Jack Curry of YES Network reports that the Mariners have traded outfielder/second baseman Dustin Ackley to the Yankees in exchange for minor leaguers Ramon Flores and Jose Ramirez.
Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft behind Stephen Strasburg and reached the majors in 2011 with a lot of prospect hype, but he simply hasn’t hit. His career batting average is just .243 and mediocre power and plate discipline add up to a poor .672 OPS.
Ackley brings some defensive versatility to the table, but he hasn’t topped a .700 OPS since 2011 and as a left-handed hitter hasn’t even done especially well versus right-handed pitching. At age 27 the Yankees clearly think he has some untapped potential, possibly as an alternative to Stephen Drew at second base.
Neither minor leaguer headed to Seattle is considered a top prospect, but Flores is a 23-year-old corner outfielder hitting fairly well at Triple-A and Ramirez is a 25-year-old Triple-A right-hander with the potential to be a useful reliever.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.