The Mariners on Friday traded a starter and an outfielder, acquiring in return a starter and an outfielder.
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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made two separate trades to change the dynamic of his team, dealing Seth Smith to the Orioles for Yovani Gallardo before then swapping Nate Karns for Jarrod Dyson in a trade with the Royals. Dipoto likened the moves to a four-player swap, saying the deals didn't much change the team from a payroll standpoint.
The deals, then, were about reshaping the roster. In Dyson, the team acquired a 32-year-old who stole 30 bases last season while covering a lot of ground in the Kansas City outfield.
“Jarrod brings us a winning pedigree, along with elite level defense and base running,” Dipoto said. “He joins players like Leonys Martin and Jean Segura in creating a disruptive element on the bases to our offensive game, while also enhancing our ability to prevent runs on defense.”
The team also acquired shortstop Jean Segura earlier this offseason, giving the M's a speed element that was missing from a team that stole just 56 bases in 2016.
Gallardo had a forgettable first season in Baltimore last year, going 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA in 23 starts. With two years remaining on his deal, the O's cut bait, and Dipoto said the Mariners were more than happy to pick up the 30-year-old.
"Gallardo gives us the veteran presence that we have been searching for," Dipoto said. "He has a track record of durability and success as a starting pitcher.
"After examining the free agent and trade market, Yovani is the best fit for our club as we move forward this off-season."
The Orioles got arguably the best end of either of the two deals, acquiring Smith to at least be the right side of a platoon in a corner outfield spot. Smith hit 16 home runs with 63 RBI last year, batting .256/.351/.431 with all 16 homers coming against right-handed pitching.
Karns didn't fare well in his first season out of Tampa, posting a 5.15 ERA in 22 games, including 15 starts. He had a much more attractive 4.05 FIP and should be in the running for a rotation spot with the Royals.
The moves could also have a ripple effect for one of the highest-profile remaining free agents.
After dealing Gallardo, the Orioles were reported to possibly have interest in Jason Hammel, who remains unsigned. O's general manager Dan Duquette told Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio that the team likes him, "especially the way that he pitched for us."
Baltimore, of course, was where Hammel resurrected his career in 2012 after a stay in Coors Field. Hammel pitched to a 3.43 ERA in 20 starts with the O's that year, and he's won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons.
This past year he went 15-10 with a 3.83 ERA but faded down the stretch and wasn't extended a qualifying offer by the Cubs this winter. The 34-year-old has found free agency to be unkind, and a report in late December said he'd received only one-year offers from interested teams.
Even if it isn't Hammel, Duquette told the radio hosts "we'd like to add another veteran pitcher" before the season starts. They've got no shortage of options, as a number of productive veterans -- including Jorge De La Rosa, Brett Anderson, Doug Fister and Tyson Ross, among many others -- remain without jobs as we approach spring training.
Quick Hits: Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Orioles have expressed interest in free agent slugger Brandon Moss. It was also noted after the Seth Smith trade that the team hasn't closed the door on a Mark Trumbo reunion. Both Trumbo and Moss, who hit .225/.300/.484 with 28 home runs in 2016, would likely fill in as designated hitter for the O's, who may be forced to replace Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez from their 2016 squad ... According to Morosi, the Astros continue to talk to the White Sox and remain one of the "most serious suitors" for Jose Quintana. It's hard to tell at this point whether a serious enough suitor will emerge to convince the Sox to deal their 27-year-old de facto ace, with Chris Sale now gone ... As discussed in this space last week, Brandon Phillips in November vetoed a trade to the Braves, but Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM reported Friday that "there is still a possibility" the trade could get ironed out. Bowden said the Reds "acknowledge that they made promises and assurances to Phillips that they are not living up to." Perhaps we'll see something get worked out after all ... FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that C.J. Wilson is "progressing steadily" following July shoulder surgery and could have a showcase in February. Wilson began a throwing program more than a month ago, per Rosenthal, and given his age and injury history an interested team shouldn't have to pay much to see what the 36-year-old has left in his left arm ... According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates have discussed a multi-year contract extension with shortstop Jordy Mercer. Mercer batted .256/.328/.374 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI in 2016 and will remain under team control through at least the next two years, regardless of whether an extension is reached ... Royals signed RHP Brandon League to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. League hasn't pitched in a major league game since 2014 and is coming off a shoulder injury, so it's certainly a low-cost flyer for KC ... The Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus in Japan announced Sunday that they had signed former MLB 12-time All-Star Manny Ramirez. The Shikoku Island League Plus is independent baseball and in no way associated with Nippon Professional Baseball. Good for Manny to enjoy the game so much that at 44 years old he's willing to take such a low-profile gig just to stay in baseball.