The Mariners have traded a reliever, but it isn’t the one that has been rumored to go all season.
Steve Delabar has been traded to the Blue Jays for outfielder Eric Thames.
Delabar was a weird pitcher for the Mariners this year, striking out 11.29 batters per 9 innings and only walking 2.70 batters per 9 innings. However, he struggled with homers, giving up an appalling 2.21 homers per 9 innings pitched. This was frustrating since Delabar has really good stuff (as evidenced by the strikeouts) with a fastball averaging 93.6 MPH (and touching 95 MPH regularly. He also has a good splitter but doesn’t have great control of it. He is also under club control until 2018 (not even arbitration eligible until 2015). I like Delabar, but the bouts of control problems combined with how well the Mariners have been able to build the bullpen made him expendable.
In return the Mariners get corner outfielder Eric Thames, a 25 year old with the same contract situation. The former 7th round pick was with AAA Las Vegas at the time of the trade. In 51 games, he was walking 11.4 % and striking out 17.5 %. His slash line was .335/.412/.536 in the incredibly offensive friendly PCL environment. In 141 career games in the Majors, he had a 98 wRC+ (which is slightly below league average, and even worse considering him being a corner outfielder). While getting positive baserunning ratings (but just a 4.9 speed score, below average), his UZR in the outfield (his DRS is bad too) is horrible. The Fan Scouting Report rates his speed just below average with an extremely weak arm. In his big league career, he has a 5.8% walk rate and a 23.1% strikeout rate.
My initial reaction is that I don’t like this trade for the Mariners, but I will have a better post on Thames later.