Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has reported that the Seattle Mariners have acquired Wade Miley and minor league reliever Jonathan Aro from the Red Sox in exchange for Roenis Elias and Carson Smith. On the surface, this is a rather pedestrian trade. It isn't the will they-won't they of the Aroldis Chapman saga or the potential world-shattering earthquake of a Jose Fernandez trade. This is the Mariners filling the void left by the departure of Hisashi Iwakuma, the Red Sox shoring up their bullpen, and both teams acquiring depth pieces.
When you look under the hood, though, things start getting fishy. Very fishy.
Wade Miley is a perfectly serviceable starter. He peaked in his rookie year in Arizona when he threw 194.2 innings of 3.33 ERA ball. Ever since then he's been a steady if uninspiring mid-rotation innings eater. Not everybody can be Chris Sale, so this is fine. There's value in pitchers like him. Bullpens quickly turn to ash without innings-eaters. The spacious confines of Safeco Field should help Miley stay in the ballpark, and he's left-handed, which is always a plus. In a vacuum, this is a good pitcher for the Mariners to add.
Cason Smith just completed his rookie season in the Seattle bullpen. Here is the list of every qualified reliever that posted a higher fWAR than Smith:
- Cody Allen (2.6)
- Aroldis Chapman (2.5)
- Dellin Betances (2.4)
- Andrew Miller (2.0)
- David Robertson (1.8)
- Jeurys Familia (1.6)
- Craig Kimbrel (1.5)
Boston getting big-time rave reviews from rival executives on the Carson Smith acquisition.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 7, 2015
Carson Smith: 5 years of control, 33% strikeouts, .512 OPS against Ken Giles: 5 years of control, 33% strikeouts, .526 OPS against— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) December 7, 2015