Skip to content

Is it time for Mariners to demote Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak to Triple-A?

Jun 28, 2012, 12:43 PM EDT

Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak Getty Images

Thanks in large part to Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders, the Mariners offense hasn’t been as bad as expected this year. The team is struggling mightily right now, though, having scored just four runs in four games, and if changes are going to come, this would seem to be right part of the schedule to make them.

Dustin Ackley is hitting just .220 with two extra-base hits in 82 at-bats this month. He is walking quite a bit, but he’s also striking out a whole lot. With 24 strikeouts this month, he’s up to 67 in 281 at-bats for the season. Overall, he’s hitting .242/.318/.335.

Justin Smoak is doing even worse, and the homers are no longer obscuring that fact. He’s gone hitless in five straight games, leaving him at .206/.268/.341 for the season. He does have 11 homers in 267 at-bats, but they’re not making up for the absence of singles and doubles. In fact, he has just three doubles all season.

The Mariners are currently prepared to stay the course, manager Eric Wedge told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. Which makes sense. They weren’t expected to contend in the AL West this year anyway, and they don’t have any obvious upgrades awaiting in the minors. For all of Ackley’s struggles lately, he’s still not having that awful of a season. He has a respectable .722 OPS outside of Safeco. Smoak, if nothing else, is on pace for 23 homers and 67 RBI.

If the Mariners did make a move, it’d be more along the lines of a wake-up call than anything else. They know Ackley is the future at second base. They still have to figure out whether Smoak is a long-term answer. They certainly want him to be, but he now has 1,042 major league at-bats and a career OPS of .677. With Mike Zunino drafted to be the catcher of the future, the Mariners could move on from Smoak if he fails to improve and go to Jesus Montero at first base.

But nothing is happening right now. There isn’t really anyone to replace Ackley in Triple-A. Alex Liddi could step in at first if needed, but he’s a weaker bet than Smoak. If Smoak is still slumping when Mike Carp is ready to come off the DL, perhaps in three or four weeks, then maybe the Mariners will make the change. As is, they’re just going to hope for the best.

  1. schlom - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I’ve never understood why anyone thought that Smoak was going to be a star. Unless you put a ton of stock in 66 AB’s in Triple A in 2010, nothing in his minor league record jumps out at you: http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=smoak-001jus

    • Detroit Michael - Jun 28, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      Really? 902 OPS in AA in 2009 for half a season and then held his own in AAA for the second half of the season. Then a 902 OPS in AAA in 2010 for half a season before sticking in the majors. That plus not being too old plus favorable scouting reports made him a top prospect.

  2. IdahoMariner - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    this home-game streatch is a the first time they have had such a long break from traveling. they do better on the road, so i think the team is going to see how the boys do at home after actually being at home for a while, getting used to it a bit, after having a chance to actually settle in and see where to go from there.

  3. humanexcrement - Jun 28, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Maybe the Mariners can pay the Yankees back for the lemon they sold them by sending Smoak to the Bronx at a super-bargain rate. Hey, it’s worth a shot. he’d be better there than in Seattle. Who wouldn’t?

  4. tubbman27 - Jun 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I would say it’s time to project Smoak as nothing more than a platoon guy. He has a good looking swing and a nice just can’t seem to hit the ball hard with enough consistency. I’m not sure a move to AAA would really do anything for either of these two. Ackley still has a ceiling. Lefties tend to lag behind in the quick development. He’s still a stud.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 28, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      you can say that again

  5. tubbman27 - Jun 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I would say it’s time to project Smoak as nothing more than a platoon guy. He has a good looking swing and a nice eye just can’t seem to hit the ball hard with enough consistency. I’m not sure a move to AAA would really do anything for either of these two. Ackley still has a ceiling. Lefties tend to lag behind in the quick development. He’s still a stud.

  6. jwbiii - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    Smoak is there until Mike Carp comes off the DL with his shoulder injury. He’s just started taking live BP, so it could be another week or three. They could demote Ackley, move Seager to 2B, and call up Alex Liddi for 3B, but would that be much of an improvement?

  7. mmason0071 - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    What can they really do? If the Mariner’s demoted every that can’t hit the dugout would get real lonely.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Harper vs. Trout? It's just the opening act
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. I. Davis (3905)
  2. M. Machado (2681)
  3. M. Minor (2672)
  4. D. Robertson (2663)
  5. K. Farnsworth (2575)
  1. M. Cuddyer (2496)
  2. G. Springer (2489)
  3. O. Taveras (2337)
  4. C. Kershaw (2322)
  5. J. Mejia (2314)