Dustin Ackley, Nick Franklin and the Mariners Second Base Dilemma

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Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Move Ackley to the Outfield, Keep Franklin at Second

Dustin Ackley was originally drafted as an outfielder. It was the Mariners who moved him to second base while he was coming through the minor league system. Did it work?


But as it turns out, defense has never been Ackley’s problem. The biggest issue we all took with him is him is his seemingly streaky batting numbers. Without beating a dead horse, Ackley’s 2013 season began miserably, but it wasn’t because of his fielding skills, it was strictly his batting that put him on the chopping block. That’s why it didn’t really matter where he played when he came back.

If the Mariners don’t manage to score Ellsbury, or any other outfielders, then they’ll be left with Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, and maybe Raul Ibanez (if he comes back). There are others in the mix, but for the most part those will be the starting three. Ackley would fit right in with Saunders and Gutierrez for a regular starting three. Should Ibanez come back or if the M’s bring someone else into the active roster, things will get slightly more complicated.

On the other hand, moving Ackley to the outfield frees up Franklin to keep his spot in the major leagues, and keeps both him and Ackley in Seattle. Should they both continue to produce runs, then it would be best to keep both of them available. But if one (or both) of them fall into a slump, this would be decidedly bad.

Verdict: Pushing Ackley into the outfield is a good fallback position if the Mariners aren’t able to secure a big name like Ellsbury (wishful thinking?). I think this is the safest bet for the Mariners. Both of them have the potential to factor into a complete Mariners rebuild, so keeping both of them is a safe way to go. This way they also keep the ability to seek out a star player and shift the defensive lineup around to accommodate a new outfielder.

As Jack and company move forward this winter, this is going to be a volatile issue for the team, and will factor very strongly in team that the Mariners field next spring.