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Mariners Move on from Karns, Trade Dyson

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

After the Gallardo-Smith deal, the Mariners were in need for a replacement outfielder. The ideal replacement would be a player who provided more defense and a threat on the base-paths. Enter Jarrod Dyson.

The Player

Dyson is a 32 year outfielder, formerly of the Kansas City Royals. He throws right and hits left, and is entering the final year of his orignal club control years. He doesn't have the same offensive profile as Seth Smith, adding almost no power to the lineup, but had a career year in 2016. He had a career high OBP of .340 and cut his strikeout numbers down significantly.

Dyson is a major upgrade to Smith in every other way. Defensively, Dyson grades out as elite at all 3 outfield spots. General Manager Jerry Dipoto believes Dyson will play in leftfield,  but will allow Manager Scott Servais to give Leonys Martin a much needed break. His arm is above-average, and won't prevent him from playing all 3 spots.

Perhaps most importantly, Dyson is an excellent base-runner. He has 30 steals or more in 4 of his 5 full seasons, and has an 85% success rate when attempting to steal.

The Cost

In order to recieve the 3 fWAR Dyson, Dipoto had to deal one of his favorites, pitcher Nathan Karns. Karns figured to start the year as the #5 starter, and still has upside left in his game. Karns got off to a great tart in 2016, but fell off towards the middle of the season, before spending several weeks on the DL with a bad back. Karns is 29 years old, so it is possible he will never reach his potential, but he could be a solid #3 type if he ever does. 

Dyson is in the final year of club control, and is expected to make just $2.5 million in 2016.

The Fit

Dyson appears to be a perfect fit for Jerry Dipoto's vision of the Mariners Outfield. His excellent speed allows him to go gap to gap to chas down any flyballs, and his versatility allows the Mariners to play matchups with its other outfielders. 

Dipoto also wants a lineup that constantly puts pressure on the opposing pitcher. Dyson checks that box. His dynamic speed forces the defense to be nearly perfect with the ball, and if he can continue to cut down on his strikeouts, Dyson probably fits into the #2 slot in the lineup, allowing Cano, Cruz, and Seager to drive him in.

The Verdict

This is a "win now move" and Dyson is a near perfect fit for Dipoto's vision. Losing a talent like Nate Karns is tough for a 32 year old with only 1 year of control, but it is a necessary cost for the Mariners closing window.

Dipoto Lands Gallardo for Smith

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Dipoto

had been on radio silence for nearly a month, but busted through the looking glass, completing 2 deals today. In the first, he sent Team Dad Seth Smith to the Orioles for Yovani Gallardo. Just a few hours later, Dipoto replaced Smith with Jarrod Dyson, but more on that later. For now, lets break down Yovani Gallardo and the trade that sent him here.

The Player- Yovani Gallard is a 31 year old RHP who has spent time with the Brewers, Rangers and Orioles. 2016 was Gallardo's worst season, posting a 5.42 ERA while walking 4.5 per nine innings. He was barely over replacement value, garnering just a 0.6 fWAR.

However; Gallardo has a long track record of success. In fact, from 2009-2015, his fWAR never fell below 2.0 and his ERA never went above 4.18. He is no longer strike out pitcher, averaging under 7 k/9, but he is still an extreme groundball pitcher. He has never had a GB rate lower than 43% and averaged a 49.3% grounball rate from 2012-2015.

Gallardo also has a track record of being available, something the other candidates within the Mariners Farm System do not. From 2009-2015, he never threw fewer than 180 innings and never made fewer than 30 starts. The one achilles heel for Gallardo is his propensity to give up the long ball. In the past 7 seasons, he has only had a HR% lower than 10% twice.

There are no two ways around it, Gallardo's 2016 was bad. But the rest of the track appears to be exactly what Jerry Dipoto has been searching for. Reliable, above average innings with tons of groundballs and a hope that moving to Seattle will limit his HR issue.

While he may give up some homeruns, Gallardo is known to hit some dingers.

The Fit- Gallardo likely slides into the number 4 slot in the rotation, behind Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and James Paxton. The hope is that his HR rate falls now that he is pitching in the spacieous Safeco Field, and his high groundball rate plays into the solid infield defense of the Seattle Mariners.

The Cost- You probably won't find a Mariners fan who isn't a little bummed about losing Seth Smith. You also probably wouldn't find an honest Mariner fan who thinks Smith was a good fit. Smith's age and inability to play the field and run the bases made him an extra piece for the M's.

Gallardo will make $11 million this season, and with the Orioles pitching in roughly $3 million, the Mariners will add $1 million to its payroll. If Gallardo pitches well, the Mariners can exercise a team option at just $12 million. With the current state of pitching in free agency, spending an extra $1 million on a quality #4 type pitcher makes a lot of sense.

The Verdict- I don't love this deal. Gallardo is a scary proposition, despite his solid track record. Losing Smith sucks, although his replacement(I promise we will get to it later) eases that pain. If Gallardo can return to his 2015 form, this deal could be a huge coup to the Mariners. 

I still believe Dipoto needs to add another veteran starter, and I believe he will. Gallardo is a necessary step if the Mariners want any chance to play in the 2017. 

Mariners Should Have Smith Replacement Ready Now, Pagan the Guy

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

General Manager Jerry Dipoto has been unusually quiet for the last month. While the focus appears to be on finding a new starting pitcher, the Mariners cannot forget their other needs. Seth Smith is being shopped in the Mariners attempt to add pitching, and if he is moved, the team will need to replace him. Enter Angel Pagan.

The Player- Angel Pagan is a 35 year old outfielder formerly of the San Francisco Giants. Pagan is coming off a 4 year, $40 million deal. After a dissapointing 2015, Pagan bounced back nicely in 2016.  His .277/.331/.418 slash fell right in line with his career averages, and he tied a career high 11 homeruns.

Pagan is no longer able to handle the centerfield duties everyday, but his 5.1 UZR/150 in LF for the 2016 season shows he can still handle a corner well. He isn't the speedster he used to be, but he has never posted a negative BsR, so he is still an above average runner.

He is a switch hitter, but fairs much better against righties than lefties. His slash of .282/.352/.414 against righties lead to a 112 wRC+. He isn't terrible against LHP either, which makes him a little better than a pure platoon guy.

The Fit- Currently, Pagan isn't an easy fit to the current roster, but if Smith is traded, Dipoto will need to add an outfielder. He seems comfortable with Haniger, Martin and Smith/Valencia, but once Smith is dealt, the team will need a veteran replacement. Pagan is an upgrade both defensively and on the basepaths over Seth Smith, and is comparable to Smith at the plate against righties. 

The Cost- Pagan made $10 million last season, and his 2.1 fWAR is worth roughly $10-$14 million. A 35 year old isn't likely to get more than 1 or 2 years. Raja Davis is a fair comparison. He just netted a 1 year, $6 million deal from the Oakland A's. That feels about right for Angel Pagan.

The Verdict-  Overall, Pagan appears to be a good fit, even with Seth Smith still on the roster. He can play all 3 OF spots in a pinch, but is definetly better in a corner spot. His 112 wRC+ against righties, plus his ability to put the ball in play and take walks, makes him an ideal candidate for the #2 spot in the lineup. The money should be roughly equivilant to Seth Smith, so payroll wise, he would fit with no problems.

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