Seattle acquired right-handed starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore in exchange for outfielder Seth Smith. To help pay Gallardo's contract, it is expected that Seattle will recieve about $2 million in the deal.
The trade fills theoretical needs for both sides. The Mariners have been looking for a back-of-the-rotation starter with some upside like Gallardo, while the Orioles have searched for a corner hitting outfielder with some power, and Smith certainly fits the bill.
After a one-year stint with the Texas Rangers, Gallardo signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Orioles that will pay him exactly $11 million in 2017. The deal comes with a team option for 2018, valued at $13 million with a $2 million buyout.
By no means was Gallardo a phenomenal pitcher in 2016, but he was, at a minimum, servicable.
Over 118 innings, Gallardo went 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA. An 85-61 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn't promising, either, and his 5.04 FIP and 5.22 xFIP reflect that. But, according to FanGraphs, he was still worth 0.6 Wins Above Replacement.
The Mariners hope that a transition from the hitter-heavy AL East to a much lighter AL West could help Gallardo improve. He did post a 3.42 ERA pitching for Texas in that same division in 2015, so it is not impossible that he is not at least better than he was last year.
Gallardo enters a rotation that currently projects to include Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, James Paxton and Ariel Miranda.
As for Smith and the Orioles, the 34-year-old was picked just four picks after Gallardo in the 2nd round of the 2004 Draft. Smith, taken by the Colorado Rockies, spent five seasons there before bouncing around with Oakland and San Diego.
He landed in Seattle for the 2015 season on a three-year, $19.75 million contract. Set to become a free agent at the season's end, Smith will make $7 million this year.
Last season, Smith accumulated 438 plate appearances in the Pacific Northwest, slashing .249/.342/.415 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs. Smith's power was good, posting a .167 isolated power (.170 is considered "above average") but was not nearly as solid as it was the year prior. He was worth 0.5 WAR, per FanGraphs.
The Orioles play at Camden Yards, one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks, especially for left-handed hitters. Their hope is that he can be a cheap power source for them in the outfield.
Baltimore's outfield, in addition to Smith, projects to include Hyun-soo Kim and Adam Jones.
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles will be saving $4 million in the trade.