BY Adam Lewis 11:51AM 02/25/2015

Mariners Roundup: Ackley/Weeks to platoon

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wasted no time in proclaiming that Dustin Ackley and Rickie Weeks will share time in left field this season.

Mariners left fielder Dustin Ackley hasn’t met expectations since the club selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft. / Getty Images

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon contends that signing veteran Rickie Weeks in mid-February wasn’t done to send a message to Dustin Ackley.

But it seems the pair will form a platoon in left field this season as Seattle looks for more production on offense coming off an 87-75 year in which run production was a recurring problem.

“We’re trying to get better,” McClendon said Wednesday in Peoria before the club’s first full-squad workout of spring training, according to The News Tribune. “Rickie Weeks is a good player that can help us win ballgames.”

“I think the combination of both those guys out there should produce a left fielder where you have a combination of 20-25 home runs and 100-plus RBIs. Now you’ve got something.”

First, Weeks, 32, must learn left field during spring training after playing exclusively second base during the first 11 years of his career, all with the Milwaukee Brewers. Mariners All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, as you might recall, still has nine years left on his contract.

Weeks, a former All-Star, should be useful regardless. The right-handed hitter is formidable facing left-handed pitching, with a .261/.385/.448 career slash line.

As for Ackley?

He got off to an awful start in 2014, hitting .225 with four home runs and 29 RBIs at the All-Star break before rebounding to finish the year with a .245 average, 14 home runs and 65 RBIs.

The bulk of the left-handed hitter’s success came against right-handers (.259/.310/.442). That would suggest that more days off against tough southpaws might help the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft finally lift his .245 career average to where the club expected it when Ackley left the University of North Carolina.



  • jafabian

    As good a citizen Ackley has been for the club, after his time in college, down in the farm system and how he performed when he was first called up he looked like the real deal. A player who’d go to multiple All-Star games. Though he finally made significant improvement last season his performance wasn’t all that different than what could have been done from a player like Chris Denorfia or Jason Bay. Heck, a healthy Michael Saunders would have done more. I’m wondering if Jack Z. is holding him to use as part of a trade for a pitcher later on?

    Have some concerns about the OF overall. Usually there’s at least one Gold Glover among them and a bat that can hit at least 20 HR’s or have a BA over .300. None of that is evident here though the M’s did very well defensively last season. I think in the long run Jones might be the best among them and Alex Jackson will probably get a call up this season.

    • RadioGuy

      I’m not sold on Jones. Started well but hit .186 after June. Also wonder how platooning Ackley and Weeks will work (nice birthday present for Dustin). I think they may as well just trade Dustin to a team that’ll give him a fair shot while not jacking him around defensively and yo-yoing him between MLB and AAA. Hell of a way to develop the second player taken in the draft. I still think he can be a solid Kevin Seitzer-type player, but it’ll have to be somewhere else. Play him in one spot or trade him.

      As for Weeks, a .261 average against ANYONE isn’t exactly “formidable” and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles fly balls in left when he wasn’t exactly a Gold Glover at 2B to begin with (his defensive stats are awful). I’m okay with Jackson in center and Smith in right but outfielders are going to collectively be an offensive liability this year. Rickie adds a little power and speed, but a .249 career hitter is nothing special unless he hits homers like Kiner or Killebrew. And Rickie doesn’t. A platoon MAY lessen some of the shortcomings, but neither player is going to be happy or able to get into much of a groove if they’re sitting half the time.

      • jafabian

        I see Jones possibly becoming something like Mike Cameron. Around a .250-.260 hitter, around 15+ HR’s, 20-30 SB’s. I’m not too thrilled with acquiring Weeks. Never been a fan of NL players coming to the AL. Bad memories of Sexson, Aurilla, Cirillo, Mitchell, etc.

        • RadioGuy

          I generally agree on the NL players who’ve come here, although Sexson had two very good seasons before the bottom fell out.

          Jones? He’s got to get back to what he had in June because he’s got five outfielders ahead of him looking for roster slots (unless Cruz is wisely limited to DHing) and his speed doesn’t count much with a manager who plays 1950′s station-to-station baseball, which makes no sense when you’ve got a bunch of .240 hitters and no Ted Kluszewskis to drive them in when they DO get on base.

          • jafabian

            I thought the warning signs were there on Sexson. IIRC, his power numbers came early in the game, not after 7 innings when they were needed. Then the AL figured that out.

            IMO, Jones problems later in the season were due to his being called up too early. He shouldn’t have been called up until this season and not until September. Him, Saunders, Smoak, Ackley, Zunino, Pineda, Miller, Franklin, Taylor etc. All called up too early as Jack Z. began to feel the pressure of an impatient fan base and the possibility of ownership listening to them as his contract began to wind down. So he began to roll the dice on the farm praying that he’d hit on the next Junior Griffey. Jones has some decent base funning smarts, something that was very inconsistent on the club in the first half of last season.

          • Edgar Martinez

            It doesn’t matter if a power hitter hits a 2 run homer in the 2nd inning, or the 8th. It’s still worth the same amount of runs. Sexson had 2 very good years here regardless of what inning his homers came.

          • jafabian

            Does when the game is on the line. Typically his scoring came when the game was decided. He wasn’t a clutch hitter.