Not even an hour before writing this, we were discussing the Mariners having made their 10th trade of the offseason. Well, now they’ve announced that this one goes to 11.
Outfielder Mallex Smith, who was acquired by the Mariners Wednesday afternoon, is on the move to the Rays in a deal that lands the Mariners starting pitcher Drew Smyly.
Smyly costs the Mariners Smith, infielder Carlos Vargas and left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough.
Smyly, 27, was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings last season for the Rays, but that was a down year. Prior to last season, Smyly was 24-15 with a 3.24 ERA (124 ERA+) and 1.17 WHIP in 395 big-league innings.
Given his age and a move to the AL West from the AL East, which is a plus due to the West’s better pitcher’s parks, a nice bounce-back for Smyly is likely in the cards.
Drew Smyly will join the Mariners’ rotation in 2017. USATSI
Also likely is that the Mariners’ rotation for 2017 is now filled out:
Chris Heston and Ariel Miranda provide depth as well. It’s definitely a rotation with lots of question marks, but the Mariners also have good upside.
As for the Rays’ end, Vargas is only 17. He hit .242/.344/.391 in 62 games in the Dominican Summer League last season. He’s obviously a long-term play.
On the flip-side, Smith played in 72 games for the Braves as a rookie, hitting .238/.316/.365 with 16 stolen bases. He played all three outfield positions, but he’s a center fielder by trade. Obviously Kevin Kiermaier is the everyday starting center fielder for the Rays, flanked by Colby Rasmus and Steven Souza, but Smith could serve as a capable fourth outfielder.
Yarbrough, a 25-year-old lefty, was 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 99 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings for Double-A Jackson last season. The only four sure things in the Rays’ rotation right now are Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb and Blake Snell — and that’s assuming no one else is traded — meaning Yarbrough could get a shot in the major-league rotation at some point in 2017