Red Sox Win Wade Miley for Carson Smith Trade with Mariners


The Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners got together for a trade on Monday, with Boston getting the better part of the deal.

The Boston Red Sox have been shopping their starting pitching depth ever since the signing of David Price became official. Now, they have found a home for one of them, trading Wade Miley to the Seattle Mariners, in a move first reported by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

In addition to Miley, the Red Sox are sending RHP Jonathan Aro to the Mariners in exchange for LHP Roenis Elias and RHP Carson Smith. The details of the entire deal were first brought to light by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Now, Miley is a decent depth starter who will undoubtedly bring some stability to the Mariners’ rotation, but it sure feels like they overpaid here. Smith is one of the most dominant set-up relievers in the game, and will be a massive weapon in the back of the Red Sox bullpen. The Red Sox had plenty of depth starters, making Miley perfectly expendable. While adding a relief ace like Smith will undoubtedly bolster the Red Sox bullpen.

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No matter how you look at it, the Red Sox won this trade. Instead of overpaying for starting pitching on the free agent market, the Mariners decided they were better off overpaying on the trade market for Miley. The left-handed Miley certainly brings Seattle some solid stability in the middle of the rotation, but there is little upside for them at all.

He will probably give them a solid 180-200 innings for a reasonable price for the next two years, but he is never going to put up huge production. Sending Smith to Boston seems like a steep price for him.

Smith was one of the premier relievers in all of baseball last season with the Mariners, pitching primarily in a set-up role, but also closing out some games. Smith has an unorthodox somewhat-sidearm delivery that has proven extremely difficult for opposing batters to pick-up.

He is primarily a slider and sinker pitcher, who also mixes up a change-up at times as well. His slider has nice sharp downward movement, but it is probably his 91-96 MPH sinker that is his best pitch.

Smith’s combination of stuff and deception allowed for an impressive 32% strikeout rate and a ridiculous 65% ground ball rate. With consistent downward movement on all of his pitches, Smith is among the best ground ball pitchers in all of baseball. Add that in with his impressive ability to strike batters out, and great control, and you can see why the Red Sox have landed one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball.

Adding Smith into a bullpen already featuring Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Tommy Layne gives the Red Sox an incredible mix of talent for the late innings. They have not only fixed their bullpen issues from last season, the Red Sox have turned it into a major position of strength.

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Trading Miley opens up the rotation for other options with more upside. Price, Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz and Eduardo Rodriguez will enter the season as the extremely likely one-through-four in the Red Sox rotation. With Joe Kelly, Steven Wright, Henry Owens and even the recently acquired Elias battling for the fifth starter job, the Red Sox will have plenty of quality depth in their starting rotation.

Smith and Miley were the primary pieces in the trade, but both Elias and Aro could make impacts on their new teams. Both are fringe prospect types who have some major league experience. This swap of pitchers does not swing the deal much in either direction.

Aro has a bit better numbers, but less value as an expected reliever. Elias has had success as both a starter and reliever, and could play a valuable swing role for the Red Sox.

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Basically, in this deal the Red Sox sent away a starting pitcher who they really did not need, in exchange for an elite set-up reliever. This deal was a major win for the Red Sox. Don’t take my word for it, as executives around baseball are saying the exact same thing.

One thing is for sure. The acquisition of Smith gives the Red Sox an elite bullpen, which will be a dangerous weapon for the team in 2016. As the Kansas City Royals have shown in recent seasons, a strong bullpen can make a huge difference. A+ trade for the Red Sox here. With all due respect to Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners, they got fleeced by Dave Dombrowski and company.