Mariners are the Early Winners in Dustin Ackley Trade

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It’s rare to write this, or even think this, but Jack Zduriencik made a good trade earlier this season. The M’s soon to be fired General Manager shipped Dustin Ackley to the New York Yankees in exchange for Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez on July 30th. It is still far too early to call it, but the Mariners are the early winners in this trade.

The Ack-Attck spent 5, mostly disappointing seasons in Seattle after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2009 draft. Ackley carried the M’s offense last summer, but he fizzled during the first half of the 2015 season. After hitting a measly .215 across 85 games this year, the decision to trade Ackley was an easy one.

Many projected Ackley would find his stroke in the Bronx, but thus far, that has not happened. The 27-year-old appeared in just 2 games with the Yankees before injuring his back. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right lumbar strain back on August 6th, and Dusty is not expect back until the end of the month.

The Yankees are fighting to make the postseason right now. Obviously, going 0 for 3 across 2 games is not the production the Yanks were hoping for when they acquired Ackley.

May 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Ramon Flores (31) bats during the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Yankees defeated the Athletics 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Conversely, the Mariners are thrilled with what they have seen from Ramon Flores so far. The 23-year-old outfielder was not considered a top prospect prior to the trade, but he has been a star with Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League. Flores is hitting .423 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 7 RBI across his first 14 games. He has nursed 11 walks and struck out just 6 times in 63 plate appearances with the Rainiers. Flores has spent the bulk of his time hitting out of the leadoff spot and playing center field.

Flores made his big league debut with New York earlier this season. While he played well in left field, Flores hit a pedestrian .219 in 12 games for the Yanks. However, he did hit a respectable .286 with 7 home runs and 34 RBI’s across 73 games this year in triple-A.

I saw Flores play last weekend in Tacoma, and I came away very impressed with the young man. He was patient at the dish, and took advantage of his opportunities. Flores finished 1 for 4 with a double and a walk. Despite not having elite speed, Flores is a solid defender in center field. He has good instincts and a steady glove. I’m not sure if Flores will be an everyday center fielder at the Major League level, but I think he could be a very valuable 4th outfielder.

Jun 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jose Ramirez (63) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics in the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Yankees 10-5. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Ramirez has not gotten off to such a fast start in the M’s organization. The Mariners opted to keep Ramirez on the 25-man roster immediately following the trade, however he did not appear in any games. Seattle decided to send him down to Tacoma in early August, and that is where he has stayed.

The 25-year-old right-hander has appeared in just 4 games with the Rainiers, going 1-0 with a 10.12 ERA. Ramirez has struck out 3 and walked 4 through 5.1 innings of work. The long ball has been a big problem, as the opposition has launched 3 home runs off him this year.

Obviously, Ramirez has not pitched overly well in Tacoma. However, he has pitched for the Yankees in each of the last 2 seasons, and Ramirez was dominating in triple-A prior to being traded. Ramirez was 3-0 with a 2.90 ERA and 10 saves across 32 appearances with the Yankees’ triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2015.

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Both prospects are currently on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, and will get called up to Seattle at the beginning of September when the rosters expand. If Flores can keep hitting, I expect him to receive a long look in center field as Seattle searches to find a viable replacement for impeding free agent, Austin Jackson. Jose Ramirez should have little trouble finding work in the uninspiring M’s bullpen. The Mariners are aching for productive righty relievers, and Ramirez should get a chance to show what he can do next month.

Jack Z has made some abysmal decisions when it come to trades, but this was not one of them. Seattle traded an unproductive backup left fielder for a potential everyday outfielder and a hard throwing reliever who could excel at the back end of the bullpen.

UPDATE: Ramon Flores fractured his foot in Saturday night’s game with the Rainiers, and is going to miss the remainder of the season. Regardless of the recent injury, Flores should make for an intriguing call-up at some point during the 2016 season.

Next: Mariners Play Annoying Game, Win 10-8 in Extras

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