Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto never enters his deep slumber, instead stays awake for six straight days which culminates with two trades in a single day. He is surely asleep now, the team seems to be set for the season.
Jerry Dipoto had another busy day in what has proved to be a busy off-season for the Seattle Mariners General Manager.
He completed two more trades on Wednesday, bringing his offseason total to eleven for his second off-season with the Mariners.
Dipoto has never been known to wait idly in the trade market, especially when he is actively trying to fill holes fro this Mariners team that is built around aging veterans with a rapidly closing window for contention.
The first trade of the day sent Mariners top pitching prospect Luiz Gohara and relief pitcher Thomas Burrows to the Atlanta Braves in return for outfielder Mallex Smith and relief pitcher Shae Simmons.
Smith from the moment the trade was reported was seen as an odd fit for this team, he profiles as a fourth outfielder with limited power and contact rates, but has high upside defensively and on the basepaths.
Yet, Smith wasn’t longed for this team; only about 45 minutes, as Dipoto was working the phones as soon as the trade with the Braves went final, he found a trade partner in the Tampa Bay Rays and acquired a guy he’s been after since the offseason started, Drew Smyly.
When the dust settled the Mariners ended up with Smyly and Simmons and parted ways with Gohara, Burrows, Vargas and Yarbrough.
Simmons is a fire-breathing right-handed reliever, with a fastball that averages 96mph and throws it over 60% of the time. He will also use a curveball,
He will also use a curveball, slider, and split. Simmons does have some experience in high leverage situations at the AAA level, but not as the team’s closer -the role he’s expecting to play in Tacoma.
Simmons made twelve appearances last year for AAA Gwinnett with an ERA of 1.50 and a K/9 of 10.50. He also appeared in seven games last year for the major league team and held an ERA of 1.35 in those appearances. He does have command issues and has a 2017 Steamer projected walk rate of nearly 4 BB/9.
Simmons should compete for a bullpen spot immediately and could help form a formidable end of the game when paired with Edwin Diaz or even be part of a trio of heat-throwers that includes Dan Altavilla.
But the real prize of Wednesday’s trades was Smyly. Dipoto was quoted today saying that he has
"“probably spent more time through the course of the offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other player”."
Smyly is a left-handed pitcher that the Mariners see operating in the back of their rotation. He’s never been much of an innings-eater that teams covet from their four or five starters but he does fit a need for this team that has been in the market for more starting pitchers.
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Smyly also fits the type of team that Dipoto has been building the past two years, a team centered on speed and defense in the outfield.
He was second in the league last year in fly ball rate at 49% and will be benefited by having two high-level outfielders roaming the Safeco Field grass next year.
The 2017 Mariners are finally starting to take shape after Dipoto’s work this offseason and this could be the last major move that we see this off-season.
The starting rotation appears to be set with Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton, Yovani Gallardo and Smyly. They also still have Ariel Miranda as organizational depth in case of the inevitable injury.
Adding another arm to this Mariners bullpen that lacked consistency last year certainly can’t hurt. And fans can now squint and see a real playoff team here.
Dipoto may still have some work yet to do and trades don’t stop once the season starts, but the Mariners are on the right track to contention.