They say that idle hands are the devil’s plaything. But Jerry Dipoto seems to be doing his best to prove that wrong; making his Mariners weirder and weirder with each passing trade. In his eighth deal this offseason, and probably his most confusing, he sent outfielder Seth Smith to the Orioles for starter Yovani Gallardo:
Well, they get a starter. Whether anybody actually needs Gallardo at this point is probably an open question. He is still just 31, and has been a durable starter for the Brewers and Rangers. But the righty has seen his velocity decline in each of the last two years and he was on the DL with shoulder tendinitis for two months in 2016. When he was on the mound, frankly, Orioles fans wished he wasn’t. In 23 starts, he had a 5.42 ERA, and walked almost five batters per nine innings while allowing a ton of home runs. He also transitioned from a ground ball to a fly ball oriented pitcher at exactly the wrong time. He is owed at least $13 million for this season, though the Mariners have an option they could exercise if he puts himself back together.
Smith, on the other hand, is a 34 year old platoon corner outfielder making $7 million. He’s declined offensively since his excellent 2014, and likely will continue to do so. And he is bad defensively. But he can still hit righties at a decent clip, and probably will see a power spike in his move from Safeco to Oriole Park. It could mean that the Orioles are out on free agent Mark Trumbo, though Baltimore could apply the savings they’re getting toward bringing back the slugger, and put Smith at DH.
Seattle will add Gallardo to a starting rotation that was a little sparse after Taijuan Walker was traded to the Diamondbacks. The move to Safeco should reduce the homers he allows, and allow Gallardo to work more up in the zone. But if he can’t get his fastball over 90 MPH, it’s not going to matter much. At best, he will eat innings.
it’s unclear who will play the outfield corners for Seattle this year. Tyler O’Neill may be close to ready, but he’s also only 21 and has massive strikeout problems. Neither Mike Freeman nor Ben Gamel inspire a ton of confidence either. But I’m sure DiPoto has 2-3 more deals in the works to fill those holes before the Mariners report to camp this February.
Author’s note: The author had a stupid brain fart and forgot Mitch Haniger was traded to Seattle, not from it:
@MikeBatesSBN I read your trade article ..Mariners plan on mitch haniger..to start in one corner outfield and either ben gamel or heredia— mike shutt (@12pringles) January 6, 2017
Too many trades to keep track of man. Slow down, Jerry.