The Mariners on Monday sent pitchers Carson Smith and Roenis Elias to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitchers Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro — a trade Seattle fans may not find all that equitable.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It wasn’t Plan B. It was Plan 1A.
After Hisashi Iwakuma agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto wasted little time in finding another starting pitcher to add to his rotation.
Iwakuma’s deal had yet to be announced Monday when the Mariners completed a four-player trade with the Boston Red Sox, acquiring a starting pitcher and reliever and giving up a starting pitcher and a reliever.
The Mariners received veteran left-hander Wade Miley and young right-handed reliever Jonathan Aro and sent left-hander Roenis Elias and promising reliever Carson Smith to the Red Sox.
“It was Plan 1A,” Dipoto said. “When Kuma opted to head for the Dodgers, this was the preferred route.”
The Mariners had hoped that Iwakuma would agree to a rumored two-year, $30 million contract offer Saturday night. But with the Dodgers missing out on free agents Zack Greinke, David Price and Jeff Samardzija, they shifted their focus to the veteran right-hander and made a late push.
“I don’t know how the hard Dodgers were sniffing around until the Greinke thing happened,” Dipoto said. “I don’t think they sniffed around much. They just came in and threw a bowling ball into the alley. Once free agency begins anything can happen.”
When Iwakuma’s representatives called and asked for an extra day to contemplate the decision, Dipoto knew the Dodgers had pulled ahead.
They were giving Iwakuma, who will turn 35 in April, a third year. It was something the Mariners would not match.
Why not the third year?
“We just felt like the ages of 35, 36 and 37 with the way our roster was shaping up, we needed to be a little bit more focused on sustainability,” Dipoto said. “The combination of age and the lack of certainty in innings and a variety of different criteria we use to match it. We wanted him back, clearly. But I felt like the market obviously took care of him. This is a market that is running on high octane.”
So instead of getting caught up in a free-agent market that was inflating the projected contracts for targets such as Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo, the Mariners acquired Miley — a player Dipoto and director of scouting Tom Allison knew well, having selected him in 2008 draft with the Diamondbacks.
Miley, 29, made 32 starts for the Red Sox in 2015. He posted an 11-11 record with a 4.46 ERA, including 17 quality starts.
He will make $6 million this season and $8.75 million in 2017 with club option for $12 million in 2018.
“In this market, the going rate for the Wade Miley-type pitcher — the bar has been set,” Dipoto said. “That market is running from $12 to $18 million, and Wade Miley fits square in the middle of it. We picked him up on a controllable two plus one contract with an AAV (average annual value) of $7.75 million, and if we choose to pick up the third year of the contract it’s $9 million a year for a middle-of-rotation guy.”
Aro, 25, made six appearances in four different all-ups to the Red Sox last season. He went 0-1 with a 6.79 ERA. He was 3-3 with two saves and a 3.04 ERA between Class AA Portland and Class AAA Pawtucket. Dipoto saw him pitch “a dozen times” when he worked for the Red Sox late last season.
The price for Miley and Aro might be considered a little too steep by Mariners fans.
The side-arming, right-handed Smith posted a 2-5 record with 13 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 70 appearances.
“It was tough to give up Carson Smith,” Dipoto said. “We understand that. But without the ability to access the starting-pitcher market that we wanted to access, we needed to deploy something to make that happen.”
And the deal wasn’t happening without Smith.
“Carson Smith was the currency that got us to where we needed to be,” Dipoto said. “He was the center point of the deal for the Red Sox. Wade, obviously, was the center point for us.”
Elias shuffled between Class AAA Tacoma and the big leagues. He made 20 starts and two relief appearances for the Mariners, going 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA.
- The Mariners were speaking with multiple teams for a first-base option. Dipoto confirmed the reports that he had met with the Brewers to discuss first baseman Adam Lind, who hit .277 with an .820 OPS, including 32 doubles, 20 homers and 87 RBI.
- Dipoto was set to meet with several free-agent relievers Monday night and plans to sign multiple relievers before spring training.
- The Mariners signed right-handed pitcher Donn Roach to a minor-league deal with an invite to big-league spring training.
The new Mariners
Position: Starting pitcher.
Height, weight: 6-0, 220.
Born: Nov. 13, 1986 in Hammond, La.
Notable: Miley, 29, was 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts for the Red Sox in 2015. He threw 193.2 innings, the fourth consecutive season he’s pitched in 32 games or more and tossed at least 193.0 innings. … his 127 starts since 2012 are fourth-most in the majors among left-handers behind only Jon Lester (130), Mark Buehrle (128) & Madison Bumgarner (128). …
Named an All-Star in his first full season with Arizona in 2012, Miley is 49-46 with a 3.95 ERA in 138 career appearances (134 starts) with the Diamondbacks and Red Sox.
Position: Relief pitcher.
Height, weight: 6-0, 175.
Born: Oct. 10, 1990 in La Vega, La Vega, Dominican Republic.
Notable: Last name is pronounced “ah-ROW.” … He made his major-league debut June 25 vs. Baltimore and went 0-1 with a 6.79 ERA in six relief appearances over four stints with the Red Sox in 2015. … He was 3-3 with two saves and a 3.04 ERA in 34 relief appearances with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket.