The Rays and Mariners made kind of an odd trade on Friday as Tampa Bay sent 1st baseman/outfielder Richie Schaffer and infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter to the Mariners. In return, Seattle sent 1st baseman Dalton Kelly, right-handed pitcher Andrew Kittredge, and right-handed pitcher Dylan Thompson to the Rays.
I really don’t get why the Rays would make this trade because they pride themselves on drafting and developing their players. However, by getting rid of Motter and Schaffer they are basically giving up on those 2 players that they drafted without even really giving them an opportunity. Schaffer was a 1st round pick in 2012 and he has only 142 plate appearances at the MLB level. Sure, he hasn’t taken advantage of his limited opportunities, but the Rays should have been given more consistent playing time before they should have given up on him. It makes more sense for Tampa Bay to trade Motter since he was a lower round draft pick and he had many years of minor league experience in order to develop. Also, the return that the Rays received in this trade isn’t very exciting. Dalton Kelly is only 22 years old and he had an impressive year as he hit .293 with 58 RBI’s in single-A last season. However, he doesn’t have much power in his bat and even though he put up impressive numbers in the minor leagues I still don’t believe those numbers will translate well to the MLB. We’ll see if Kelly can improve on those numbers in Double-A, but he will be a project for the Rays to develop. Andrew Kittredge is probably the most major league ready player that the Rays are receiving. However, nothing really excites me about him because he was a 45th round draft pick in 2008 and he’ll be 27 next season which is really old for a player that hasn’t made his MLB debut. His 4.49 career ERA in the minor leagues doesn’t look appealing. If he does make it to the MLB soon then he’ll likely used as bullpen depth at best. Finally, Dylan Thompson is by far the most intriguing player that the Rays will be receiving in this trade. He was a 4th round pick in 2015 and he put up a 2.87 ERA with the Mariners rookie-level team. Thompson just turned 20 years old and he’ll be likely start the 2017 season in single-A. However, Thompson doesn’t throw very hard, so he will need to make sure he can locate pitches well before he reaches the MLB level. Either way, it will take at least a few years for Thompson to make it to the majors even if he keeps putting up solid numbers like he did last year. Overall, I don’t know how this trade will really benefit the Rays in the short-term or the long-term. The return that the Rays received wasn’t very good and they probably shouldn’t have given on Schaffer so soon.
This trade makes a little bit more sense for the Mariners than it does for the Rays, yet it’s still kind of a worthless trade for Seattle. Schaffer is probably the best part of this trade as he was a former 1st round pick of the Rays which shows that he has tons of potential. However, for whatever reason he just hasn’t been successful in his limited time at the MLB level as he has hit only .213 with 5 home runs in Tampa Bay. Schaffer has tremendous power as he hit 71 home runs in the minor leagues, but he needs to become a more complete hitter to be successful. Schaffer primarily plays 1st base, but he can play either of the corner outfield spots as well. Schaffer will likely play in a platoon role with Seattle with his position versatility and because he is a much better hitter against left-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Taylor Motter has limited MLB experience as well and he has been terrible as he hit only .188 with 2 home runs during his time with the Rays. Motter is already 27 years old, so it’s hard to expect him to be much more than a depth piece for the Mariners. Motter will likely start 2017 at Triple-A because clearly he isn’t ready to make much of an impact at the MLB level. The Mariners are also giving up 3 players in return that would have taken forever to develop. Ketteridge has been in the Mariners system for awhile and it didn’t even seem like he would ever make it to the major leagues. Also, Dalton Kelly and Dylan Thompson have more potential since they are both really young, yet they are still at least 3-5 years away from making it to the MLB. Overall, this trade is just Seattle seeing if they can get some sort of impact from Schaffer and Motter at the MLB level. Maybe a change of scenery will benefit Schaffer, but overall this trade for the Mariners will be an experimentation that probably won’t work.