Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays deal Drew Smyly for speedy outfielder Mallex Smith, two prospects

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are intent on contending for a postseason spot this season and one way to do that, according to general manager Erik Neander, is to become more diversified and increase competition for roster spots and playing time.

With that in mind, the Rays on Wednesday traded left-hander Drew Smyly to the Mariners for outfielder Mallex Smith, 23, and two prospects — shortstop Carlos Vargas, 17, and lefty Ryan Yarbrough, 24.

Smith is the second outfielder added this week, joining free agent Colby Rasmus, whose signing will be announced when he passes his physical.

"He's a very dynamic player," Neander said of Smith. "He's an impact athlete."

The two join a mix that includes Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., Corey Dickerson, Mikie Mahtook and Nick Franklin.

But Smith, who stole 16 bases in 24 attempts during his rookie season last year with the Braves and 230 in 399 minor-league games, brings a skill set that differs from everyone in the crowd not named Kiermaier.

"Looking at Mallex, this is a guy who is a very capable base-stealer that's an impact athlete," Neander said. "The speed and the game he plays, he's very dynamic. It adds value on both sides of the ball.

"I think to diversify the group, add competition and to do it with someone who's young and still on the way up is something that excites us."

Smith, a Tallahassee native who was traded earlier Wednesday from Atlanta to Seattle, reached the big leagues last season for the first time. A broken left thumb limited him to 72 games. He hit .238 with a .316 on-base percentage and a .365 slugging percentage. He made the bulk of his starts in centerfield.

When asked if Smith could earn a spot on the opening day roster, Neander said, "I think as we sit here today we still have some time to go this winter, but he does have major-league experience, and it's a skill set that diversifies our group a little bit."

Smyly, 27, became expendable due to Tampa Bay's depth in the rotation and the fact he was projected to make $6.9 million this season through arbitration. Acquired from Detroit at the 2014 trade deadline in the David Price deal, Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts with the Rays, including 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA last season.

Yarbrough was the Southern League pitcher of the year at Double A Jackson after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 25 starts.

"He's not far off from helping us at the big-league level," Neander said.

Vargas hit .242 with a .344 on-base percentage and a .391 slugging percentage in 62 games with the Dominican Summer League Mariners. He scored 41 runs, hit seven home runs and drove in 35.

"The type of return is something we felt was a better fit for our club in the big picture," Neander said.

The Rays also claimed outfielder Jason Coats off waivers Wednesday from the White Sox and designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment. Coats hit .200 in 58 plate appearances as a rookie in 2016.

Rays deal Drew Smyly for speedy outfielder Mallex Smith, two prospects 01/11/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2017 7:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.