Mariners lose David Phelps to Tommy John surgery, continue to have terrible luck with pitcher trades

The Seattle Mariners, who have already been hit hard by injuries this spring, were dealt another big blow Wednesday. Setup man David Phelps will miss the 2018 season with a torn ligament in his elbow. He's going to have Tommy John surgery.

The Mariners acquired Phelps from the Miami Marlins at last year's trade deadline for four prospects. He threw only 8 2/3 innings after the trade around an elbow impingement. Phelps will become a free agent after the season, meaning his time with the Mariners is effectively over. Sure, they could re-sign him, but the book on the trade is closed.

MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
The Mariners lost David Phelps for the season Wednesday. USATSI

The Phelps trade follows a rather unfortunate pattern for the Mariners, who have had multiple pitchers suffer serious injuries relatively soon after coming over in trades within the past year or so. Something similar happened with Drew Smyly and Shae Simmons last season. Here are the trades:

So, if you're keeping score at home, that works out to eight prospects (Gohara, Burrows, Vargas, Yarbrough, Hernandez, Lopez, Miller, Schiraldi) for Smyly, Simmons and Phelps. Now here's what those three did for Seattle:

  • Smyly: Needed Tommy John surgery last spring and was non-tendered after the season. He never threw a pitch for the Mariners. Smyly signed with the Chicago Cubs over the winter.
  • Simmons: Allowed six runs in 7 2/3 innings while missing most of last season with a flexor strain. He also signed with the Cubs after being non-tendered.
  • Phelps: Allowed three runs in 8 2/3 innings, now needs Tommy John surgery. He'll be a free agent agent after the season.

To make matters worse, Gohara is a top prospect -- currently ranks him as the 49th-best prospect in baseball -- and Yarbrough is very likely to see big-league time with Tampa Bay this summer. The Mariners could definitely use both guys for rotation depth right now.

Eight prospects, including one top-50 prospect, to get 16 1/3 innings -- with nine runs allowed in those 16 1/3 innings -- from Smyly, Simmons and Phelps. Ouch. Pitchers, man. They'll break your heart. Baseball can be a real jerk sometimes.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for,,,... Full Bio

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