Rays get LoMo, Brad Miller, Farquhar in 6-player deal with M's
UPDATE, 11:27: Here are some comments from Karns, who was out running errands with his fiancee in advance of their December wedding when he got the call:
"It was definitely something that was surprising. I'm excited about it. It's one of those things that just happened so it really hasn't hit me yet. I look at it as the team felt that they needed to make moves and the way they felt best was to trade me away. At the end of the day it's a business, and this is part of it. I don't have any bad feelings. If anything, I'm more appreciative of this opportunity that I was able to have with Tampa Bay. ... I look at it as a postive, another opportunity to go out and play the game I love. ... I'm excited to go on to the next chapter and see what happens.''
DEVELOPING: The Rays made their first move of the off-season a big deal, a six-player trade with Seattle that landed them SS Brad Miller, OF/1B/DH Logan Morrison and RHP Danny Farquhar in exchange for RHP Nathan Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and prospect OF Boog Powell.
In dealing from their depth of starting pitching, the Rays landed three players who could all play prominent roles in 2016.
Miller, a 26-year-old Orlando native, hit .258 with 11 homers, 46 RBIs and a .730 on-base plus slugging percentage last season. He started 83 games at shortstop, 30 in the outfield (including all three positions), six at DH, five at second base and one at third. With Asdrubal Cabrera a free agent, Miller, a lefty hitter, will at the least join the competition for the starting job along with Tim Beckham and former fellow Mariners teammate and Orlando-area product Nick Franklin.
Morrison, 28, is a free-spirited lefty swinger with some power, hitting 17 homers and knocking in 54 runs last season, though with a .225 average (including a 16-game and .685 on-base plus slugging percentage. Morrison, who had a career high 23 homers in 2011 for the Marlins, can play first base or a corner outfield spot, though he would seem likely to slot at DH for the Rays unless they trade James Loney.
Farquhar, 28, is coming off a rough 2015 season in which he went 1-8 with a 5.12 ERA in 43 games over five stints in the majors, though . The Rays are looking for a return to form, as he had an impressive 2.66 ERA, with a 3-1 record and one save, over 66 games in 2014, and in 2013 had 16 saves with an 0-3, 4.20 ERA.
Karns, 27, delivered a solid rookie season after a series of injuries gave him an unexpected spot in the Rays rotation, going 7-5, 3.67 in 27 games (26 starts) though he didn't pitch after Sept. 8 due to what the Rays said was tightness in his right forearm. With Matt Moore and Drew Smyly coming back from injuries healthy at the end of last season to join Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Erasmo Ramirez, plus the emergence of Matt Andriese and the looming arrival of prospect Blake Snell, the Rays were headed into 2016 with a surplus of starters.
Riefenhauser, 25, was 1-0, 5.52 in 17 relief appearances during four stints with the Rays this past season, though better in September.
Powell, 22, was impressive splitting his season between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, hitting .295 with an impressive .385 on-base percentage and 18 stolen bases. He was acquired from the A's in January along with Daniel Robertson and John Jaso in exchange for Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar.
Miller, a product of Orlando's Olympia High and Clemson, made an impressive Tropicana Field debut during his 2013 rookie season, homering twice in an Aug. 13 game. At the time, he and Frankling looked to be a pair of young middle infielders who would be a big part of the Mariners future. Now both are with the Rays as Franklin was acquired in the July 2014 David Price trade.
Miller was the Mariners opening day and primary starting shortstop the last two seasons, but eventually lost his job as the Mariners envisioned him as more of a Ben Zobrist-type super utility man, making an initial switch in May 2015 and, after moving back to shortstop mid-season, again in August.
Morrison, in his last year before free-agency, is projected to make around $4-million via arbitration. Farquhar (FAHR-kwahr) and Miller are not yet eligible for arbitration.
Since taking over for Andrew Friedman as president of baseball operations in October 2014, Matt Silverman has now made 13 trades involving 45 players. His partner in this deal was Jerry DiPoto, who was hired by the Mariners in September, having served previously with the Angels.