He entered the system with huge promise as the second overall pick in the 2009 Draft and made his major league debut with flash and excitement in the second half of 2011, but Dustin Ackley's career with the Seattle Mariners ended today with a trade for two non-elite prospects.
The 27 year old now part-time outfielder was traded this afternoon to the New York Yankees for 23 year old outfielder Ramon Flores and 25 year old right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez, both of whom were with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Ackley had recently lost playing time to Franklin Gutierrez and other outfielders, starting just nine of Seattle's past 24 games, despite being on the strong side of the platoon and despite finally starting to come around with the bat, hitting .286/.316/.486 in that time frame. Even with that push, Ackley's 2015 line still stands at just .215/.270/.366 in 85 games, and his 584 career games in a Seattle uniform ultimately only produced a disappointing .243/.306/.366 slash over 2,220 plate appearances.
In return for Ackley, the Mariners add two players who aren't going to crack their Top-10 prospect list, but should serve as useful depth that can potentially contribute in the big leagues in Flores, an outfielder who is probably already able to fill Ackley's current role, and a bullpen arm in Ramirez with plus stuff if he can ever harness his command.
Flores -- who PinstripesPlus had as New York's No. 14 prospect coming into the season -- is a 5-foot-10, 190 pound outfielder out of Venezuela who throws and bats left-handed. Currently in his seventh pro season, Flores doesn't have any standout tools, but he has been lauded for his plate discipline -- even though he didn't draw a single walk in 33 big league trips to the plate this season for the Yankees. He has shown some increasing signs of the developing power that was projected for him back when he was a new face in New York's system, but that won't ever be a big part of his game. Primarily a left fielder in his MiLB career, Flores hit .286/.377/.417 in 73 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wiles-Barre this season.
The 6-foot-3 Ramirez is an intriguing arm with a big fastball (up to 98) and good changeup that mixes in a fringe slider, but he has had command and mechanical consistency issues, which ultimately led to him being switched to a relief role full-time last year. No. 21 on the pre-season prospect ranking from PinstripesPlus in 2014, Ramirez was originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Yankees and climbed steadily until an arm injury sidelined him for much of last year. This is his eighth year of pro ball, and he's averaged 10.5 SO/9 as a reliever in the minors the last two seasons while also pitching 13 innings out of the Yankees' pen this season and last.
Both Flores and Ramirez are headed to join the Rainiers in Tacoma.
The end of the road for Ackley, and the trade return for him, remain a reminder of what could have been for the Mariners, a franchise that has the second longest playoff drought in baseball. The 2009 draft in which Ackley was selected at No. 2 also produced All-Stars Mike Trout, Jason Kipnis and Nolan Arenado, among others. Seattle's pick now looks like Triple-A depth or up-and-down players.
Looking for more Mariners news, articles and player interviews? Want to keep up with which prospects are hot and cold for the M's? "Like" SeattleClubhouse on Facebook and follow SeattleClubhouse site Editor Rick Randall on Twitter at @randallball.