Wednesday, in another pair of choreographed trades Mariners G.M. Jerry Dipoto dealt highly considered left-handed pitching prospects Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to the Braves for speedy centerfield-type Malix Smith and right-handed reliever Shae Simmons. Less than an hour later, Smith together with infielder Carlos Vargas and LHP Ryan Yarbrough, was traded to Tampa Bay for left handed starter Drew Smyly.
Smyly is another veteran pitcher to add to a rotation that looks like:
It’s unclear how lefty Ariel Miranda fits into the pitching plans, but he is likely to join the bullpen as a second lefty/swingman.
As a result of the trade, the M’s had to designate Cody Martin. The Gonzaga graduate made two starts for the team last year, and theoretically he could be back if he clears waivers. This leaves Chris Heston and Rob Whalen in Tacoma to join Miranda as the second line of defense should the rotation suffer injury or ineffectiveness, This Mariners rotation seems deeper, with more quality reinforcements should they become necessary.
Even so the M’s starters do not pencil out quite the equivalent of say the Red Sox trio of David Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, Cy Young winners all. But veteran starters Gallardo and Smyly, both playing through injuries and trouble with the long ball in 2016 should be better. They join King Felix and Kuma, both looking for stronger seasons in 2017, and a James Paxton poised for greatness. I always hope for greatness. Maybe very goodness should be enough.
This trade should strengthen the Mariners sufficiently for a playoff run. DiPoto’s offseason moves clearly strengthened some positions, such as the trade to bring Jean Segura in to play shortstop. Other positions were deepened, such as the outfield, rotation and bullpen. The M’s may have a small core of stars, but the quality around the edges seems better than past seasons.
With this series of trades the last six days, the M’s should be all full up and ready to go. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jerry has something up his sleeve, but it seems like the team is ready to call in the moving trucks and head to Arizona.