Hours after losing starter Hisashi Iwakuma in free agency to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mariners acquired LHP Wade Miley and RHP Jonathan Aro from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for RHP Carson Smith and LHP Roenis Elias. Jerry Dipoto made his seventh trade since becoming Mariners GM at MLB’s winter meetings in Nashville.
“Wade is a proven major league starter who brings a level of stability to the middle of our rotation,” Dipoto said in a release.
The 29-year-old Miley went 11-11 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts for the Red Sox last season. He threw 193.2 innings, the fourth consecutive season he’s pitched in 32 games or more and tossed at least 193 innings.
Playing in the American League for the first time in 2015, Miley led the Red Sox in wins, starts, innings and quality starts (17). Miley is one of four lefties (and 13 pitchers overall) to have made at least 32 starts in each of the past three seasons. His 98 starts since the beginning of 2013 are the most by a left-handed pitcher.
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) between the Diamondbacks and Red Sox.
Aro, 25, made his MLB debut with Boston June 25 vs. Baltimore and went 0-1 with a 6.79 ERA in six relief appearances over four stints with the Red Sox (June 25-July 2, July 30-31, Aug. 23-25 and Sept. 8-end of season). The reliever also went 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA and two saves in 34 appearances split between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket.
Aro was signed by Boston in 2011 as an international free agent. In the minors, the Dominican Republic native is 16-15 with 13 saves and a 2.83 ERA in 101 games, including 12 starts over five seasons.
Smith went 2-5 with 13 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 70 games with the Mariners last season, while limiting opponents to a .194 batting average. The Mariners selected Smith in the eighth round of the 2011 draft out of Texas State University.
Elias went 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 22 games last season, including 20 starts over two stints (April 26-July 3 and Aug. 23-end of season). He also made 12 starts with Tacoma, going 4-2 with a 7.34 ERA. Elias signed with Seattle as a minor league free agent May 3, 2011. Over two MLB seasons, he is 15-20 with a 3.97 in 51 games, including 49 starts.
The Mariners have 39 players on their 40-man roster.
I’m a bit hesitant to let two pitchers who pitched well for the club go, though I understand Dipoto wanting to get a veteran arm. Bill Krueger has said that Elias is the best lefty SP in the AL. I don’t know if I’d go that far but I do believe he’s very underrated and a good lefty is hard to find. I think Carson Smith would have been lights out as a set up man if he didn’t get forced-fed into a closers role. I’m not sure if this isn’t a knee jerk reaction to losing Kuma. There’s pitchers in the last year of their deals that IMO the club could have gone after who on paper are stronger than Miley. Right now everything after Felix is looking very patchwork.
The success of this trade will depend on Elas’ mindset. He’s got the raw talent, but I recalled him sulking during a Tacoma demotion, and that didn’t sit well with the team. If his work ethic and professionalism catches up with his potential, the Sox will win this one going away. In the meantime, the M’s seem to be fine with someone with a lower ceiling but a known résumé and more predictable output.
I find it hard to place blame on any of the young players the past few seasons because Jack jerked them around so much. There was no rhyme or reason to promotions, demotions and waivers. After sitting back and analyzing the club the last month of the season Dipoto all but said the culture in the clubhouse and the farm was very poor. I actually think Elias might struggle at Fenway with it being a hitter’s park. Safeco was very kind to him.
In all the time the M’s have been at Safeco they haven’t gone after a big name pitcher as a free agent. Aaron Sele might have been the biggest and he was an All-Star here. The M’s traded for Cliff Lee and he was amazing here. I think because of their park the M’s go after hitters more than pitchers and I’m not sure that’s the best approach in building a club here.
That’s what Dipoto said upon his hire: Build a team to fit the park where you play 81. FA pitchers are the most vulnerable acquisition a team can make.
The Detroit Red Wings have a good philosophy on young players: If in doubt, give them another year in the minors instead of rushing them to the bigs. Only if the kid is a sure-fire impact do they bring him up early, like this year’s rookie-of-the-year candidate Dylan Larkin. That’s one reason why they haven’t missed the playoffs in 25 years.
If Ackley and Zunino, who by general consensus were solid prospects, had stayed in Tacoma longer, and the Mariners chose to use journeymen stopgaps in the meantime, they could’ve been dependable contributors at the very least. Hope Dipoto can show Red Wing-like patience.
Agreed, can’t have enough starting pitching, especially in a big ballpark. Worked for Atlanta.
so True. It obviously was an old school, ill-informed philosophy to look for the Bash Brothers in 2013-4 to fix this club.
Good point. Elias and Smith are good, but Dipoto drafted Miley when he was in AZ, and all Dipoto’s decisions are largely data-driven. I will trust that he sees upside in his acquisitions where others may not.
As I wrote above, the four starters are solid. The pen is more readily fixable, and they will have to fill for Smith. The season hasn’t started.
Ahem. Last year at this time we were saying the “bullpen is solid.”
I’ve been good with Dipoto’s deals so far, but not this one. With the loss of Smith, our bullpen is now weaker than when we started the offseason. He could have been our next closer. Smith and Elias are way to much to give up for a journeyman innings eater.
Seems like Dipoto has a plan– and one that wasn’t hatched by the too-little-too-late team of Lincoln and Z, which generally produced and-not-any-good-anyway.
Let’s see what hits the the lineup card and then see what the M’s are. Some trades are draws to keep a full hand for dealing later; some are to get the best available ( reality- available is different from fantasy-available); some are backed with data we don’t see and some are hunches that the player’s better days are ahead. I love it that Dipoto is decisive and unafraid to ante-up; apparently sticks to a vison he’s got and doesn’t stumble over the pathetic uncertainy and myopic, ill-informed 1990’s vision of a dream club that helped Z get fleeced and fleeced again. And again. And again. This feel like fun, so far: seeing nothing happen is not fun, seeing ancient incompetence isn’t fun, seeing newness and movement IS fun.
Can’t wait for Spring– and I am the 10 time winner of the Mariner-cynic award.
Well said, Tryg. Another part of this deal is three more years of contract control in Miley’s peak years. This deal isn’t a head-turner, and Smith is a big-upside bullpen fixture, but finding five reliable starters is a big damn deal. They seem to have four proven major leaguers: Hernandez, Walker, Miley, Karns. Paxton could be the fifth, if he stays.
If you look a little deeper, Miley’s history of reliability, innings, youth and health make him a better long-term investment than keeping Iwakuma. No, not sexy. But to be a No. 3 starter, would you rather pay J.A. Happ $36M over 3 ? That’s what he got.
The acquisition of Miley did not only cost Iwakuma, it was Smith & Elias also. They traded 2 power arms & Iwakuma for a #4 SP. The quality FA bullpen arms are signing everywhere else but Seattle. We saw what a terrible pen means. He gave BUMbo away along with ANOTHER player to acquire Steve stinkin’ Clevenger! Are you serious? He’s moving guys from the Trader Jack Z Era just to move them. They could have kept BUMbo to play 1B, now he has to move another asset to plug that hole. Dioner Navarro is a better option a C than either of the 2 stiffs who will be there this season. I can easily see Zunino being moved for another scrub. Seth Smith is a Z guy that needs to go, but alas he has no value. This team cannot score runs or prevent runs, which probably means more losses than wins as usual. Sigh.
Kind of what I was thinking. DiPoto is doing everything in his power to erase everything and everyone who might remind us of Z’s era of futility. But so far all he’s done is renamed the deck chairs on the Titanic and thrown a few good ones overboard. He sure looks like Lincoln’s Next Man Up.
This is an awful trade, either straight up and/or with the other moves that have been made so far. This make over is puzzling in general. I actually wanted Aoki here in 2015, but with the acquisition of Martin, that move seems to be a waste. DiPoto seemed to have strengthened the bullpen immediately with the Benoit pickup, but then he guts it by moving Smith & Wilhelmsen. I have no problem with Iwakuma leaving, but they would’ve been better off signing a big name SP & not giving away assets to fill that hole. Other than acquiring a power arm SP in Karns for pure mediocrity, the rest of these moves are just going in circles. I think DiPoto is trying too hard to dump players Trader Jack Z liked & in the Boston deal definitely did not get an equal return. The M’s got fleeced. Don’t be surprised if any/all of Zunino, Peterson, Jackson are moved….. and for fringy players/prospects.
Good to have you aboard, knowing more than Dipoto does.
so much more than Dipoto, apparently– not only his analytical data, but his plans as they are for the future and what he hasn’t yet considered. Awesome. But I get it– if Lincoln is still there, one should probably assume Dipoto is unqualified as a new-hire. It just looks like the opposite is true, in spite of Lincoln remaining on thre payroll!
Their bullpen is a disaster, far worse now than last year. The FA market for quality relief arms is drying up fast….. bye bye Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez…… Clippard is linked to the Mets/Nationals. I highly doubt the scrubs they have left on the 40 man roster are going to get it done.
Bye bye Jason Motte, Chad Qualls…..
Yeah, let’s just write off the season in early December.
If a 4.46 ERA was the best Boston had, I’d sure hate to see the lesser arms.
Don’t forget he pitched in Fenway, which you can fit in the Hit It Here Cafe at Safeco.