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Mariners sign Dustin Ackley to minor-league deal

The former No. 2 overall pick will see if he can get his career back on track with the club that drafted him.

Kansas City Royals v Seattle Mariners Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Mariners are bringing back 2009 No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley on a minor-league deal, as Roster Resource’s Jon Becker first reported on Wednesday and FanCred’s Jon Heyman later confirmed:

Ackley hasn’t played in the majors since 2016 and has never been able to replicate an encouraging rookie campaign during which he hit .273/.348/.417 with six homers (good for a 120 OPS+) over 376 plate appearances in 2011. He has a career .241/.304/.367 slash line with 46 homers over six major-league seasons, and during his most recent MLB stint, he posted a miserable .148/.243/.148 slash line over 70 PAs for the Yankees.

Ackley has spent the past two seasons playing at the Triple-A level in the Angels organization, and he hasn’t made much of an impact in either year, hitting .261/.340/.376 with six homers in 2017 and then .286/.378/.398 with four homers in 2018. He’s still just 30 years old, though, so the Mariners will hope he can become a late-blooming contributor in the same way that guys like Tommy Pham and Max Muncy have been in recent years — or, perhaps more realistically, make him serviceable enough at the plate so that he can serve as a utilityman. With experience at first base, second base, and every outfield position, Ackley could be a versatile option off the bench if he can develop enough offensive consistency.