And there’s your long-awaited Tampa Bay Rays pitcher trade.
It’s been discussed and dissected all offseason (particularly here within the context of the Cubs’ desire for controllable starting pitching), and it’s been expected just as long. But which Rays pitcher would go? Well, it turns out it was not a surprise like Chris Archer, and was the lefty many figured would be the first to go:
#Rays have acquired OF Mallex Smith, minor league SS Carlos Vargas & minor league LHP Ryan Yarbrough from SEA in exchange for LHP Drew Smyly
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) January 11, 2017
Smyly, 27, can be controlled for two more years via arbitration, but projected to make a healthy $6.9 million in 2017. That the Rays would be willing to part with him for a nice group of prospects is not a surprise.
As for the Mariners, they woke up this morning not quite having the right pieces to acquire Smyly, it seems, so just a couple hours ago, they did this:
#Mariners acquire RHP Shae Simmons & OF Mallex Smith from Atlanta for LHP Luiz Gohara & LHP Thomas Burrows.
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) January 11, 2017
It looks, then, like the Mariners specifically wanted to get Mallex Smith today (he would have been an odd fit in the Mariners’ crowded outfield, which just added speedy defender Jarrod Dyson) so that they could get Smyly from the Rays. Which makes the statement GM Jerry Dipoto released right after the first trade kind of humorous in retrospect:
— Mariners (@Mariners) January 11, 2017
“Shae Simmons is this and that and this and that … Mallex Smith was also in the trade.”
The Mariners have now made 11 – ELEVEN – trades this offseason, as Dipoto breaks into a cold sweat at any moment there is not a deal actively in the works. Good for him. It’s fun to follow from a distance.
Whether it turns the Mariners into a contender in 2017, we shall see.
As for the Rays, they do what they have done for years: build up a player and then trade him for young talent before he gets too expensive. That may well be the only starting pitcher they deal this offseason, but it’s possible they look to shop guys like Alex Cobb or Jake Odorizzi at the trade deadline if they’re not looking competitive.
The Braves, for their part, add a couple pitching prospects to their tremendous stable. I probably should have included them in a recent discussion about the NL teams that have rebuilt very well in recent years (Phillies, Brewers).