The Mariners and Rays completed a five-player trade

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It’s been a busy offseason for the Mariners, who began restructuring their infield and outfield platoons last weekend after they acquired Danny Valencia from the Athletics. On Friday night, they confirmed a five-player deal with the Rays that sent infielder/outfielders Richie Shaffer and Taylor Motter to Seattle and first baseman Dalton Kelly and right-handers Dylan Thompson and Andrew Kittredge to Tampa Bay.

Neither Shaffer nor Motter have extensive major league experience, but Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto appeared grateful for the depth and flexibility the pair will bring to the 2017 roster. Over two seasons with the Rays, Shaffer primarily operated as a backup first and third baseman during the second half, batting a cumulative .213/.310/.410 in 142 PA that looked nothing like the 30-homer, .243/.338/.445 output he generated in two seasons and 778 PA with Triple-A Durham. Motter was another recent call-up for the Rays in 2016, and batted a dismal .188/.290/.300 in May and June before getting demoted to Triple-A for the remainder of the season. Despite his struggles on the major league stage, his experience at nearly every position (except for center field) will lend the Mariners more versatility heading into the 2017 season.

The Rays, meanwhile, will receive three minor league prospects from the Mariners in return. Right-hander Dylan Thompson heads the group as the Mariners’ fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft and No. 22 overall among the club’s 2016 prospect pool. Injuries kept him out of the minor league circuit in 2016, though he made a brief late season comeback in the Arizona Fall League.

Tampa Bay will also see 26-year-old righty Andrew Kittredge, who split his season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma in 2016, pitching to a 3.50 ERA and 10.5 K/9 rate in 72.0 innings with the two clubs. Rounding out the group is Dalton Kelly, a first baseman/right fielder who destroyed Midwest League pitching in 2016 with a .293/.384/.416 batting line in 564 PA for Single-A Clinton. Unlike Shaffer and Motter, none of the Rays’ newly-acquired prospects appear to be major league ready just yet, though they should give the club some extra padding in the farm system.

Kinsler back with Rangers as special assistant to GM Young

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler returned to the team as a special assistant to general manager Chris Young, his teammate in the organization’s minor league system nearly two decades ago.

Young said that Kinsler, who was part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, will be heavily involved in player development and providing mentorship to both players and staff.

Kinsler, a four-time All-Star, was part of a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, a year before his retirement. Kinsler played 14 seasons in the major leagues and spent the last three years in the front office of the San Diego Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations and player development. The 40-year-old has been living in the Dallas area, as he did throughout his playing career.

Kinsler played for the U.S. in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and Israel in last summer’s Olympics, and he will manage Israel in next month’s WBC.

Young and Kinsler were teammates for several weeks at Double-A Frisco in the summer of 2004, the same year the pitcher made his big league debut. They were in big league spring training together in 2005, then Young was traded after that season.

A 17th-round draft pick by Texas in 2003, Kinsler played 1,066 games for the Rangers from 2006-13, hitting .273 with 156 homers, 539 RBIs and 172 stolen bases. He hit .311 with a .422 on-base percentage in 34 postseason games. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame last summer.

Kinsler hit .269 with 257 homers, 909 RBIs and 243 stolen bases in 1,888 career games overall with Texas, Detroit (2014-17), the Los Angeles Angels (2018), Boston (2018), and San Diego (2019). He is one of only two MLB second baseman with 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in multiple seasons, and had the only six-hit cycle in a nine-inning game since 1900 on April 15, 2009.