Dustin Ackley has hit .429 with a 1.143 OPS in 11 games at Triple-A since being demoted back to the minors by the Mariners last month, but whenever he returns to the majors it might not be as a second baseman.
Seattle seems committed to giving rookie Nick Franklin a lengthy opportunity to establish himself as the long-term second baseman and last night the Mariners had Ackley start in left field at Triple-A.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Ackley is also expected to get some reps in center field and right field while in Tacoma. Ackley played the outfield in college before Tommy John surgery forced a move to first base and he’s been almost exclusively a second baseman as a pro, logging zero time in the outfield before yesterday.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.