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Mariners, Rays swap Brad Miller, Nathan Karns in six-player trade

The teams pulled off a surprising six-player deal on Thursday night.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We have our first major trade of the offseason. The Rays announced Thursday night that they have acquired infielder Brad Miller, first baseman Logan Morrison and right-hander Danny Farquhar from the Mariners in exchange for right-hander Nathan Karns, left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser and outfielder Boog Powell.

The six-player deal was completely unforeseen, but serves as the first significant move in the tenure of new Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Tampa Bay had previously been hesitant to move Karns despite heavy interest in advance of the July non-waiver trade deadline, but was willing to part with him for three major-league pieces.

Miller, 26, is often compared to former Ray Ben Zobrist due to his ability to play all over the field and produce offensively. Miller is primarily a shortstop and will likely see significant time there for the Rays in place of free agent Asdrubal Cabrera, but has also seen time at second base, third base and all three outfield positions in the major leagues.

Morrison, 28, returns to the state of Florida after spending two years with the Mariners after being acquired by the Marlins two offseasons ago. He has the ability to play first base or left field, and will likely see the majority of his time in the outfield for a Rays team that has options like Desmond Jennings, Brandon Guyer and Daniel Nava in its current left field mix. Morrison may also serve as a designated hitter.

Farquhar, 28, is a Florida native and will slot into the Rays bullpen after spending the last three years of his career with the Mariners. In 2015, he posted a 5.12 ERA in 43 appearances but showed major-league success in a 2014 season in which he was 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 66 relief appearances.

Karns, 27, serves as the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners' side after a breakout season in which he posted a 7-5 record and 3.67 ERA in 27 appearances (26 starts) for the Rays. He will join Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton in a transitioning Mariners rotation that may lose Hisashi Iwakuma to free agency this winter. Karns is controllable through the 2020 season, making him very attractive to a Mariners' team in search of pitching.

Riefenhauser, 25, has made 24 appearances out of the Rays' bullpen over the past two years, posting a 6.30 ERA in 20 innings.

Powell, 22, was originally acquired by the Rays as part of their deal with the Athletics for Zobrist last winter, and hit .295/.385/.392 with three homers and 18 steals in 117 games with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham this season. He was recently ranked by MLB.com as the thirteenth-best prospect in the Rays' system.