With second base now off limits for a good decade or so, the Mariners have to be open to moving Dustin Ackley and/or Nick Franklin. According to CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman, the Mets, Padres and Yankees have already inquired about Ackley.
Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, has hit a modest .245/.315/.354 in 1,324 major league at-bats, but he may have taken a step forward in the second half of last season, when he hit .304/.374/.435 in 184 at-bats. The Mariners were mostly using him a center fielder then, with Franklin starting at second. Overall, he made 49 starts at second, 46 in center and eight in left last season.
The Mets and Yankees, at least, would be looking at Ackley as a second baseman, it seems. The Mets are strongly considering trading Daniel Murphy, opening up the position for them, and the Yankees, of course, just lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners. The Padres might also use him at second if they trade Chase Headley and move Jedd Gyorko back to third.
The Mariners, though, could keep Ackley and continue to play him in the outfield. As is, they’re still looking for help out there; they’re still considering Nelson Cruz and they have some interest in re-signing Franklin Gutierrez. If the season started tomorrow, they’d probably have Michael Saunders, Ackley and either youngster Abraham Almonte or utilityman Willie Bloomquist starting.
Danny Picard of Boston Metro reports that, during Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed by security. The man was in the media-credentialed area next to the Red Sox dugout but he did not have media credentials. He was, however, using a small camera and texting frequently. When the man was taken away from the area, an Astros staffer tried to intervene, saying he was authorized to be in the area. Security did not buy the story, so the man was not allowed to return to that area but was allowed to remain in the ballpark.
This wasn’t the first time security had been made aware of the man. Apparently the same man had been up to some shady business during the ALDS against the Indians as well, which means the Astros may have been cheating throughout the postseason.
Representatives from all three teams have thus far opted not to comment on the matter. MLB chief communciations officer Pat Courtney said in an email on Tuesday, “We are aware of the matter and it will be handled internally.”
Teams, especially nowadays, are paranoid in the postseason about sign-stealing, so they’re always doing their due diligence to make sure their signs are secure. Sign-stealing is part of the gamesmanship of baseball. Players and coaches are, obviously, allowed to use their eyes, ears, and mouths to communicate about opposing teams’ signs. They’re not allowed to use any kind of technology, including cameras and cell phones. The Astros thought they could get away with this and they were wrong. Even if MLB’s look into the matter doesn’t result in anything, the Astros’ recent and upcoming accomplishments may be looked at with a raised eyebrow.