As we enter the final day of the Winter Meetings, the San Diego Padres seemed as if they were on the outside looking in. Like young boys standing outside the toy store window before Christmas, the club saw plenty of things they wanted, but so far, they haven't been able to get any of it. Perhaps the trade of Anthony Bass will yield some future superstar from the Rule 5 Draft. Until that future superstar produces for the Padres, San Diego will have to continue looking for help, and one such source could be Dustin Ackley.
This is a couple days old now, but it snuck under the radar, so we're covering it now. Sue us. Wait, don't. Seriously, let the delayed coverage slide.
If this were a free agency pursuit, the competition would be tough. The Padres can't compete with the Yankees' or the Mets' money. However, since any acquisition of Ackley would require a trade, San Diego might have the inside track. While it seems like the club has been shedding much of its young talent and not getting much in return (this is probably perception more than reality), the Padres still have a lot to offer in a trade package.
Padres trade Bass for PTBNL
It looks like the Padres will get the top Rule 5 pick from the Houston Astros in exchange for pitcher Anthony Bass.
How exactly would Ackley fit in? How much would the Seattle Mariners be asking for in return? Will the Padres actually pull the trigger? Tune in next time as the story of the Winter Meetings comes to its dramatic close - or just keep reading here. I'm not done typing yet.
Ackley is just 25 years old and under team control for what seems like an eternity. He is actually under team control through the 2017 season. He does not hit his first arbitration season until 2015. This bodes well for the Padres' style. They like players that won't cost them a ton immediately. It gives the club time to truly identify whether or not the money is worth spending. It also give the team time to flip Ackley if they decided to go that route, and based on the interest this offseason, there's no reason to think teams will simply give up on him. Ackley just finished his third Major League season. Overall, he has hit .245/.315/.354. Those numbers won't blow anyone away, but Ackley has that ever-covetted potential. He could break out, and if he could do it in a San Diego uniform, it would be a beautiful thing.
Considering the Mariners just signed Robinson Cano for eight billion years, Ackley has one less position he can play in Seattle. Up to this point, Ackley had been used as a second baseman almost as much as he was used in the outfield. With Cano in the fold, Ackley will be forced to stay in the outfield. Whether or not that reduces his playing time has yet to be determined. The Mariners are comfortable with the idea of him being a full-time outfielder, though.
#Mariners comfortable with Dustin Ackley as a full-time outfielder, given Cano will handle 2B duties for next, oh, 10 years.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) December 10, 2013
Perhaps Ackley would be given up for far less than he would have prior to the Cano deal. On the other hand, maybe the Mariners recognize they have a young player in which multiple teams are interested. That generally raises the return package prices.
With the Winter Meetings ending today, a lot of people think the bulk of the action is over. That's usually not the case. If San Diego does not leave Orlando with Ackley, that doesn't mean they won't get him. Price should not be a concern. The only real snag San Diego could hit if they truly want Ackley is what type of package the Mariners would ask for in return. It seems Seattle is ready to win now. If that's the case, would they want many of San Diego's young farm pieces? Maybe not.
Hey, there's only a few more months until spring training. We'll find out soon enough if this deal happens.