Mariners lose RP Brian Moran in Rule 5 draft

Christian Petersen

Time to find out if the soft-tossing lefty can make it work at the highest level.

Brian Moran is gone to the Toronto Blue Jays Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, acquired via trade immediately following his selection. Moran, 25, is a left-handed reliever that the Mariners chose not to protect on their 40-man roster. Peter Gammons mentioned that other teams had tried to trade for him before, and that he was a lock to be selected.

Moran has outstanding peripherals over the last two years in Tacoma, this past year striking out over 12 batters per 9 innings to go along with a 2.42 FIP. His ERA was a solid 3.45, but he managed that while allowing a whopping .407 BABIP. The concern with Moran has never been his ability to get minor league hitters, but his ability to do that at the major league level.

Moran was selected out of North Carolina in 2009, as the Mariners surely saw him as they were scouting Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager. He has always been a dominant reliever, but he's done it by throwing in the mid-80s. The knock has always been his ability to translate to smarter hitters while being such a soft-tosser, and even though he's gotten away with deceptive arm angle and solid command to date, clearly the Mariners never thought he'd be able to make it work against big league hitters.

It became pretty clear Moran wasn't going to get a shot when he never got the call despite his excellent K rate and success over the last two seasons. He'll finally get that crack with the Angels, and if it doesn't work out, he'll find himself back in the Mariners organization. Moran has to remain on the Angels 40-man all year, including 90 days on the active roster, and can't be optioned or he'll be returned to Seattle (unless the two teams can work out a trade.) I've always wanted to see Moran's soft-tossing stuff in greater detail anyways, so maybe now we'll finally get that chance. I was hoping he'd sneak through the Rule 5 draft untouched, but it wasn't meant to be.

The Mariners also lost Jose Valdivia in the minor league portion of the draft. Valdvia is 21 and hasn't advanced past Everett, but had a good season in relief, notching 10 K/9 in a bunch of mop-up duty. I don't know much about him.

The good news is, Jabari Blash and Ty Kelly are both safe, as both names had been tossed around other organizations as possible candidates to be taken. Kelly will have an uphill battle to make it, but his truly unique plate patience is remarkable. Blash busted out in Jackson last year, and he'll have a chance to continue that breakout through 2014.

The Mariners didn't make any selections, as their 40-man roster is full to the brim after the Cano and Hart acquisitions, with more surely on the way.

The Rangers took Russell Wilson in the minor league portion (no, seriously) so he can come to Spring Training, if he wants, and give motivational speeches. Weird.

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