Mariners swing 2 trades to land Smyly

Seattle also acquires reliever Simmons; Dipoto: 'This is our team'

Mariners swing 2 trades to land Smyly

SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto continued his busy offseason with two more trades on Wednesday, filling out his rotation with the acquisition of lefty Drew Smyly from the Rays and adding a solid bullpen piece in Shae Simmons from the Braves.

Dipoto said the deals likely complete his major work in a winter in which he has made 11 trades involving 33 players and signed a pair of free agents.

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In the Mariners' first deal of the day, a four-player swap with the Braves, Seattle added Simmons and speedy outfielder Mallex Smith -- who was then sent to the Rays in the four-player trade for Smyly.

Seattle gave up a pair of Minor League left-handers to the Braves in Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. Gohara, 20, was Seattle's No. 5-ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com. Burrows was ranked No. 25.

The Mariners then sent left-hander Ryan Yarbrough -- their No. 13 prospect -- and Minor League shortstop Carlos Vargas to Tampa Bay along with Smith to acquire Smyly.

To make room on their 40-man roster, the Mariners designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment.

Smyly stands as the key acquisition, and Dipoto said he spent more time this winter in pursuit of the 27-year-old southpaw than on any of the other things he's done.

"Smyly really fits us," Dipoto said, noting the five-year veteran is a fly-ball pitcher who should fare well in Safeco Field with Seattle's new defensive-minded outfield. "He's a proven performer in the American League. He fills out our rotation nicely."

Mariners' busy offseason

Smyly will slide into a starting five that also includes Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Yovani Gallardo. Dipoto said Ariel Miranda will be stretched out as a starter in the spring but would likely fill the second lefty spot in the bullpen if everyone stays healthy.

Smyly is in his second year of arbitration and has two years of team control remaining. He's projected to make about $6.9 million this year, per MLBTradeRumors.com.

Smyly was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA and established career highs last season with 30 starts, 175 1/3 innings and 167 strikeouts. Over his final 12 starts, he was 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA. He recorded four double-digit strikeout games, a mark topped by only three AL pitchers.

In five Major League seasons with Detroit (2012-14) and Tampa Bay (2014-16), the 6-foot-3 left-hander is 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA in 156 games, including 85 starts. He was selected by Detroit in the second round of the 2010 Draft and was traded to Tampa Bay as part of the David Price deal between the Tigers, Rays and Mariners on July 31, 2014.

Simmons, 26, is another young boost to Seattle's bullpen.

"He's a pretty big key as well," Dipoto said. "Shae has four years of control. He missed 2015 with Tommy John surgery but was back in the big leagues last year. He sits 96-100 [mph] with the fastball and has a wipeout slider. We're really excited to plug him in. He joins a bullpen we feel has chance to be a pretty good group as well."

S. Simmons' first career save

Simmons made seven relief appearances with Atlanta last year after returning from elbow surgery, posting a 1.35 ERA with one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings with the Braves after working back up through the Minor Leagues.

Simmons has pitched 33 games in the Majors since his debut with Atlanta in 2014, going 1-2 with one save and a 2.54 ERA. He was a 22nd-round Draft pick out of Southeast Missouri State in 2012. In four years in the Braves' Minor League system, he was 3-4 with 41 saves and a 1.80 ERA in 107 games, including 13 starts, with 172 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings.

The Mariners gave up two of their top of their top young starting prospects in Gohara, who was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 13 starts with short-season Class A Everett and Class A Clinton last year, as well as Yarbrough, the Southern League Pitcher of the Year for Double-A Jackson.

But Dipoto said the recent additions of Miranda, Chris Heston, Max Povse and Rob Whalen and the emergence of Andrew Moore gives him confidence in the depth behind a solid Major League rotation that has two or more years of team control for all five veteran starters.

Dipoto has now made 36 trades since becoming Seattle's GM 16 months ago. Wednesday's deal with the Braves was his second trade with Atlanta this winter after swapping top outfield prospect Alex Jackson for right-handed starters Whalen and Povse. Dipoto also has dealt twice with the Rays this winter, having moved Minor Leaguers Andrew Kittredge, Dalton Kelly and Dylan Thompson for utility players Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer.

In all, Dipoto has made 11 trades this offseason, five more than any other team (the Braves and Padres have each made six). The other four teams in the AL West have combined for 10 deals, with the Angels accounting for half of those.

"You may not hear from us again," Dipoto said. "I am 100 percent certain we will now look toward Minor League deals, bringing guys in to compete in camp for depth roles. But what you see now is what you get. This is our team."

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
While Smyly produced a solid 3.4 K/BB ratio with a 1.27 WHIP in 2016, his fly-ball tendencies proved troublesome. Posting a career-high 49.3 percent fly-ball rate, the left-hander allowed 32 home runs in 175 1/3 innings and recorded a 4.88 ERA as a result. But by escaping the power-charged AL East, Smyly could rediscover the form that led to a 3.24 ERA from 2012-15.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.