Why Ackley Should Be Back in Seattle (and why he isn’t yet)


May 14, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley (13) slides to second as New York Yankees shortstop Jayson Nix (17) waits for the ball during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Update: as of 12:30 p.m June 8, Sucre has been placed on the 15-day DL, and Triunfel has be called up again from AAA. It seems the Mariners really do want to be patient with Ackley. More in the coming days. Bantz to get his first ML start tonight as well.

Since his demotion to AAA Tacoma, Ackley has played in 10 games with 44 at-bats.

His triple-slash looks like this: .432/.537/.636 (with an OPS of 1.173). He has 3 doubles, 2 home runs, and 7 RBIs. He has 12 BBs in 10 games (2 shy of his Major League total in 2013 through 45), and only 4 SOs (compared to his 31 in the Show). Ackley has been patient, batting in the 1 or 2 spot, and producing impressively against AAA pitching.

I understand he was demoted: his approach and his mentality was all off. His “mind wasn’t right” as they say. But this 10 games in Tacoma have made it apparent that he is capable, and willing, to play at the highest level when motivated. As long as slumps don’t have the adverse affect they’ve had since he’s been in the Majors, I am confident he can come back and produce at a high level for the Mariners organization.

But even though he has been playing out of his mind in Tacoma, he still hasn’t been called up. Why? There are really two reasons for that:

1) The Mariners want to see a change in his mental and physical approach, the way he plays the game. Yes his numbers have been spectacular, but Wedge and Co. want to be sure when they call him back to Seattle he will be mentally and physically prepared to stay there and contribute day-in and day-out.

2) There is nowhere to put Ackley on the roster as of today, June 8. Sucre has a minor wrist injury so he isn’t officially on the DL. But he can’t play for a few more days. Because of this, Bantz was called up to be the emergency catcher. Likewise, with Smoak on the DL with an oblique injury, Liddi is up with the Major League squad as a corner outfield and corner infield backup.

Right now the Mariners really only have 2 middle infielders on the 25-man roster – Nick Franklin and Brendan Ryan. Having a rookie and a notoriously bad hitter as your only middle infielders is foolish.

But the injuries to Sucre, Smoak, and to an extent Morse, prevent any call ups by the Mariners.

The key is Sucre getting healthy. Once he is ready to play as the everyday starter again, Bantz can be sent back down to AAA. With his parting there will be an open spot on the Major League roster. I expect Z or Wedge to recall Ackley.

That would allow Franklin to be the super utility backup (like Andino was), giving both he and the Mariners opportunity to see if he is the shortstop of the future (I think he and Ackley could play alongside each other in 2014).

So keep your eyes trained on the injury report. When Sucre is healthy, expect Ackley to take Bantz’s spot on the ML roster.

And expect him to earn his spot back… and keep it for good.

Go Mariners.