No team has been busier this offseason than the Seattle Mariners. On Wednesday, General Manager Jerry Dipoto pulled off his third trade in the span of a week, sending left-handed pitchers Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to the Atlanta Braves. In return, the Braves sent righty Shae Simmons and outfielder Mallex Smith to Seattle. The Mariners also designated right-handed pitcher Cody Martin for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) January 11, 2017
Braves Trade Mallex Smith to Mariners in Four-Player Deal
For Atlanta, this trade seems, for the most part, to be about building up their minor league pitching depth. While the Braves have been actively acquiring a lot of top talent in recent seasons, they still lacked arms. With this trade now in the books, that’s no longer the case. Both pitchers Atlanta received from Seattle have shown a great deal of promise in their short careers.
Gohara, a 20-year-old Brazilian-born player, began his career with the Mariners organization in 2013, and has worked his way up to Single-A. Gohara split the 2016 season between the Low-A and A levels, and put up some stunning numbers. He finished the year with a 1.81 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, a 7-2 record, and 81 strikeouts in 69.2 innings. Gohara has always been a punchout artist, with 228 career Ks in 204.1 innings. However, as his 4.40 career ERA indicates, last season he began to figure the rest of it out. If he continues that development, he could be a very good starter one day.
Burrows, 22, tossed his first professional season in 2016. Playing at the Low-A level, Burrows made 20 relief appearances and recorded solid marks all around. He ended his campaign with a 2.55 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. It’s too early to call him a future closer, but he did save six games for the Everett AquaSox. At the very least, he has the makings of a solid bullpen piece.
On the other end of the trade, the Mariners got some solid pieces in return. Simmons, 26, has thrown 28.1 innings of ball at the major league level, while allowing eight earned runs. His work in the minors shows a pitcher with some potential, as he owns 172 strikeouts in 120.1 minor league innings.
The real prize for Seattle, however, is Smith. The 23-year-old outfielder was once one of Atlanta’s top prospects, and looked like a rising MLB star. In 72 games for Atlanta, he displayed solid defense and good speed on the basepaths. His performance at the plate wasn’t what the Braves were hoping for, but he showed flashes of improvement at various point during the season. He had his best month in May, when he put up a .267 batting average and a .793 OPS, while hitting all three of his home runs for the season. Smith still hasn’t reached the potential he displayed in the minors (.296 average and 229 steals across five seasons), but he’s on his way. A Seattle team starved for speed and outfield help will certainly appreciate the addition of Smith.