The acquisition of Leonys Martin has been great, but how have Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto’s other trades panned out so far this season?
With the recent news of reliever Carson Smith needing season-ending Tommy John surgery and one-time Mariners prospect Patrick Kivlehan being designated for assignment by the Rangers, perhaps its a good opportunity to take a too-early look at the initial success of some of the more prominent trades that general manager Jerry Dipoto made in an offseason full of them.
On the surface, it looks like many of Dipoto’s trades and the players acquired in them are a big reason why the Mariners are in first place in the American League West.
Nov. 16: Acquired outfielder Leonys Martin and right-handed pitcher Anthony Bass from the Rangers for right-handed pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen, outfielder James Jones and infielder Patrick Kivlehan.
Before Martin went on the disabled list Friday, he was possibly the most valuable of Dipoto’s acquisitions of the offseason. Martin has been as advertised from a defensive standpoint, providing a level of play in center field that the Mariners haven’t had since 2009, when Franklin Gutierrez was healthy.
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In 44 games this season, he’s hitting .265 with an .822 OPS posting a career high in homers (9) and drawing more walks (17) than he did all of last season.
Meanwhile, Wilhelmsen has pitched himself into the minor leagues with a 9.98 ERA. The Rangers designated Jones for assignment in the offseason and outrighted him to the minors. He’s hitting .242. The Rangers just designated Kivlehan for assignment. He was hitting just .184 in Class AAA.
Dec. 7: Acquired left-handed pitcher Wade Miley and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Aro from the Boston Red Sox for right-handed pitcher Carson Smith and left-handed pitcher Roenis Elias.
After going 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in his first three starts, Miley’s won his last five starts, posting a 3.12 ERA and pitching at least six innings all of them.
Unfortunately, Smith’s elbow succumbed to his unorthodox throwing style.
Nov. 5: Acquired right-handed pitcher Nathan Karns, left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser and minor-league outfielder Boog Powell from the Tampa Bay Rays for first baseman Logan Morrison, infielder/outfielder Brad Miller and right-handed pitcher Danny Farquhar.
Karns was the key piece in the acquisition. Though he hasn’t been able to consistently go deep in games — just four starts of six innings or more — he’s got a 4-1 record in nine starts with a 3.53 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched. After a slow start in Tacoma, Powell is hitting .265 with a .328 on-base percentage.
Meanwhile, Miller, Morrison and Farquhar have had mixed results. Miller has been the best of the three, winning the shortstop job and hitting. 226 with a .714 OPS, including seven doubles, two triples, five homers and 15 RBI.
March 30: Acquired right-handed pitcher Nick Vincent from the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
With injuries to Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook in spring training, Dipoto picked up Vincent from the Padres a week before the regular season began. It’s a minor deal that’s paid major dividends
Vincent has made 21 appearances — second-most in the bullpen — and has a 2-1 record with a 2.25 ERA. His best role has come as a stopper against right-handed hitters, holding right-handed hitters to a .133 average (6 for 45) with a .349 OPS with one walk and 19 strikeouts.
Dec. 2: Acquired catcher Steve Clevenger from the Baltimore Orioles for first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and left-handed pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser.
It’s not that Clevenger has been bad. It’s that Trumbo has been so good. Clevenger’s acquisition added depth to the catching position and allowed the Mariners to ticket Mike Zunino for Class AAA Tacoma.
Trumbo was expected to make more than $9 million in arbitration in 2016, and that was too much for a player who didn’t have a true position and didn’t fit Dipoto’s “Control the strike zone” philosophy.
Dipoto and most analysts expected Trumbo to have success in Camden Yards and the hitter-friendly parks in the AL East. But hitting .284 with a .903 OPS and AL-best 15 homers was not expected.
Dec. 8: Acquired right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner from the Oakland Athletics for minor-league right-handed pitcher Trey Cochran-Gill.
Scribner suffered a tear in his lat muscle in spring — the same injury that ended his season in 2015. He’s yet to start throwing off the mound.
Nov. 12: Acquired right-handed relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit from the San Diego Padres for minor-league right-handed pitcher Enyel De Los Santos and minor-league infielder Nelson Ward.
A stint on the disabled list with shoulder issues has limited Benoit’s availability. He’s appeared in just eight games and has a 1-0 record with a 3.38 ERA.
De Los Santos has made nine appearances (five starts) with Class A Fort Wayne and is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. Ward, a projected utility player, is hitting .229 for Class AA San Antonio.
Dec. 9: Acquired first baseman Adam Lind from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor-league right-handed pitchers Carlos Herrera, Daniel Missaki and Freddy Peralta.
The Mariners acquired Lind to be a force against right-handed pitching. Lind had the monster four-hit, two-homer, six-RBI game vs. the A’s. But overall he’s hitting .242 with a .670 OPS, five homers and 18 RBI.
Only Peralta is pitching for a minor-league team for the Brewers. He’s 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 appearances (five starts) for Class A Wisconsin.