Today, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired speedster Mallex Smith, southpaw pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, and shortstop Carlos Vargas for seasoned veteran Drew Smyly, as announced by the Mariners.
First off, Mallex Smith was traded earlier today to the Mariners in a four-player trade with the Atlanta Braves.
The young speedster will be competing for a roster spot with Mikie Mahtook for the fourth outfielder spot. Smith brings speed and solid defensive play, plus the ability to lay down a bunt. The Rays get another outfielder who can play center field if Kiermaier is out of the lineup.
In addition, the 23-year-old Tallahassee native batted .238 in 189 at-bats picking up a total of 45 hits. He drove in 22 RBIs and swiped 16 bags.
Next, Ryan Yarbrough is a 25-year-old pitcher, who had a successful Double-A campaign last year by posting a solid 12-4 record and 2.95 ERA in 25 starts. He should start the season off at Triple-A. He is almost ready to make an impact at the MLB level, which is why the Rays really wanted this gigantic lefty (6’5″ and 205 pounds).
Furthermore, the Rays added another young midfielder to their farm system. Carlos Vargas is a 17-year-old kid that just completed his first professional season in the DOSL league. He put up a slash line of .242/.344/.391 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 62 games (215 at-bats). He committed 15 errors at shortstop, which is high, but he is only 17.
Finally, with Smyly gone, who will be the fifth starter in the rotation? The Rays could let MLB pitchers like Erasmo Ramirez or Chase Whitley compete for the job, or look down in the minors at future starters like Taylor Guerrieri, Jamie Schultz, Hunter Wood, Chih-Wei Hu, Jacob Faria, or lastly, the Rays can look into the open market of what is left and one name comes to mind and that is Jason Hammel. Hammel’s market is declining, even though he had a good year with the World Series Champs, the Chicago Cubs. The Rays could offer him a one-year deal worth $6 mil with loaded incentives to reach up to $10 mil in a deal that could help potentially boast his value for next year’s off-season, if he performs well.