Smyly will 'forever be grateful' for time with Rays

Smyly will 'forever be grateful' for time with Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Drew Smyly will be heading west after the Rays traded the left-hander to the Mariners as part of a four-player deal on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Smyly replied to an email asking him about his time with the Rays.

"I want to thank the Tampa Bay organization for the opportunity and trust they showed in me since Day 1 of becoming a Ray," Smyly wrote. "There's no doubt in my mind I've become a better pitcher since arriving. I will forever be grateful to everyone in the organization that has helped me grow as a player on the field, and a man off the field.

"I loved my time there and was able to receive countless information about myself that I never knew before, and will carry that with me to Seattle. I'm blessed to be a Major League Baseball player and can't wait for the new challenge in Seattle."

The 27-year-old Smyly, who was acquired in the 2014 trade that sent David Price to the Tigers, went 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts for the Rays in 2016, establishing career highs in starts, innings pitched and strikeouts. Over his final 12 starts, he went 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA.

Over parts of three seasons with Tampa Bay, Smyly went 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA and 288 strikeouts in 49 starts.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow him on Twitter at @_wwchastain. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.