Dustin Ackley Signs
As first reported by Jonathan Mayo, the Mariners have signed first round pick Dustin Ackley to a major league contract worth up to $9.5 million over five years (Added details from Jim Callis: $6 million signing bonus, $1.5 million in guaranteed salaries, $2.5 million in possible salaries depending on when he reaches the major leagues. The M’s got the deal done with the #2 pick in the draft just a few minutes before the deadline, which was expected when he was selected. This is just how Scott Boras operates – he knows that kids who sign at the last minute get more money than kids who sign early, so he just doesn’t even bother negotiating until the eleventh hour.
Ackley immediately becomes the Mariners best prospect, and he’s the kind of player who won’t need that much time in the minor leagues. He can fall out of bed and hit .300, so his development time will be focused on his defense in center field and the transition to hitting for power with a wood bat. I’d expect him to start next year at Double-A West Tennessee, and he could easily move up to Tacoma at some point.
Barring injury or some kind of unforeseen problem, Ackley’s going to come to spring training in 2011 looking for a job with the Mariners. He’s a legitimate All-Star talent, and you should expect to see him playing for the M’s in about 18 months or so.
This is a good day. Welcome the organization, Dustin.
Edit: For anyone worried about the fact that the deal is “only” for five years, this doesn’t change the amount of club controlled years the M’s have him for at all. Essentially, the M’s have pre-paid for Ackley’s first five seasons, buying out all of his pre-arb years and up to two years of arbitration, though more likely just one year of arbitration (assuming he spends 2010 in the minors). This is pretty standard stuff for premium draft picks. The M’s still control his rights for six full years. It’s a big contract, but it was still worth doing. He’s worth it.