|Dustin Ackley (hj_west, Wikimedia Commons)|
Ackley, we know. He was supposed to hit for a high average and the question was how much power he would flash. Instead, he has struggled to hit and gleaned most of his value out of his defense. Ackley is suffering though a miserable 2015 season, easily the worst of his career. Perhaps he will bounce back with a change of scenery, particularly one with a short right field porch like Yankee Stadium.
Interestingly, Ackley was in the announced lineup tonight, so perhaps this trade came together quickly. If Ackley had not been in the lineup would anyone have thought a trade was about to go down? I doubt it, and that says about all you need to know about Ackley's 2015 and why this is not a significant deal.
The Yankees must like Dustin Ackley to some degree, because the Mariners got a respectable return. It is probably a stronger return than what the M's got from the Yankees for Ichiro several years back (D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar).
Ramon Flores is an outfielder with fringy tools. Zduriencik on an interview with 710AM Seattle mentioned that bullpen coach Mike Rojas was on a coaching staff for a team that Flores played with in Venezuela over the winter and spoke highly of his character. Flores got a cup of coffee in the majors this year, and struggled, though only in 32 at-bats. In AAA his triple-slash is .286/.377/.417 which speaks to his scouting reports. I like the high on-base percentage because the Mariners are starved for OBP, though nothing else about the line suggests raw tools or upside. He is probably a fourth or fifth outfielder at best, but brings a skillset the Mariners have largely ignored the past few years. Flores actually takes some pitches, works some counts, and generally maximizes the talent he has.
Jose Ramirez is the more interesting piece in return. Ramirez, although 25 years old, has some upside as a reliable bullpen arm. Zduriencik, in the aforementioned 710AM interview, mentioned that scouting reports have Ramirez pitching in the mid to upper 90s. He has a live arm, and has 56 strikeouts in 49.2 AAA innings this year. Like Flores, Ramirez has some limited MLB experience which hasn't gone well. Control issues have hampered him in a paltry 13 innings over the past two seasons, though the strikeouts have carried into the majors.
The Yankees got the better end of this deal. I still believe Dustin Ackley is a capable MLB player. New York seems likely to put Ackley back at second base, where he was an underrated defender and his fringy offense plays much better. The Yankees just acquired a capable second baseman for spare parts on their 40-man roster.
However, the Mariners got something. They added some outfield and pitching depth, two things they could use. Flores and his on-base skills refresh my soul like a long sip of ice water on a sweltering day. Guys like Ramirez, from time to time, find some command and emerge as quality bullpen arms. Ackley wasn't playing regularly now, he wasn't likely to play regularly in future years, and he had become a disappointment given the lofty expectations that followed him from draft day. The deal is what it is. You can go on with the rest of your day now.