Padres trade Seth Smith to Mariners for Brandon Maurer
San Diego receives potential back-end bullpen help in exchange for its best hitter from 2014.
The Seattle Mariners on Tuesday acquired outfielder Seth Smith from the San Diego Padres in exchange for relief pitcher Brandon Maurer, according to a team announcement.
Smith, 32, hit .266/.367/.440 — good for a 135 OPS+ — in 521 plate appearances for the Padres last season. The eight-year veteran did most of his damage against right-handed pitchers; Smith stepped to the plate just 66 times against southpaws but managed to draw 16 walks despite not hitting for average or power in those situations.
For his career, Smith owns a .277/.358/.481 line against righties but has hit just .205/.291/.314 when facing lefties. Perhaps with that in mind, the Mariners will likely platoon him with fellow offseason acquisition Justin Ruggiano, who has posted a .266/.329/.508 line in 443 plate appearances against left-handed hurlers.
Maurer, 24, found success in a relief role after a rough seven-start stretch for the Mariners last season. He was lit up by opposing hitters to the tune of a 7.52 ERA as a starter but flourished in Seattle’s powerful bullpen, striking out 38 batters and walking only five in 37⅓ innings. Maurer’s ERA was just 2.17 in 31 relief appearances.
The Padres add Maurer to the back-end of a formidable bullpen that includes Shawn Kelley — a fellow Mariners draft pick recently acquired from the New York Yankees — and veteran Joaquin Benoit. After Huston Street was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in a midseason deal, Benoit took over as San Diego’s closer and finished strong. He didn’t allow a run in his final 14 appearances, striking out 18 batters and walking only three in 14⅔ innings en route to 10 saves during that stretch.
Kelley finished 2014 with a pedestrian 4.53 ERA but struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings and posted a 3.02 FIP.