Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mariners trade League to Dodgers; Delabar to Blue Jays for prospects

By Kshell

That time of year again where the fire sale for the Seattle Mariners begins under Jack Zduriencik. This time Zduriencik traded away former all-star closer Brandon League to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two prospects and traded feel good story reliever Steve Delabar to the Toronto Blue Jays for an outfielder. League was dealt for an outfielder and a reliever as the Mariners continue to try to build their farm system. League had spent two and a half seasons with the Mariners after Zdurienick traded for him from the Toronto Blue Jays for high draft pick Brandon Morrow. League was a setup man in 2010, then became the closer in 2011 where he made the all-star team only to lose his closing job during this season which then made him very expendable. For Delabar he has a great arm and was featured on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Delabar's problem this season has been the long ball and the Mariners have two young relievers ready to come up so this was two solid trades by Zduriencik.

League's best two moments in Seattle were when he made the all-star team in 2011 and this year against the team he is now on the Los Angeles Dodgers. League combined with five other pitchers on throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers. For League he came into a second and third one out situation in the eighth inning were one base hit would have lost the game. League got out of the jam. In 2011 when League made the all-star team he recorded 37 saves while throwing 61.1 innings. He posted a 2.79 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and struck out 45 hitters(6.6 K's per 9). This year he has struggled as he had just nine saves while blowing six and has just six holds. He has a 3.63 ERA while throwing 44.2 innings with a 1.50 WHIP and striking out only 27 batters(5.4 K's per 9). For his Mariners career he went 10-17 in 181 games having thrown 185 innings. He recorded 52 saves and 19 holds with a 3.26 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 128 strikeouts(6.2 K's per 9). It was time for League to move on and I would have liked to have seen the Mariners trade him a year ago so his value was high. Such is the case with this franchise they always love to trade players a year too late.

The Mariners also traded away reliever Steve Delabar to the Toronto Blue Jays. He was featured on Real Sports on HBO because he was a former teacher who made it the big leagues with the Mariners in 2011. In 2011 Delabar appeared in six games having thrown seven innings. Delabar was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and seven strikeouts(9.0 K's per 9). This year big things were expected of him instead due to the long ball he struggled. This season Delabar while in Seattle has appeared in 34 games. He is 2-1 with three holds having thrown 36.2 innings. He is sporting a 4.17 ERA despite a 0.92 WHIP having struck out 46 hitters(11.3 K's per 9). His problem is he has allowed nine home runs(2.2 per 9 innings) which is a lot for any pitcher especially a reliever. He also pitched in nine games down in Tacoma where he went 0-1 with one save having thrown 12 innings. He posted a 3.75 ERA, 1.92 WHIP and struck out 12 batters(9.0 K's per 9). Delabar despite most media in this city making fun of him actually has good stuff and if you look past his ERA you can see his WHIP and K's per 9 is really good. In fact I'm a little bummed out about losing Delabar while I'm actually glad League and his low K's and high WHIP has been traded.

What the Mariners got in these trades were from the Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames who will be joining the team immediately. While from the Dodgers they acquired outfielder Leon Landry and reliever Logan Bawcom who will both spend time in the Mariners minors. Thames this year for the Blue Jays in 160 PA's hit .243/.288/.365 with only three home runs. In triple A Las Vegas Thames is hitting .330/.407/.528 in 231 PA's with six home runs. Last year was a breakout year for Thames the Blue Jays thought. In triple A Las Vegas he hit .352/.423/.610 in 241 PA's with seven home runs. Then in the major leagues he hit .262/.313/.456 in 394 PA's with 12 home runs. Thames will be a nice lefty outfield bat for the Mariners which they'll need and I would rather him play over Peguero in the outfield. Now Thames in two major league seasons has been terrible on defense posting a negative 1.7 WAR last year defensively and a negative 0.6 WAR this year defensively. The Mariners do need some hitters and in the minor leagues and in small sample size in the major leagues the 25 year old Thames has proven he can hit which should be a nice addition for the ball club right now.

As for who the Mariners got in the Brandon League trade from the Dodgers that is more interesting. First Leon Landry who was a third round pick by the Dodgers in 2010 take out of LSU Tigers. Landry this year in high A ball is hitting .328/.358/.559 in 376 PA's. Landry has eight home runs, 51 RBI's, 63 runs scored. He also brings speed to the table as he has hit 15 triples and stolen 20 bases in only 80 games. Landry will turn 23 this late September. Like Thames, Landry also is a left handed hitter who hopefully can keep developing as he is a career .297/.344/.457 hitter in 1,202 PA's with 16 home runs and 30 triples alone with 61 stolen bases in only 262 career games. The other piece the Mariners acquired is Logan Bawcom who was a 17th round pick in the 2010 draft from the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks(you might recognize them as the Huskies defeated them in the NIT). Bawcom this season starting off in high A ball like Landry. In high A ball Bawcom was 1-1 with seven saves in 14 innings pitched. In those 14 innings he posted a 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and struck out 24 batters(15.4 K's per 9). He was them promoted to double A where so far he is 3-3 with 13 saves in 34.2 innings ptiched. In those 34.2 innings he has posted a 2.60 ERA, 1.32 WHP and struck out 36 batters(9.3 K's per 9). He'll be 24 years old this November and has always had a great strikeout rate throughout the minor leagues.

The Mariners are once again building through the farm and are hoping that these pieces will continue to prosper for them. Not all the prospects will pan out but take a look at last years Doug Fister trade where the Mariners acquired Casper Wells(hitting .249/.317/.407 in 209 PA's with six home runs) and Charlie Furbush(4-2, 34 games, 37.1 innings, 2.17 ERA, 0.80 WHP, 47 K's, 11.3 K's per 9) you are hoping for a similar result. I don't know about the Delabar deal but with Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps on their way up I doubt the Mariners will miss him. Just like the Mariners aren't going to miss Doug Fister in a few years if now. The League trade has potential to be a good steal for the Mariners as he was good last year but terrible this year. If not for the "proven closer" label I doubt the Dodgers give the Mariners some nice pieces for him. Like I said I think Delabar is better than League and I'm not upset at all about losing League. I'm curious how these three guys do in Seattle and we'll get a chance to see Thames quite a bit this year as he'll be on the big league roster. As for the other two hopefully someday I'll be getting a chance to see them as well. The Mariners aren't done by any chance as they could still be selling as today is the trade deadline.

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