The Mariners and Braves have agreed to a four-player trade that will send left-handed pitching prospects Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to Atlanta in exchange for right-hander Shae Simmons and outfielder Mallex Smith.
Likely the biggest name in the deal is Simmons who sat out the entire 2015 season with Tommy John surgery. At the time, he was expected to be the primary setup man in the Braves’ bullpen. Simmons slowly worked back to the majors over the course of last season, pitching 6.2 innings over seven games and allowing just one run.
Also headed to the Mariners is the speedy outfielder, Mallex Smith. At 23-years-old, Smith broke into the majors for the first time last season. Over 215 plate appearances, the left-handed hitter slashed .238/.316/.365, 16 percent worse than the league average by wRC+. However, with 16 stolen bases and 80-grade speed according to scouts, Smith’s future value is largely tied to his abilities on the basepaths.
In exchange, the Braves are acquiring two top prospects from the Mariners, the most intriguing being Gohara. The 20-year-old left-hander has yet to appear above Single-A. Currently the fifth-ranked prospect in the Mariners’ system, Gohara boasted a 27.5 percent strikeout rate over 54.1 innings with Class-A Clinton last season. Still a bit raw according to scouts, Gohara made significant steps in athleticism and command last season. Gohara is still quite a ways from the majors, but will join a bevy of high-level pitching prospects in the Braves system.
Like Gohara, Burrows is also a left-handed pitching prospect. The 22-year-old was selected in the fourth-round of this past entry draft. Over 24.2 innings with Low-A Everett, Burrows struck out allowed seven earned runs while striking out 37 batters and walking 11. According to scouts, Burrows boasts a plus fastball and slider and has the ability to progress quickly through the minors. That being said, the Braves will likely take their time developing their wealth of prospects.
This is yet another move by the Braves geared toward stockpiling pitching prospects. According to MLB Pipeline—and not including Gohara or Burrows—eight of the top 12 prospects in the Braves system already are pitchers. While Gohara and Burrows are both relievers, perhaps this is an effort to follow in the Mets’ footsteps and stockpile arms.
Meanwhile, Jerry Dipoto—already one of the most active general managers in the league—may not be finished quite yet:
Jerry Dipoto isn't done yet. He's working on another deal that could include Mallex Smith, the OF he just acquired from the #Braves.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 11, 2017
While Smith could be an asset for the Mariners, it’s possible that Dipoto could be looking for a more impactful player to contribute at the big league level for this upcoming season.