Mariners lose David Phelps to Tommy John surgery, continue to have terrible luck with pitcher trades
Phelps is the third Mariners pitcher in the past year to suffer a serious injury soon after being acquired
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.
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:
- Mariners trade Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows to the Atlanta Braves for Simmons and Mallex Smith.
- Mariners trade Smith, Carlos Vargas and Ryan Yarbrough to the Tampa Bay Rays for Smyly.
- Mariners trade Brayan Hernandez, Pablo Lopez, Brandon Miller and Lukas Schiraldi to the Marlins for Phelps.
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 -- MLB.com 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.
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