Tonight is Dustin Ackley bobblehead night at Safeco Field. However, Ackley isn’t playing. Manager Eric Wedge said he’s resting his second baseman, even though the Angels are throwing a right-hander.
Which is just plain stupid.
Ackley should be playing tonight regardless of the bobblehead matter. He’s a left-handed hitter who has hit righties far better than southpaws, so there’s certainly no good reason to rest him. He’s even 4-for-13 with a triple and a couple of RBI against Angels starter Ervin Santana, which is better than most of his teammates.
So those are the baseball reasons to put him in the lineup.
And there’s the other stuff, the stuff that a manager really shouldn’t think about when putting together a lineup, but that many of them would anyway, simply because they’re human.
I’m sure there are a whole bunch of 8- and 10-year-old kids out there whose favorite player is Dustin Ackley. Some of them live in Tacoma, Yakima, Vancouver or wherever and probably get to go to one or two games per year. This is the game their mom and/or dad took them to so that they could see their idol and get his bobblehead. And because Eric Wedge is a doodie head, they’re going to be half-disappointed.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.