Speculation last month that the Mariners were close to calling up top prospect Dustin Ackley proved wrong, but now Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes that the former No. 2 overall pick may make his much-anticipated debut Monday.
Projecting call-ups is tricky at this point in the season because the service time ramifications aren’t set in stone, but Baker guesses that he’ll arrive on June 21, on the road against the Nationals.
Selected one pick after Stephen Strasburg in the 2009 draft, Ackley successfully transitioned to second base and is hitting .297 with nine homers and a .902 OPS in 64 games at Triple-A, posting a .415 on-base percentage with more walks (54) than strikeouts (38).
Adam Kennedy and Jack Wilson have been splitting time at second base, so Ackley’s arrival means the Mariners may look to unload Wilson’s contract and move Kennedy to third base, where he’d take playing time away from the struggling Chone Figgins.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.