Now for Step 3: Fix the Revolving Door
What do the names Mickey Brantley, Greg Briley, Tracy Jones, Kevin Mitchell, Mike Felder, Eric Anthony, Darren Bragg, Lee Tinsley, Glenallen Hill, John Mabry, Mark McLemore, Al Martin, Randy Winn, Raul Ibanez, Endy Chavez, Milton Bradley, Mike Carp and Mike Morse have in common?
These 18 players represent the starting left fielder on Opening Day for the Mariners in each of the last 26 seasons (since 1988). This does not count the other players that have started games in left for the M’s, this is simply Opening Day starters.
Over the years, the Mariners have had stability in various positions: Center field- Griffey Jr., Mike Cameron; Right field- Jay Buhner, Ichiro Suzuki; 1B- Alvin Davis, Tino Martinez, John Olerud; Catcher- Dave Valle, Dan Wilson.
But left field has been a revolving door for almost three decades. Time to put a stop to that.
Bring in a free agent? The Mariners are going to be in the hunt for Shin Soo-Choo (RF) or Jacoby Ellsbury (CF). With so many other holes to fill, it’s unlikely we could get a free agent LF as well.
So how about we take a current player and make a permanent transition to left? Let’s go with Dustin Ackley.
Ackley had a great year in 2013. Let me rephrase that. Dustin Ackley had a great 2nd-half to 2013.
Before the All-Star break, Ackley’s slash line of .205/.267/.255 was not indicative of his nickname “Offensive AttAckley”. But after the break and after “The Beard”, Ackley’s slash line of .304/.374/.435 silenced many critics.
He started eight games in left in 2013 playing 11 games total. He committed no errors (only one total for the year in all positions combined) in 21 chances and turned one double play. So we know he can also be a Defensive AttAckley.
With Brad Miller and Ryan Franklin secure up the middle of the infield for the foreseeable future, I would hate to have Ackley without a home, or worse yet traded. So let’s put him in left for the next 10 years and give something the Mariners have never had…..a consistent starting left fielder.
Next time, in Part Four: Yes We (Mc) Cann!