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Mariners Reportedly Trade For Aaron Laffey, Consider Second Pile

Update: trade's official, and it's Matt Lawson going the other way. Lawson came over in the Lee trade and posted an .811 OPS in AA last year as a second baseman, but he's also 25 - only months younger than Laffey - and kind of the infield version of the guy we just got in terms of the very limited upside. Lawson and Laffey were born to be PCL heroes. Recall that Lawson was available in the Rule 5 Draft, and was passed over.

Shawn Kelley's off to the 60-day DL to make roster room for the new guy.


According to The Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes, the Mariners have reportedly traded for Aaron Laffey. Upon seeing this news, it took me several minutes to remember that, as part of a trade, the Mariners must be giving something in return, which should tell you something about Laffey's value. Laffey's been a left-handed pitcher for the Indians, by the way. Maybe I should have led with that. No word yet on the return.

I'm going to show you some numbers. The first are Laffey's combined strikeouts and walks over the last two seasons in the minors as a starter and reliever:

Strikeouts: 25
Walks: 28

Now I'm going to show you Laffey's combined strikeouts and walks over the last two seasons in the Majors as a starter and reliever:

Strikeouts: 87
Walks: 85

Laffey does not miss bats. He walks too many guys. He generates a fair number of groundballs, although his groundball tendencies aren't what they were earlier in his career. And it's not like his repertoire is one rife with upside. He throws a sinking fastball in the mid- to high-80s, and his offspeed offerings are a slider and a changeup, neither of which is anything special. He's extremely limited, and even when he's going well, his ceiling is lower than one of those ceilings in a really old European church.

If he sounds like someone out of the Jamey Wright or old Sean Green mold, that's about right. A key difference, though, is that he's left-handed, meaning it's more difficult to spot him against same-handed hitters. And while he's pitched well against same-handed hitters - as you'd expect of a sinkerballer with a low arm angle - it's not like he's been great. Over the course of his career, Laffey has allowed left-handed batters to reach at a .342 clip. That's not enough outs.

So, whatever. I don't mean to convey that Aaron Laffey is terrible. He's remarkably mediocre, and earlier in his career he was a little bit better than that. He offers the flexibility of being able to both start and relieve, though he isn't particularly good at either. As a former Indian, he's familiar with Eric Wedge, which might explain why this trade was made in the first place. I don't know what he'll come to camp looking to do, but he's just another name on the pile, or possibly the first name in a second pile.

Aaron Laffey fun fact: Aaron Laffey is only the fourth 468th overall pick to make the Major Leagues. He is also the best of them.