Tag:Dustin Ackley
Posted on: June 16, 2011 2:19 am
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Mariners call up Ackley

Dustin Ackley

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Mariners are calling up top prospect Dustin Ackley -- he will technically be recalled on Thursday and debut on Friday, as the Mariners have the day off on Thursday and start a weekend series with the Phillies on Friday.

Ackley, taken with the second overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, was hitting .303/.421/.487 at Triple-A Tacoma, slugging nine homers and driving in 35 in 66 games. He went 2 for 4 in the Rainers' 11-4 victory over Fresno on Wednesday and was pulled in the ninth inning.

"It's time to get him up here," Mariners manager Eric Wedge told reporters (via SeattlePI.com). "We sent him down in spring training so he could get some more experience at second base, some more ABs at the Triple-A level, and he's ready to be up here."

A second baseman, Ackley will likely play every day, meaning the likely end of Jack Wilson as Seattle's everyday second baseman. Wilson is hitting just .239/.266/.265 for Seattle and could draw interest from teams who need a defensive specialist at shortstop.

Ackley was an outfielder in college, but has been moved to second as a pro.

The Mariners optioned utility man Luis Rodriguez to make room for Ackley on the roster.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 5:42 pm
 

A's Weeks latest prospect to get the call

Jemile WeeksBy C. Trent Rosecrans 

The prospects are coming! The prospects are coming!

Isn't that what Paul Revere said? Oh, right, it was something different. But forget Paul Revere. This is much more interesting.

Now that it's June and many teams believe they're free from allowing a top prospect to earn Super Two status (if it indeed exists in the next CBA), the prospects are heading to the big leagues.

The Dodgers called up Dee Gordon Monday, and then the A's called up Jemile Weeks. Unlike Gordon, Weeks was in the lineup right away, leading off and playing second. Gordon is in the Dodgers' lineup Tuesday night.

Weeks, the younger brother of Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, was a first-round pick of Oakland in 2008 out of the University of Miami. He was hitting .321/.417/.446 with three home runs and 10 stolen bases at Triple-A Sacramento.

The A's also called up lefty Bobby Cramer, putting Brett Anderson and Mark Ellis on the disabled list. To make room for Weeks on the 40-man roster, Dallas Braden was moved to the 60-day disabled list.

Other prospects who could be coming any day include San Diego's Anthony Rizzo, Seattle's Dustin Ackley and Toronto's Brett Lawrie.

Ackley's another second baseman, and he's hitting .302/.420/.492 with eight home runs and 31 RBI in 59 games. He could add some sock to an anemic Mariner offense.

Lawrie was expected to be called up last week but was placed on the minor-league disabled list after being hit in the wrist on Sunday. The move is retroactive to Thursday. The minor-league DL is only seven days, and Lawrie suffered just a bruise, so he may be called up as soon as early next week. Lawrie has reportedly improved defensively at third base, where the team has gotten very little production.

Padres general manager Jed Hoyer told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Rizzo was "close" to being called up but that no decision has been made. He's hitting .363/.444/.715 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI for Triple-A Tucson. Brad Hawpe has been the team's first baseman, and he has been struggling (.238/.305/.366), and he's also been working in right field to make way for Rizzo.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Dustin Ackley not moving to left field

By Evan Brunell

AckleyThe No. 2 overall pick of the 2009 draft in Dustin Ackley is on the verge of a promotion to the Mariners, where he will play second base.

And that's a position written in stone. Ackley hasn't received favorable reviews for his play at second, with many speculating he could be moved to left field as soon as immediately given the struggles of Seattle left fielders.

Not happening, says GM Jack Zduriencik to the Seattle Times. "We view Ackley as our second baseman going forward,'' he said.

Ackley is hitting .292/.400/.475 for Triple-A and would immediately inject some offense into the flagging team that currently has Adam Kennedy manning second. Kennedy has actually been solid on the year so far, with a .285/.317/.438 line, so there was some thought that Kennedy could move to left. Again, no dice. Kennedy is a platoon player who plays only against right-handers, and has only 13 career games in the outfield, being used strictly for emergency purposes.

While the Mariners could ask Kennedy to play more often in the outfield, it wouldn't be more than once a week, as Zduriencik said, so Kennedy's not the answer in the outfield. The Mariners will attempt to keep his bat in the lineup by phasing Ackley in with part-time duty, as well as using Kennedy at the other infield positions when the incumbent starters need a day off.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:23 am
Edited on: May 19, 2011 6:24 pm
 

Pepper: Duel in Fenway


By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: There's no more tasty matchup than Josh Beckett and Justin Verlander squaring off in Fenway Park as the Tigers take on the red hot Red Sox. Also, how will CC Sabathia, Jair Jurrjens and Madison Bumgarner fare? I discuss all of these items in CBSSports.com's Baseball Today. See above.

MOST MARKETABLE: Three baseball players check in as members of the top 50 most marketable athletes in the world. Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is at the top with LeBron James second. The MLB guys are Albert Pujols (25), Joe Mauer (31) and Brian Wilson (34). (SportsMedia.com) Great, so now everyone is going to grow out a beard like that?

MORE ON PHILLIPS' VISIT: Remember the story about Brandon Phillips going to watch a 14-and-under All-Star game being played by one of his Twitter followers? Well, the Dayton Daily News has the full story. Not only did Phillips show up, but he stayed for six innings. Here's what the parents of the young Twitter follower, named Connor, had to say about Phillips: "[He was] bombarded by people. He must have signed a hundred autographs. Connor kind of wanted to invite him into the dugout to give him some relief, but it seemed like Brandon was enjoying himself. And whenever Connor got up to hit, he’d always stop and watch him." Connor ended up gathering two singles and a double in front of Phillips, as his team won 12-4. As for Phillips' comments? “I had a good time. The parents were really into the game. Everybody had a lot of fun, and it reminded me again of why I play and why I do what I do on the field ... and off. It’s about love. I just love the game.”

ACKLEY KID: Michael Pineda's done a decent job (understatement alert) in his rookie campaign, so what about the Mariners promoting their top hitting prospect, Dustin Ackley? Once Stephen Strasburg was off the board, you may have quit paying attention, but Ackley was the second overall pick in that draft. Ackley plays second base and is swinging a good bat in Triple-A -- .280 average with six home runs, 21 RBI, 27 runs, nine doubles, six stolen bases and an .844 OPS in 40 games. Thus, it's rather obvious why Mariners fans would be pining for the 23 year old. The always-thoughtful Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times discusses why Ackley hasn't gotten the call yet and when he might get it (hint: sometime in June).

NEW RIVALRY: A good discussion with the writers on StLtoday.com: Has the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry been surpassed by the Cardinals-Reds? I'll weigh in as our resident Cubs fan. I think there's a difference between historic fan rivalries and present on-field rivalries. I don't think the rivalry between Cubs and Cardinals fans would ever be surpassed by that of the Reds vs. Cardinals in terms of historic stature, but in 2011 as a stand-alone season, it's Reds-Cardinals and it's not even close. This is because those are the two best teams in the division and they seem to genuinely dislike each other. To use another midwest example, Indiana and Purdue are always top rivals in basketball, but with Indiana down the past few years, Purdue had much bigger games on the slate.

MORE ON THE CARDS-REDS: Meanwhile, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan calls remarks made by Reds announcer Marty Brennaman "classless." (StLtoday.com)

THE UNKNOWN: The first round of the MLB draft is June 6, and the Pirates are narrowing down the field for their first selection. It's interesting to say that because for the first time since 2008, it's not a foregone conclusion who the top pick is going to be. Both Strasburg and Bryce Harper were the obvious No. 1 picks in the past two drafts. On the flip-side, the Pirates are considering around five different players. Reportedly, the three favorites are UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen. (MLB.com)

POSTING CHANGE: NPB (that's Japan's professional league to those unaware) may change it's posting system for players looking to sign with Major League Baseball. The most famous posting issue is when the Red Sox ponied up just over $50 million just for the rights to exclusively negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. By the time the Red Sox signed him to a contract, they'd paid over $100 million. There are lots of other cases, obviously, that's just the most notorious. Anyway, the proposed change would be to award negotiating rights to the top three bidders. This would probably help the players make more money and be more fair to the bidding MLB teams. (NPB Tracker)

DEROSA DOWN: Giants third baseman Mark DeRosa is out "for a long time" after re-injuring his surgically repaired wrist. This may speed up a move of Aubrey Huff across the diamond with Brandon Belt taking over at first base -- at least until Pablo Sandoval is ready to come back. (SFgate.com) While we're here, I'm going to stand up for DeRosa as a man to the Giants fans (it's a minority, so let's not paint the entire fan base with one brush) celebrating his injury just because he's underperformed on the field. DeRosa is a great guy and great teammate. It takes a special kind of (bad) person to wish chronic injuries on someone else, especially when those bad wishes are upon a good person. Oh, while we're here ...

WHY THOLE QUIT TWITTER: Mets catcher Josh Thole joined Twitter to interact with fans, and instead had to close his account because he was tired of everyone taking shots at him -- including one loser who said he didn't care if Thole died. (NYDailyNews.com) It's amazing how "tough" people get under the cloak of anonymity. Actually, amazing is the wrong word. It's pathetic. There are few places where I'll ever break out the sanctimony, but this is one of them. If you use the Internet to tell people you want them dead because of how they play baseball -- or anything comparable such as political views, religious views, favorite musicians or taste in TV shows -- you are dregs of society and seriously need to get a life.

RECOVERED RINGS: Kyle Kendrick had his 2008 World Series championship ring stolen from his home on March 30, but it has been recovered by police in an unrelated investigation. There were several other items recovered by police, including Kendrick's 2009 NLCS ring. (CSNPhilly.com)

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Mariners top prospect Pineda to make rotation?

PinedaBy Evan Brunell

Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden is now a host on MLB Network radio and tweeted the Mariners rotation as he sees it after discussing it with manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik.

Topping the rotation to no one's surprise is Felix Hernandez, the AL Cy Young Award winner this past season. Behind him are Jason Vargas and Doug Fister -- soft-tossing pitchers with some success at the major-league level, but nothing to write home about. Vargas did have a 3.78 ERA in 31 starts over 192 2/3 innings, but clearly benefited from Safeco Field -- his home ERA was 2.86, away 4.85 while his overall xFIP was 4.82.

Fister, meanwhile, had a 4.11 ERA in 28 starts and 171 innings pitched, but paired his stingy 1.7 BB/9 rate with a 4.9 K/9 mark. His xFIP was actually intriguingly close to his ERA at 4.27, but exhibited drastic first- and second-half splits. Prior to the All-Star Game, Fister had a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts that spiked to 5.09 in 15 post-break starts.

It's the two starters behind Vargas and Fister that are intriguing. The No. 4 starter appears to be Erik Bedard, with good reports coming out of camp that the lefty is healthy and ready to contribute. When Bedard has been able to take the field the last three years (and not at all in 2010), he has delivered on the promise he flashed in 2009-09 with the Orioles. If Bedard can put together a full season, he could easily be the club's No. 2 starter.

The No. 5 starter appears to be Michael Pineda, the No. 20 prospect in CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list. This isn't a surprise, as Pineda's talents are exceptional and appears near-ready for the majors. However, to come out with Pineda starting the season in the rotation is a bit odd. While money shouldn't be a major influence in a player's arrival in the majors, that's doubly so for big-market teams and/or those in competition. The Giants, for example, won the World Series on the back of Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, who was held down until late May. The Giants ended up needing the final day of the regular season to win the division.

However, the Mariners harbor no illusions that they are not better than the Rangers and Athletics, if not the Angels as well. While .500 is not out of reach for Seattle, the added value of keeping Pineda down until he wouldn't qualify for being a Super Two arbitration-eligible player seems worth more than having Pineda grab 32 starts with the big-league club. While Seattle is a big-market team, that doesn't mean the M's shouldn't take advantage of the rules.

Plus, Pineda hasn't torn apart Triple-A yet and only has 12 starts at that level. The 22-year-old posted a 4.76 ERA last year in those 12 starts after a 2.22 mark in 13 starts. Pineda's strikeout and walk rates in Triple-A held steady, but coughed up a few extra home runs that was likely the difference in the ERA. There just doesn't appear to be an overwhelming reason to bring Pineda up immediately along with No. 8 prospect Dustin Ackley who is preparing to become the second baseman.

Once the calendar flips to June, absolutely bring up Pineda and Ackley. Until then, the Mariners need to focus on getting these players additional seasoning at Triple-A and delaying their clocks as long as possible. 

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Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 3, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Pepper: Perez's last chance?

Posted by C. Trent Rosecrans
Oliver Perez

For most established big leaguers, it's beyond idiotic to put much stock in many spring training results -- nobody's a star or scrub based solely on a game in the first week of March -- but Oliver Perez isn't the typical case.

The Mets pitcher has been hanging on to his roster spot by a three-year, $36-million thread for a while. In the last year of his ridiculous contract, the left-hander may be released if he "does not show significant improvement over Sunday's two-inning, four-run disappointment" today against the Cardinals, the New York Daily News' Andy Martino writes, citing two "major league sources familiar with the Mets' thinking."

Sunday, Perez was throwing an 84 mph fastball and struggled with his command. He was initially slated as a reliever for today's game, but he will instead start.

Manager Terry Collins said, "I'm quite sure he'll have another try after [Thursday]." But Martino says that may not be the case.

Since signing his big deal (any guess who his agent is?), Perez has gone 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA in 31 games. He made 14 starts in 2009 and seven last season before being put in the bullpen. He didn't pitch at all in June, and pitched just two games in August -- on the first day of the month and the next-to-last day of the month, and just one day in September.

There was talk the Mets would release him after the season, but they gave him one last try -- and that very last try could come today.

SPEAKING OF ALBATROSS CONTRACTS: Bruce Bochy told reporters Wednesday that Barry Zito's spot in the Giants' rotation is secure, despite a San Francisco Chronicle column citing a "source close to the team" as saying his job isn't safe.

General manager Brian Sabean also denied the story was a plant.

"Absolutely, unequivocally not," Sabean told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "We have too much respect for players, and more so, I have a great relationship with Barry Zito. If things had gotten to that point, I would have talked to him directly, firsthand."

Zito walked five of the 13 batters he faced in his spring opener on Monday.

A.J. Burnett DOESN'T SUCK? So says, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

In fact, Rosenthal points out the much-maligned Yankees' career numbers are pretty darn close to those of Boston's Josh Beckett, another former Marlin. The numbers Rosenthal uses are indeed close -- Burnett is 110-100 with a 3.99 ERA and an opponents' OPS of .701 in his career, while Beckett is 112-74, with a 3.96 ERA and .708 opponents' OPS.

The secret for Burnett to be successful, Rosenthal writes, is for Burnett to believe he can be successful. The Yankees certainly hope that's true.

WHO ISN'T? Speaking of disappointing Red Sox pitchers… John Lackey is "just tired" of talking about his 2010 season, he tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.

If I got $18 million to put up a 4.40 ERA. In his first season since coming over from the Angels, Lackey made 33 starts and put up a 14-11 record.

IT'S THE MONEY, STUPID: It's going to be difficult for either Dustin Ackley or Michael Pineda break camp with the Mariners, even if they earn a spot in spring, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes, because of the possible Super 2 status.

The Mariners may have to guess when to bring up their talented rookies in hope of not allowing them to reach arbitration eligibility early. To be safe, now most teams wait until June to bring up a heralded prospect. Remember Buster Posey? He was called up to stay last year on May 29.

Recently teams have guessed on when the Super 2 cutoff date would occur and lost on Tim Lincecum (2007) and Jay Bruce (2008) falling before the cutoff date. Teams worried about payroll, like the Mariners, are unlikely to take a gamble.

Ramon HernandezCITIZEN CATCHER: Congratulations to Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, who took a couple of days off from Cincinnati's camp to go to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to take his United State citizenship test. Hernandez passed the test on Tuesday and will be sworn in at a later date.

"I already live here and I have my life here," Hernandez, a native of Venezuela, told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "My kids are U.S. citizens and my wife is a U.S. citizen. I'm the only one left. I feel like I've got to do it because I live here."

Hernandez celebrated with a double against the White Sox on Wednesday.

A PITCHER'S BEST FRIEND: A physicist writes an article on Baseball Prospectus stating that if the Diamondbacks used a humidor at Chase Field, they'd see a 37 percent drop in home runs. (Hat tip to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic)

THOSE AREN'T PILLOWS: The Planes, Trains and Automobiles worthy story of Mike Napoli's journey from the Angels to the Blue Jays to the Rangers from the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett

SOMEONE IS INTERESTED IN THE METS: A group that includes Rays minority owner Randy Frankel and Entourage creator Doug Ellin, is interested in buying a share of the Mets, the New York Times reports.

Frankel would have to sell his share of the Rays, if approved.

THE DOCTOR IS AN IN-PATIENT: While the NFL seems to have someone on every Dancing With the Stars incarnation, MLB will be represented on Celebrity Rehab by former Mets ace Dwight Gooden.

Gooden, 46, will join Lindsay Lohan's dad and the kid from Baywatch on Dr. Drew's show, TMZ.com reports.

MMMM… GRAVY: A flow chart telling you which Major League Baseball team you should root for.

ANIMAL STYLE: For those non-Californians heading out to spring training in Arizona, here's a little help when it comes to the culinary hotspot that is In-N-Out. You've heard of the secret menu? Here's a look at every "secret" item on the menu.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: February 1, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Mariners shouldn't promote Ackley

AckleyDustin Ackley has put on several pounds this winter and is gearing up for a chance to win the second base job for Seattle out of spring training.

Although Ackley is one of the best prospects in the game -- no surprise given he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, behind someone named Stephen Strasburg.

Ackley ripped through the minors in his first professional season, beginning the year with Double-A and hitting .263/.389/.384 in 350 plate appearances. He got off to a rough start but received a promotion to Triple-A and hit .274/.338/.439 in 237 PA. These numbers are misleading, as Ackley did start hitting the ball with authority after righting himself.

But while Ackley is shaping up to be an All-Star second baseman in the years to come, it's ludicrous to imagine the Mariners handing Ackley the job at second to start the season, no matter what the team may say publicly.

The 23-year-old is probably ready, right now, to play in the majors. But that doesn't mean there's any reason to do so. After all, the 22-year-old hasn't put together a full season of numbers that scream for a big league promotion. There's something to be said for the Rays' philosophy of keeping players in the minor leagues until they have fully matured and are ready to jump into the fire. That's why so many of their rookies succeed: they're rookies in name only, but have reached their capabilities to play with the big boys.

But even that's not the biggest consideration when it comes to Ackley.

Keeping Ackley down in the minors will push back his service time clock. By starting his service time clock immediately, Ackley will have a full year's service (one year of service is 172 days on the major league roster; the season is 182 days) and inch closer to free agency. But if his callup is delayed until June or July, another year tying Ackley to the Mariners would occur.

Seattle doesn't have to worry about Super Two eligibility because Ackley has a major-league deal with the team. It stretches five years and $7.5 million, beginning with the 2009 season.

But what the major-league deal does not cover is Ackley's final two seasons of arbitration. And this is where Ackley's callup date could have lasting ramifications. Start him in Seattle and he qualifies for free agency after the 2015 season. Hold him back, and the M's control him through 2016.

For a team with a history of a large payroll, retaining Ackley's services would certainly be easy -- Seattle hopes -- by 2016. But why mess with losing what could be the star of your franchise at that point just to get him a couple more months in the bigs on a team going nowhere?

With or without Ackley, this is a team that is destined to finish under .500. Playing Brendan Ryan a couple extra months at second base and using Adam Kennedy to back up is not going to change that.

Simply put: There is zero reason for Ackley to be introduced as a Mariner on Opening Day.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: December 12, 2010 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2010 8:05 pm
 

Ryan move could shift Figgins to third

Ryan With the Mariners acquiring Brendan Ryan from the Cardinals, the infield picture for Seattle may have gotten a bit muddier.

That's the aim of GM Jack Zduriencik, however.

"What I've said to Brendan and what I've said to [manager] Eric [Wedge] is, what I'd like to do is create opportunities,'' Zduriencik told the Seattle Times . "Create competition. And at the end of the day, let the pieces fall where they may.''

Make no mistake about it, however: Ryan figures to start for Seattle -- and not at third base, where there is currently a vacancy. Ryan has only 29 games experience at third with 19 starts. Second base isn't much better at 59 and 43, but it's a significant leap and also is the position most similar to shortstop where he has 312 games of experience.

That could put Chone Figgins back at third, the speedster's natural position before shifting to second for his first season in Seattle. But Zduriencik wasn't ready to take that leap just yet.

"We have not talked to Chone yet,'' he said. "I just spoke this morning with Eric [Wedge]. So, as we move forward, we've got a lot of time before spring training, but we would like to have discussions with our players sometime...I'd say in the next week to 10 days. Just to sort of give them the lay of the land and where things stand. Give them our opinions, hear their opinions and then some decisions could be made.''

Assuming Figgins lands back at third (he was a brutal defender at second), the Mariners could have an incredible defensive configuration, but that could come at a big cost to the offense. Jack Wilson won't hit whatsoever at short while Ryan is coming off a brutal offensive season although wrist surgery to correct the issue in spring training that plagued him through the year seems to have taken hold. Figgins, meanwhile, had a terrible season in a Mariners uniform and could also be poised to bounce back.

So why Ryan if all he is is a glorified new Jack Wilson?

Because the Mariners have a future at second and short, but need someone to get them there. As Geoff Baker writes, Ryan is expected to fill in at second until prospect Dustin Ackley is ready for primetime, which is likely late 2011. After 2011, Jack Wilson's contract expires which would allow Ryan to shift to shortstop and hold the seat warm for yet another prospect in Nick Franklin.

-- Evan Brunell

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