The 27-year-old southpaw's Jekyll-and-Hyde 2016 campaign makes his 2017 prospects somewhat uncertain heading into the spring, but the Mariners will be counting on getting the version of Smyly that has shown flashes of brilliance in the past. Smyly's second and final full season in a Rays uniform was a tale of two halves, with the lefty tallying only a pair of victories against 10 losses and a 5.47 ERA prior to the All-Star break, and a 5-2 record and 4.08 ERA after the Midsummer Classic. He amassed a career-high 12 losses and 4.88 ERA while also giving up a whopping 32 homers, easily a career-worst figure. However, the Mariners saw enough potential in Smyly's past body of work, including the positive stretches of his 2016 campaign, to make the move to acquire him, with general manager Jerry Dipoto noting that the team's "greatly improved outfield defense" and the lefty's profile as fly-ball pitcher with above-average control makes him a potentially ideal fit. With respect to last season's issues, Smyly identified problems with his trademark curve as the primary culprit for his struggles, an issue that he doesn't plan on allowing to resurface on his new club. "I have to mix speeds," he said. "I'm constantly trying to get the hitter guessing. I know I can throw strikes. I know I'm not going to walk guys. But it's just commanding the ball inside the strike zone, throwing quality strikes and changing speeds and keeping the hitter off-balance, that's the biggest key to pitching."
He was just traded from Tampa Bay to Seattle, in large part because the Rays did not want to pay him in arbitration. This was Smyly's second year as an arbitration-eligible player. The terms of the agreement were not announced. He should improve, at least slightly, on his numbers from last season with the Rays, and should receive more run support while spending less time in the harsh pitching conditions of the AL East.
Smyly was traded to the Mariners on Wednesday in exchange for a three-player package headlined by Mallex Smith.
The Rays had been looking to trade Smyly in order to avoid paying him in arbitration, and they found a partner in the Mariners. Tampa Bay received Smith, Carlos Vargas and Ryan Yarbrough in the return package. Smyly goes from one pitcher's park to another, but will receive more run support with the Mariners and will not have to deal with the harsh pitching conditions of the other parks in the AL East as frequently. He posted a 4.88 ERA (4.49 FIP), 1.27 WHIP and 167:49 K:BB in 175.1 innings last year. The home run ball really did him in, as has been the case his whole career, but his 1.64 HR/9 last season represented a career worst. Smyly is a good bet to rebound somewhat, likely pitching as a No. 4 starter for the Mariners.
The 27-year-old left-hander struggled through the majority of the campaign, amassing a career-high 12 losses and 4.88 ERA in the process. Smyly's 1.27 WHIP was also his highest in a full season, while the 32 homers he surrendered were nearly double his previous high of 18, which came in his Rays and Tigers tenures in 2014. His first half was particularly poor, with the lefty tallying only a pair of victories against 10 losses, along with a 5.47 ERA. Although he rebounded in the second half to forge a 5-2 record and generate a more respectable 4.08 ERA, the approximate $7 million he stands to be awarded in arbitration would likely prove too costly for a team looking to shore up the bullpen with some proven arms this offseason.
Smyly will not start Sunday against the Rangers.
Chase Whitley will get the nod instead in the season finale. That means Smyly is presumably done for the year, unless the team decides to throw him out there for his first relief appearance of the season this weekend. The 27-year-old Smyly has labored through his most recent outings, having exceeded his innings total from 2015 by more than 100 frames.
|10/2/2016 vs Texas|
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|2011||AFA-Lakeland Flying Tige||7||3||2.59||14||14||0||0||0||80.0||71||32||23||1||3||21||77|
|2012||AAA-Toledo Mud Hens||0||2||6.11||7||7||0||0||0||17.2||22||13||12||3||1||8||25|
|2015||AFA-Charlotte Stone Crab||0||0||5.40||3||3||0||0||0||8.1||10||5||5||1||0||0||9|