While we’re on the subject of top
prospects, Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 selection in the 2009 First-Year
Player Draft also made news on Friday. Mariners general manager Jack
Zduriencik said Ackley will begin working out at second base in a move that could become permanent.
Ackley, 21, played outfield and
first base with North Carolina, but was drafted as a center
fielder. Zduriencik was careful to say that this would be an
experiment, but Ackley is expected to rise in the system rather
quickly, and with Franklin Gutierrez holding down center field quite
nicely, second base could be a natural fit.
Ackley is batting .315/.412/.425
with one home run, five doubles, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored in 20 games
for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. He is scheduled to
bat leadoff and play center field during Saturday’s AFL Championship
Game against the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
It’s important to note that Ackley is at least one year away from the majors, but in a semi-related story, the Mariners may consider moving current second baseman Jose Lopez to first base, according to a FOXSports.com.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins wants to continue playing in 2017.
Rollins, 38, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox for the 2016 season but hit a disappointing .221/.295/.329 over 166 plate appearances. The club released Rollins in the middle of June and he did not sign with a new team. He did join TBS as part of their playoff coverage.
Rollins is almost certainly looking at another minor league contract and will have to earn his way onto a major league roster by performing well in spring training.