According to Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News, the New York Yankees have placed utilityman Dustin Ackley on release waivers after he missed the majority of the 2016 season with a shoulder injury.
Dustin Ackley’s disappointing tenure with the New York Yankees most likely came to an end on Friday, as the team placed the former top prospect on release waivers. Unless another team claims him, which seems unlikely given his $3.2 million price tag, Ackley is likely to hit the free agent market when he clears waivers next week.
The former number two overall pick in the 2009 draft was memorably Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s only acquisition at the 2015 trade deadline after four-and-a-half largely mediocre seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Ackley was yet another one of Cashman’s attempts to buy-low on blue-chip talents who have fallen out of favor with their current clubs. This strategy has paid off pretty well with guys like Didi Gregorius and Nathan Eovaldi, but obviously you can’t win them all.
The 28-year-old was actually pretty good during his first healthy month in pinstripes, hitting .288/.333/.654 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 57 plate appearances down the stretch. That success failed to carry over into 2016, however, as he managed a meager .148/.273/.148 slash line in 70 plate appearances over the first two months before requiring season-ending shoulder surgery at the end of May.
The Yankees are short on 40-man roster space, so it has long seemed inevitable that Ackley would be on the cutting block this winter. It’s not out of the question that the organization looks to bring him back on a minor league deal, but given his pedigree, I would be willing to bet that he can find a guaranteed contract elsewhere with an opportunity for more playing time.
That said, if Ackley is willing to go to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre and act as the team’s safety net for Greg Bird and Tyler Austin, they could certainly do worse.
Probably the most intriguing aspect of Ackley’s game is his versatility. He’s a passable defender in the outfield corners, as well as first and second base. He offers a little pop from the left side and won’t turn 29 until February. All of those pieces add up to a fine bench piece, but probably not a great fit for the Yankees.