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:
Source: Dustin Ackley is returning to the #Mariners on a minor league deal. Ackley, 30, was drafted 2nd overall by Seattle in 2009 and played last season in AAA for the #Angels, slashing .286/.378/.398— Jon Becker (@jonbecker_) January 9, 2019
Dustin Ackley has deal to return to Mariners @jonbecker_ 1st mentioned— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 9, 2019
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.