Just a few days into the offseason, a major trade has occurred. As a matter of fact, it is a six-player deal between two American League teams.
The Tampa Bay Rays acquired infielder Brad Miller, first baseman Logan Morrison and right-hander Danny Farquhar from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-hander Nathan Karns, left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser and outfielder Boog Powell, the Rays announced.
Seattle's new general manager, Jerry Dipoto, wasted no time getting busy as Powell is one of the best center fielding prospects and Karns will get to develop over his next five years with the Mariners.
Remember former Rays utility player Ben Zobrist? Well, Miller has been compared to the current World Series champion, who is obviously with the Kansas City Royals. The 26-year-old possesses the ability to play all over the field, while using his bat positively. Miller will see most time at shortstop, but has experience at second base, third base and all outfield positions.
An infield position that Miller does not play is first base, which is probably the reason why the Rays added Morrison. The 28-year-old will get time at first base, but should also jump into the mix of Desmond Jennings, Brandon Guyer and Daniel Nava in the outfield.
In his final year of arbitration eligibility, Morrison will make about $4 million before becoming a free agent in 2017. The other five are in pre-arbitration years.
Farquhar, 28, will pitch out of the Rays bullpen like he did with the Mariners. The native of Florida is 4-12 with a 3.96 ERA, 18 saves and 179.2 innings pitched over 158 appearances in his four-year career.
The reliever's best season came in 2014, which he owned a 2.66 ERA with a 3-1 record over 66 pitching appearances.
Seattle's most important piece in the deal is Karns, who produced a breakout season in 2015. The 27-year-old logged 27 appearances - 26 starts - with a 7-5 record and a 3.67 ERA.
Karns will join ace Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker to help complete a top rotation in the American League. Karns has a power arm that will immediately enter the rotation.
A pitcher that could come back to the rotation is Hisashi Iwakuma, who is set to become a free agent. Dipoto will probably give the starter the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, which gives Iwakuma the choice to return or hit the open market.
One other thing that made Karns attractive was his controllability. The Mariners will be able to hang onto the pitcher until 2020.
Riefenhauser, a 25-year-old, struggled over 24 appearances in two seasons at the Major League level. His resume has a poor 6.30 ERA and 1.550 WHIP throughout his 20.0 innings pitched. The reliever should start in the MiLB, but will be called up if he shows early promise at the lower level.
The youngest player in the trade, Powell, hit .295 with three homers over 117 games with Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham during 2015. He was acquired by the Rays as part of the Zobrist trade with the Oakland Athletics last offseason.
Powell has the ability to make a huge difference at the Major League level, but only time will tell with the young prospect. He will be given a chance to compete for a spot in the outfield during 2016 Spring Training. Even if he does not initially make the team, Powell should help the team at some point.