Rays-Mariners trade: Meet Mallex Smith
The Rays and the Mariners once again hooked up on a trade and, once again, the Rays shipped a pitcher to the Northwest for a package of prospects.
This time it was Drew Smyly, who was traded Wednesday for outfielder Mallex Smith, shortstop Carlos Vargas and left-handed starter Ryan Yarborough.
Here's a breakdown on Smith:
The 23-year-old has something the Rays roster could use— speed. Capable of playing all three outfield spots, Smith is best in center field. Rays GM Erik Neander called him a "dynamic player" and an "impact athlete."
Smith can change a game with his legs as his 230 steals in 399 minor league games suggests. He led the minor leagues with 88 steals in 2014. Add that to what Kevin Kiermaier can do on the bases (21 stolen bases last year in 24 attempts) and the Rays will have a base running duo that has the potential to remind fans of the days of Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton.
That should help an often stagnant offense produce more runs.
Smith had a slash line of 238 batting average/.316 on-base percentage/.365 slugging percentage in 72 games last season with the Braves. He missed three months with a fractured left thumb. Those numbers over five minor league seasons were: 296/.382/.389.
Neander said Smith brings diversity to the mix of outfielders and will add to the internal competition for roster spots and playing time during spring training. Smith can play all three outfield positions. An outfield that includes Smith, likely in left, and Kiermaier in center will greatly improve the team's defense, something that was missing in 2016.