Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made his first two moves of 2017, sending outfielder Seth Smith to the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo and acquiring speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson from the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitcher Nate Karns.
The Mariners have been in the market for a veteran starting pitcher all winter. They finally found their man in 30-year-old Gallardo, who should fill in the rotation as the fourth starter behind Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, and James Paxton. Gallardo is coming off a down year with the O’s, going 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA in 23 starts. In 2015 with the Texas Rangers, he went 13-11 with a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts. The M’s needed not only a veteran but an innings eater. The 11-year veteran has started 30 or more games in seven of the last eight seasons.
The Orioles will be getting a veteran bat that should come off the bench for them. The 34-year-old Smith slashed .249/.342/.415 in 378 at-bats last season with the Mariners. The M’s have been looking to move Smith all winter after acquisitions of Danny Valencia and Mitch Haniger.
Smith will be a free agent after 2017. Gallardo has a 2018 team option for $13 million with a $2 million buyout.
The acquisition of Dyson gives the Mariners potentially one of baseball’s best defensive outfields in Dyson, Haniger, and Leonys Martin. The question will be whether Dyson can hit enough to justify a full-time role, something he has never done in his career with Kansas City.