BY SPNW Staff 02:57PM 07/30/2015

Mariners give up on Ackley, send him to Yankees

The Mariners waited on Dustin Ackley for five years, but the former No. 1 pick never panned out, leading to his trade to the New York Yankees Thursday.

Dustin Ackley’s final swing as a Mariner Wednesday. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

The Mariners Thursday finally gave up on unproductive veteran Dustin Ackley, trading the former first-round draft choice (No. 2 overall in 2009) to the New York Yankees for a pair of  minor leaguers, OF Ramon Flores and RHP Jose Ramirez. Seattle has not yet made a corresponding move to fill Ackley’s spot on the 25-man roster, but is expected to replace him by Friday with 1B/DH Jesus Montero.

The 27-year-old Ackley, whom the Mariners thought would develop into an outstanding contact hitter based on his play at the University of North Carolina, never panned out. In five seasons, he batted .243 and leaves Seattle with a .215 average this season (eight doubles, one triple, six home runs and 19 RBIs in 85 games). Ackley hasn’t had an OPS above .700 since 2011, and manager Lloyd McClendon frequently removed Ackley for pinch hitters in late-game pressure situations.

“This is crazy,” Ackley told after the swap. “But I’m excited for what the future has to bring.”

Flores and Ramirez, who were on the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster, are scheduled to report to the Rainiers. Based on his recent hot hitting, Montero is a likely candidate to join the Mariners in Minnesota, where they begin a three-game series Thursday night. The Rainiers were in El Paso and couldn’t get travel arranged fast enough.

Flores, 23, has spent most of the year with Scranton of the International League. He is batting .286 with 43 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 34 RBIs in 73 games. The left-handed hitter is also batting .333 with runners in scoring position and currently ranks fifth in the IL with a .377 on-base percentage. He made his MLB debut May 30 vs. the Athletics, and appeared in 12 games with the Yankees, batting .219.

The Venezuelan native hit .272 in seven minor league seasons. Primarily a left fielder, Flores was listed as the Yankees No. 27 prospect by Baseball America heading into the season.

Ramirez, 25, is 3-0 with 10 saves and a 2.90 ERA in 32 relief appearances with Scranton. Ramirez saw action in three games with the Yankees this year (0-0, 15.00 ERA) and made eight appearances in his debut season in 2014 (0-2, 5.40).

In eight minor league seasons, the Dominican Republic native has a 32-32 record with 12 saves and a 3.60 ERA in 146 appearances (96 starts). A starter most of his professional career, Ramirez made the move to the bullpen in 2014. He is listed by Baseball America as the Yankees No. 26 prospect.

Montero, 25, returns for his second stint with the Mariners after batting .300 in five games earlier this month. In 93 games with Tacoma, Montero hit .346 (second in PCL) with 64 runs scored, 17 doubles, six triples, 16 home runs, 75 RBIs and a .938 OPS.

In nine games since returning to the Rainiers July 21, Montero is 18-for-36 (.500) with five doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBIs (1.349 OPS). He was selected to play in the midseason AAA All-Star Game.

J.A. Happ (4-5, 4.27) will pitch for the Mariners Thursday night opposite RHP Phil Hughes (9-6, 3.93).


  • Seattle Psycho

    I think Ackley will find new life in New York. Not saying he will ever be an All-Star but will do better. I think the Mariners franchise screwed him all up. Who drafts a player with the second pick and changes his position? If he is good enough to be the #2 pick, you draft him for the position he is used to playing! Imagine if they tried to make Jr. a second baseman back in the day.

    • Trygvesture

      Good point– and yet early call ups and re-positioning are Jack’s stock in trade. Well, that and a load of Lincoln-liked smarm on the side. The Yanks traded for Ack for a reason, right? Because they wantd to give Z a break? No. Because Ack’s a great outfielder? No. Because he’s reached his MLB potential? No. Because in a savvy baseball environement on a good, functional team he can improve to his potential quickly and help them…?
      Ya think?

    • jafabian

      Many scouts and GM’s have stated that Ackley has at best an average arm for the OF and anyone would have moved him to 2B. The fact that moving him to the OF didn’t do anything to help his BA proves that changing positions wasn’t the issue. Besides, Kyle Seager was a SS in college, James Jones was a pitcher. It’s not at all unusual for players to change positions after being drafted.

      • Seattle Psycho

        If you are picking second, there is no reason to pick someone that needs to change position at the MLB level. Means they should not be #2. Would you take a starting pitcher #2 and turn him into a reliever? Seaver and Jones were not the #2 pick in the draft.

  • Effzee

    LOL. Is there any mystery as to how this will turn out?

    • jafabian

      Next month’s AL Player of the Month?

      • Jamo57

        I’m thinking Cooperstown. ;-) BTW Baseball Tonight just ranked the top 5 deadline trades and the Ms were fleeced in two of them. Slocum for Varitek and Lowe, and the Big Unit and his sore back.

  • jafabian

    Very telling that Jack traded his first draft pick. Is he waving the white flag on his tenure here? I really hope Dustin revitalizes his career and I’d love it if he succeeded at 2B. Just to show people that he can do it. He won’t be the first player to play badly as a Mariner and do well elsewhere and won’t be the last. He’s a better player than what we’ve been seeing the past few years. Glad to see the beard finally gone!

  • Sam Base

    Ackley seemed to be caught in some weird psychological whirlpool here in Seattle. New York could be good for him I believe, a kind of “shock” therapy. He thrived in the spotlight in college, no reason why he can’t play well in NYC, at least to a degree.

    • Effzee

      Yeah. The “weird psychological whirlpool” known as Lincolnland. He’ll be fine now that he’s escaped the circus.

  • Mavis Jarvis

    The best thing about this deal is that it opens a roster spot for Montero. It’s high time we get a chance to see if a slimmer and more focused Jesus can succeed at in the majors or not.

  • Jamo57

    I was at Anaheim Stadium Sunday and was lucky enough to see Mike Trout (from the same draft class as Ackley) go 4 for 4, 2 HRs (including a slam), 5 RBIs, 3 Rs.

    Just sayin’………

  • Rj Smith

    I can’t believe they received 2 warm bodies for Jokeley…… Once again, in a start by JA Hapless, the M’s give up a ton of runs and are about to lose again……

  • bob smith

    I hope Ackley does well under the microscope of the New York media. He will always be known as the pick that was the reward for a late season winning streak that cost them the chance to draft Strasburg (on the 15 day DL) with the 54-46 Nationals. It really bites this year watching the Astros blow by the Angels and are now considered the team to beat in the AL West. There is still a lot of good baseball to be played at Safeco, unfortunately it will be displayed by the visitors.