Mariners-Rays get busy with six-player trade
Jerry Dipoto isn’t wasting any time revamping the Mariners roster as the new general manager engineered a six-player trade with the Rays on Thursday that brings starting pitcher Nathan Karns, reliever C.J. Riefenhauser and well-regarded Minor League outfielder Boog Powell to the club.
In return, Tampa Bay received first baseman Logan Morrison, utility man Brad Miller and reliever Danny Farquhar. The move was the first trade for Dipoto since he was hired to replace Jack Zduriencik.
Karns, 27, was 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 27 games as a rookie right-hander with the Rays last season. The 6-foot-5. 225-pound Texas native led all American League rookies in innings pitched (147), strikeouts (145) and starts (26), while holding opponents to a .239 batting average before being shut down in the season’s final two weeks with some minor soreness in his forearm.
Riefenhauser, 25, made 17 appearances and posted a 1-0 record and 5.52 ERA over four stints with the Rays in 2015. In his final 11 appearances as a September callup, the left-hander had a 2.16 ERA in 8 1/3 innings and closed out the year with seven straight scoreless outings. He also appeared in 29 games in relief with Triple-A Durham where he was 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA and one save in 34 2/3 innings.
Powell, 22, is the No. 13 ranked prospect in the Rays organization by MLB.com’s Pipeline. He hit .295 with 16 doubles, nine triples, three homers and 18 stolen bases between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham. He was named to the Southern League All-Star team with Montgomery after hitting .328 with a .408 on-base percentage in 61 games, then batted .257 with 10 doubles, three triples and two home runs in 56 games with Durham.
Powell was obtained by trade from the A’s last year. He’s a left-hander who can play center field and has a low strikeout and high walk rate in the Minors, where he’s hit .308 with a .401 on-base percentage and 53 stolen bases in 294 games over four seasons. His official name is Herschel Mack Powell IV, but he’s gone by Boog Powell since his grandfather referred to him by the name of the former Orioles slugger during his childhood.
The Mariners gave up three players who were part of their Major League club the last two seasons. Morrison, 28, appeared in 146 games last year while hitting .225 with 17 homers and 54 RBIs, but lost playing time at first base with the midseason acquisition of Mark Trumbo. The Mariners also have Jesus Montero at first base.
Miller, 26, opened the season as Seattle’s starting shortstop, but lost that role to rookie Ketel Marte and was transitioned to the outfield. He hit .258 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs in 144 games while playing all three outfield spots as well as second, third and shortstop. Miller, a second-round Draft pick in 2011, hit .248 over 343 games with the Mariners over the past three seasons.
Farquhar, 28, was a big part of the Mariners’ bullpen success in 2014, but went 1-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 43 games over five different stints with Seattle last year. In three seasons with the club, the Pembroke Pines, Fla., native was 4-12 with a 3.85 ERA and 18 saves in 155 games.
All three of the outgoing Mariners have Florida ties. Miller grew up and still lives in Windermere, Fla., while Farquhar is a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Morrison was drafted by the Marlins, spent his first four Major League seasons in that organization and makes his offseason home in Jupiter, Fla.
Morrison earned $2.7 million last year and figures to make about $4 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent in 2017. The other five players involved in the deal are all in their pre-arbitration years.