UPDATE: The Mariners have now flipped Mallex Smith to Tampa Bay, along with two minor leaguers, for starter Drew Smyly.
2:49 PM: The Braves and Mariners have made a trade involving four young players: Seattle is sending lefties Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to Atlanta in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and righty reliever Shae Simmons.
Gohara, a minor leaguer, spent last season at two separate single-A levels. The 20-year-old Brazilian made 13 starts and posted a 1.81 ERA while striking out 81 batters in 69.2 innings. He is, according to Baseball America, the M’s third best prospect. Burrows is a 22-year-old who was drafted out of college last season and pitched 20 games in relief in low-A ball.
In Smith, the Mariners get a center fielder who will turn 24 in May. He played 72 games for Atlanta in his rookie season, posting a line of .238/.317/.365 while stealing 16 bases. Speed is definitely Smith’s calling card: he stole 88 bases in 2014 in the minors. Smith’s path to regular playing time in Atlanta became questionable, however, once the Braves signed Ender Inciarte to a contract extension last month.
Simmons, a reliever, has pitched 33 games in relief in two big league seasons. He’s 26. He missed the entire 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery.
In Gohara, the Braves get a young starter with upside. In Smith the M’s get a speedy outfielder. The other two dudes are throw-ins, it would seem.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.