supposed to be a line drive machine who’d hit for a high average, get on base with regularity, and hit enough doubles and triples to make up for a lack of homers.  Still, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect somewhere in the realm of 10 homers per year, maybe 30 doubles, a handful of triples, and a .300+ batting average with an on-base percentage approaching .375 or .400.

What we got was a guy who was called up mid-season in 2011 – during yet another losing campaign in an endless string of playoff-less years – who showed some promise, but eventually turned into yet another shining reminder of this organization’s proclivity to be snakebitten in the drafting and player-development realm of professional baseball.

In his two full seasons with the Mariners (2012 & 2014; he was shuttled between Seattle & Tacoma for much of 2013; and 2011 & 2015 were both half-seasons), he was essentially this guy:

  • .235 batting average, .294 on-base percentage, 13 homers, 24 doubles

He’s always been sort of a second-half dandy (punctuated by his call-up year of 2011, and his heroic second half in 2014 when he pretty much staved off execution for another half year), but this first half was such a disaster that we couldn’t hold out hope anymore for a possible turnaround.  .215/.270/.366, while slowly seeing his starts get taken away from the likes of Trumbo and Guti.  He has two more years of arbitration, and quite frankly you’d be hard-pressed to see why the Mariners should keep giving him chances.  He’s already making $2.6 million now and he’s not even worth a fraction of that!  To give him a raise for all the nothing he’s produced in his career would be a crime against humanity.

So, now he’s the Yankees’ problem.  Whatever.  With that ballpark, he’ll probably be a productive hitter and somewhat turn his career around.  From a Mariners perspective, he’s the second disappointing tentpole to be playing elsewhere, with Smoak’s signing in Toronto last offseason.  Now, all that’s left of the Jackie Z era’s three major disappointments is Jesus Montero, who – SURPRISE – is the guy coming up to take Ackley’s roster spot!

I don’t care about who we got in return.  Apparently, it’s an outfielder and a reliever.  Both will be starting their careers in this organization in Tacoma.  Maybe one day one or both will be called up and we’ll all be reminded that – OH YEAH – those were the guys we got for Ackley.  Until then, I’m going to try to not waste the braincells.

One thought on “Free At Last: Dustin Ackley Has Been Traded

  1. “Disappointing” should mean something other than “makes me angry right now.”

    Just because it happened before you were born, doesn’t mean it wasn’t disappointing. I grew up studying the 1982 Mariners’ media guide with all the prospects from the late 70s drafts. THAT was disappointing.

    And, I don’t know how you forget Jeff Clement. He’s the biggest disappointment to me. It’s not just because he sucked, but because everyone picked around him became SO good.

    Al Chambers. #1 overall in 1979. 57 games played in the majors. Of course no one of much importance was drafted that year. I suppose Andy Van Slyke could have gone to the Mariners (shrug).

    Tito Nani. #6 overall in 1978. No games played in the majors. Nine years ago, ranked as the M’s worst draft pick ever by the PI. The Mariners could have chosen Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kirk Gibson or Dave Stieb.

    I think I could still pick those two out of a line up for all the hope their pictures in the Mariners’ media guide crushed.

    Roger Salkeld. #3 overall in 1989. Not enough disappointment there? The Mariners missed out on Frank Thomas, Mo Vaughn, and Chuck Knoblauch. Thomas was drafted #7 overall. A few tweaks to the scouting reports and he’s #7.

    Jeff Clement is the most disappointing because the pick was so surprising and the alternatives were so amazing. The Mariners were expected to draft Troy “trade bait” Tulowitzki. Ryan Zimmerman, #4, and Ryan Braun, #5, were also available immediately after Clement. Even Ricky Romero at #6 became useful. Clement was the only player in the top 7 to suck. Even Andrew McCutchen was picked at #11. That draft was so loaded, the Mariners could have thrown a dart at a board and found someone better than Clement (although #8 pick, Wade Townsend, never did make the majors and is now a professional poker player).

    How is Ackley more disappointing than a guy who hit 218/277/371 and couldn’t play the field?

    Only five of 49 players from the 2009 first round have career WARs higher than Ackley. Only four of 37 players from the 2005 first round who made the major leagues have career WARs *worse* than Clement (plus one tie).

    It would have been rather hard for the Mariners, in 2009, to do better than Ackley (24 teams passed on Mike Trout). It would have been very easy to do much better than Clement.

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