Like your favorite artist who disappears for a while and then comes back and drops an album, three guest tracks, and a lyric video, Jerry is back in a big way:
The big surprise here is the trade of Luiz Gohara, the Brazilian fireballer and probably the only Mariners prospect most casual fans can name other than Tyler O’Neill. Gohara had a fairly successful outing in the Arizona Fall League, going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 11.2IP. He allowed 14 hits, and walked 3 batters but struck out 19, for a 14.66 K/9. Trading him is somewhat of a surprise after he turned in a strong year at Everett, although his walk rate did climb (3.31/9) and his K rate fell (still, a strong 9.94/9) with the LumberKings. It might be that Dipoto decided to sell high on a prospect who still had years of development ahead of him in order to get some pieces that were a little closer to MLB-ready.
Joining Gohara in voyaging to the land of Stuckey’s and Cheerwine is fellow lefty pitcher Thomas Burrows, the first arm the Mariners selected in the 2016 draft. Burrows has a wicked slider that helped him post a 13.50 K/9 in Everett this year, but struggled with command, walking nearly 10% of the batters he faced.
The big piece coming back to Seattle here is right-handed reliever Shae Simmons. Simmons was drafted by the Braves in 2012 and has steadily worked his way up through that organization, posting double-digit K/9 rates at almost every stop. He debuted with the big-league club in 2014 and pitched 21.2 innings in which he struck out a lot of batters (9.55 K/9) but also walked a bunch (4.57 BB/9). Unfortunately, he missed all of 2015 with a UCL tear and had TJ in February of that year. His return to pitching in 2016 was slow and hampered by a series of minor injuries as he rehabbed through the low minors. When healthy, Simmons has garnered comparisons to Craig Kimbrel, as he is also a short thrower of heat who can strike out the world. But that “when healthy” caveat is a big one, as he ended the 2016 season with the ever-ominous-sounding “forearm discomfort.”
When he’s healthy, though, hoooo boy is he fun. I nominate we name this pitch the Arc de Défaite.
Mallex Smith is also headed to Seattle, which seems weird because he’s a speedy outfielder type and we have a bunch of those already and...wait...
Jerry Dipoto isn't done yet. He's working on another deal that could include Mallex Smith, the OF he just acquired from the #Braves.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 11, 2017
Okay, let’s not get too attached to Mallex Smith for now. If it looks like we’re keeping him, I’ll write something up on Mallex (who I mostly remember as being a pest during the Generals’ playoff push this year) and update this story. But word on the playground is another move is about to come down. In the words of the eminent philosopher, hold on to your butts.
Update update: I forgot to mention that Cody Martin, bravest little toaster, was DFA’d to make room for Simmons. For one last time [extremely Peter Woodburn voice] go Zags.