The Mariners have reinforcements on offense coming, but in the meantime they look to take advantage of a pitcher that didn't make their rotation out of spring training. Our handicapper looks at the yesterday's big trade and tonights game between Tampa Bay and Seattle.
The slumping Mariners made the first major trade of the season by picking up Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno from Arizona for backup catcher Wellington Castillo, reliever Dominic Leone, and 2 minor league prospects. Trumbo figures to bat in the middle of a Seattle lineup that looks great on paper, but has underperformed terribly this season. Trumbo hasn’t been lighting the world on fire this year with his .259 AVG and 9 home runs, but this should lead to addition by subtraction in the Seattle lineup. Rickie Weeks is likely to see a greatly reduced role or be DFA’d. Left-hander Dustin Ackley will go back to a platoon role in the outfield as well as could Logan Morrison at first base. The real negative with Trumbo in the outfield is his awful defense, so he should be in the DH rotation again as he is back in the American League.
Trumbo comes with a contract that could keep him a Mariner through 2016. If things really go south in Seattle he could be flipped again in the offseason for more prospects. Pitcher Vidal Nuno will likely start immediately as the Mariners are down a few starters due to injuries. With club control for the next five years and cheap, Nuno could be the real story of this trade come 2017 onward. For Arizona the centerpiece of this deal is catcher Wellington Castillo as they were desperate to shore up that position due to injury. Castillo has gone from 3rd string with the Cubs, to backup with the M’s, to likely starter in Arizona within a few weeks. Weird.
Tampa Bay vs. Seattle:
Tampa Bay continues their West Coast swing in Seattle on Thursday night. Pitching for the Rays is Erasmo Ramirez, who was traded from Seattle for Mike Montgomery during spring training. Ramirez was out of minor league options so Seattle was lucky to get anything for him at all. In the end, Mike Montgomery was a needed piece for the Mariners, and he made his first start of the season on Tuesday against the Yankees. Erasmo Ramirez started the year in the bullpen for the Rays, but has moved to the starting rotation and is 3-2 with a 5.53 ERA on the season. He was superb in his last start though, pitching seven innings of shutout ball against the Orioles to lower his ERA from 6.62 while striking out seven. Erasmo has a 37/14 K/BB ratio over the season.
With a very similar 34/16 K/BB ratio this season is Seattle’s Cuban lefty, Roenis Elias. Elias had a three game streak of one run allowed efforts spoiled in his last start against Cleveland – giving up four runs which raised his ERA to 3.07. He pitched against Tampa Bay just two starts ago on May 25th, where he threw 6 innings of one run ball while striking out six. Elias has been very consistent this season, and hadn’t given up more than three runs all season before giving up those four to Cleveland.
The line on this game opened with Seattle favored on the money line at -127, with the total O/U set at 7.5. The weather in Seattle shouldn’t be an issue and it should be in the upper 60’s F by game time.
MLB Pick: With Seattle sweeping the Rays in Tampa just a week ago, it is hard not to back them at home on Thursday night. This is especially true with the pitching matchup – Elias beat out Ramirez for a spot in the Mariner rotation or he wouldn’t be a Ray after all. There should be a tangible lift in the clubhouse with the front office making a move to bring in reinforcements on offense as well. I’m taking Elias for a repeat performance and laying the juice at -127 for my Thursday MLB pick.