Mariners trade Seth Smith to the Orioles for Yovani Gallardo

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We interrupt this slow news week with an actual trade. Of major leaguers, each of which play for teams with at least plausible cases for contention!

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Mariners have traded outfielder Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles for right handed starter Yovani Gallardo. There is also some cash going from Baltimore to Seattle in the deal.

Gallardo, who will turn 31 before the season, started 23 games for Baltimore in 2016, going 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 85/61 in 118 innings. It was easily the worst season he’s had in the majors and came after a 2015-16 offseason in which Baltimore expressed concern about his shoulder. He missed some time in the middle of the season with tendinitis in that shoulder. He is entering the second year of a two-year contract on which he will be plaid $11 million this season. There is a club option for 2018 at $13 million with a $2 million buyout. When he first signed with the O’s it was for three years but Baltimore restructured it into a two-year deal after encountering some concerns in his physical so, yeah, a lot of red flags here about the health of that shoulder.

Smith, a lefty who is 34, put up a pretty typical Seth Smith season in 2016, hitting 249/.342/.415 with 16 homers and 63 RBI, with almost all of his damage and work coming against right handed pitchers. Smith is on a club option for 2017, exercised by the Mariners in November, which will pay him $7 million, after which he is a free agent.

For the Mariners, it’s some pitching depth and the hope for a bounceback year for Gallardo, who was excellent in 2015 with the Rangers. For the O’s, one half of a platoon that can serve as Mark Trumbo insurance, I suppose, as their free agent corner outfielder/DH is likely going to walk in free agency.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.