Mariners dive into trade market again landing two key veterans from Rays

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor

Jerry Dipoto has done it again.

The always aggressive Seattle Mariners general manager pulled off the first significant trade of the 2018 season, acquiring veteran outfielder Denard Span and closer Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Marc Topkins of the Tampa Bay Times was the first to report the deal late Friday afternoon.

Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports right-handed pitcher Andrew Moore is among the players headed to Tampa Bay. Tommy Romero, another right-handed pitcher, is also in the deal, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

Why did Jerry Dipoto make this trade now?

If you haven’t noticed, the Mariners have had a pretty rough two-week stretch.

First, Robinson Cano was hit with an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s joint drug agreement and testing positive for a banned substance. That not only knocks the All-Star second baseman out of the lineup for half of the regular season, but also disqualifies him from participating in the postseason should Seattle end its 17-year drought.

Veteran Denard Span is headed to the Mariners following trade from Rays. (AP)
Veteran Denard Span is headed to the Mariners following trade from Rays. (AP)

On top of that, Dee Gordon, the second baseman-turned-center fielder who was being prepared to play second base again, suffered a broken toe that will keep him sidelined for awhile. The Mariners needed a player they could plug into the lineup every day, and Span certainly provides that. He’s a veteran who should immediately slot atop their lineup.

Span, 34, is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.

Where does Alex Colome fit in Seattle?

Colome has been the Rays closer for the last three years, and he’s done a pretty solid job in that role collecting 95 saves during that timeframe. The veteran right-hander was 11-for-13 in save chances this season while posting a 4.15 ERA over 21.2 innings

That won’t be his job though in Seattle. The Mariners already have a top notch closer in Edwin Diaz, so Colome will have to settle into a set up role.

All things considered, he might be better suited for that role anyway. Colome doesn’t quite have the explosive arm Diaz does, and his command can get away from him. If nothing else, Colome’s experience gives manager Scott Servais another needed late-inning option with free-agent signee Juan Nicasio struggling.

Who are the prospects heading to Tampa Bay?

The Rays will add two right-handed pitchers to the mix.

Andrew Moore was Seattle’s second round pick in 2015. He worked his way through their minor-league system quickly, debuting with the Mariners last season. Moore pitched 59 big league innings in 2017, posting a 5.34 ERA. Moore has a 3.04 ERA in 50.1 Double-A innings this season. Given how thin Tampa Bay’s staff is, he could be back in the big leagues sooner than later.

Tommy Romero was a 15th round selection by Seattle in the 2017 MLB Draft. He’s spent the entire 2018 season in A-ball.

Who are other notable players Jerry Dipoto has traded for?

Since becoming the Mariners general manager in September of 2015, Dipoto has made over 60 trades with 22 different teams. Not all of those trades have been blockbusters. In fact, very few have been relative to the sheer amount of deals he’s made, but he has brought some important players into the Mariners mix via trades.

The most recent notable player Dipoto traded for was Dee Gordon. He took advantage of the Miami Marlins fire sale to acquire Gordon this past December. As noted previously, the plan was for Gordon to man center field this season. He’s done so admirably to this point, but the lineup will be in flux thanks to Cano’s suspension. Expect more Gordon at second base once he’s healthy.

In November 2016, Dipoto acquired Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte. That deal is looking like a win for Dipoto with Segura and Haniger looking like long-term fixtures in the lineup.

On the flip side, another trade with Tampa Bay went the other direction. In January 2017, he acquired left-hander Drew Smyly for three players, including Mallex Smith. Smyly never threw a regular season pitch for Seattle after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Smyly is currently rehabbing with the Chicago Cubs.

Dipoto’s trade record is not spotless, but his continued aggression shows his commitment to bringing a winning team to Seattle.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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