Eric Thames is gone, but the Mariners managed to get something decent for him in return. This morning, Thames was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for switch hitting 2B/3B Tyler Kelly, who has spent all of 2013 in AA. Thames was designated for assignment when Franklin Gutierrez returned from the 60-day disabled list last week. Now, the new return for last year's Steve Delabar (2.47 FIP, 1.69 ERA, 12.46 K/9 in 2013) trade that netted Thames is Ty Kelly. Sometimes he's Ty. Sometimes he's Tyler. I don't know.
Kelly has spent the entire 2013 season in AA Bowie playing mostly 3rd base, but spent most of 2012 playing 2nd base. Kelly has little power but excellent plate patience, posting the following line so far this season.
|Ty Kelly, 2013 AA||0.283||0.389||0.382||0.771||1||51||49|
Kelly hit 11 home runs last year across three levels, but hasn't been able to get the ball out of the park this year. Kelly is 24, and was a 13th round draft pick out of Cal in 2009. He hasn't been able to stick at any one position and has committed a high level of errors at 3rd this season. Kelly's main strength is his plate discipline, as he's walked more than he's struck out in his minor league career, and owns a .380 career OBP.
Kelly isn't listed among the Orioles top 20 prospects on MLB.com, but comes in at #11 at Scouting Book.
John Sickels listed Kelly as his #19 Orioles prospect before 2013 over at Minor League Ball, saying the following:
19) Ty Kelly, INF-OF, Grade C: Not toolsy, but a very polished switch-hitter, batted .327/.425/.467 with 79 walks, 72 strikeouts in 471 at-bats at three levels last year. Age 24. Other guys have better tools but Kelly's on-base skills and ability to play multiple positions could be useful on a bench, and he's fairly close to the majors.
This is a fairly remarkable return for a player that was designated for assignment, giving the Mariners little leverage. There may have been multiple bidders for Thames' services, because Kelly doesn't appear to be an insignificant piece, and may actually fill a spot on the Mariners bench one season. Kelly's better than the usual cash considerations or middling minor league bullpen arm usually received in a deal like this.
Kelly represents the first real trade the Mariners have made for another prospect all year, and this just whets the appetite for the new batch of prospects that will be rolling in over the next month as the trade deadline approaches. The Mariners could have done a whole lot worse than Kelly, and this is much better than I expected the team to get. Freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster for a guy the organization simply wasn't sold on and getting a patient infielder who isn't far away in return? I approve.