The Orioles netted a serviceable outfielder and potential leadoff hitter in Seth Smith during Friday’s trade with the Mariners, but comments from Baltimore GM Dan Duquette suggest that the club’s search for outfield depth isn’t quite over. The latest name to pop up on their radar could be that of free agent Brandon Moss, per a report from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.
Moss, 33, finished a two-year stint with the Cardinals in 2016, slashing .225/.300/.484 with 28 home runs during his last season in St. Louis. While the veteran hitter suffered an untimely slump during the second half of the year, bottoming out with a .191 average to finish the season, his overall value rose from 0.5 fWAR in 2015 to 1.4 in 2016.
Like Smith, Moss could give the Orioles another left-handed hitter to try in the leadoff spot, as well as another platoon option in the outfield corner. His power potential has already drawn some interest from the Phillies this winter, who have reportedly been in talks with him since late December.
The Mariners made a second trade today. On the heels of the Seth Smith–Yovani Gallardo deal, they have acquired Jarrod Dyson from the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Nate Karns.
The speedy Dyson, who is somehow 32 already, hit .278/.340/.388 with 30 stolen bases in 107 games last year. That was the best season of his big league career so far, and his 337 plate appearances were the most he has ever had. Despite being primarily a part timer in Kansas City, he has had at least 30 stolen bases for four of the past five seasons. He’ll line up in center field for the M’s, who will feature a speedy, defense-first outfield along with some combination of Leonys Martin, Ben Gamel, Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia.
In Karns, the Royals get a four year veteran who has pitched from the rotation and the pen. Karns has a 4.41 ERA in 54 games, 46 of them as a starter, with a K/BB ratio of 270/111 in 265.1 innings.
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.