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Mariners Acquire Seth Smith, Erasmo Ramirez Watch Begins

The Seth Smith watch is officially over now that Seth Smith is a Seattle Mariner. The Padres shipped him to Seattle for Brandon Maurer.

This looks like a win-win deal. San Diego was in the market for bullpen help so the Mariners matched up very nicely with them. Maurer has a great arm that, out of the bullpen, rushes the ball up to the plate near 100 miles an hour. He also has some tantalizing secondary stuff, particularly a slider that sits near 90 mph. There are likely still some people who think Maurer could develop into a starter, but I gave on that dream several horrid showings ago. Still, he deserves to be in an MLB bullpen and it was hard to find him a spot in the M's loaded unit.

Smith, as I noted a few weeks ago, is a terrific platoon partner for Justin Ruggiano. Since Smith will be the platoon partner facing righties he will see more playing time, which allows Ruggiano to be a quasi reserve outfielder. His decent speed and defense could be assets off the bench.

The Mariners look quite a bit like a finished team at this point. Some want a strong backup for Logan Morrison at first base, and that would make some sense. However, it's pretty clear that DJ Peterson is the future at first base, and that future could come as early as this summer if needed. In the meantime, there are some promising reports on Jesus Montero this offseason. Perhaps he is enough of a stopgap if needed. Personally, I won't be disappointed if the Mariners roll the dice with LoMo and the first base options they have right now...

Erasmo Ramirez (UCinternational, Wikimedia
Commons via Keith Allison, Flickr)
...with one exception. I would offer Erasmo Ramirez to the Red Sox for Allen Craig and see what they say. Ramirez is out of options and doesn't have a clear spot on the Mariners roster, particularly with the addition of J.A. Happ. Boston signed guys like Justin Masterson to one-year deals to fill out their rotation and have a glut of hitters on their roster now after signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. So, a Ramirez-for-Craig swap might make some sense for both sides. Craig also has experience playing the outfield, which would be a plus for the Mariners roster. The problem with Craig is his fast decline the past few years. The drop might be injury-related, and if it is he is a candidate for a strong comeback. However, at this point the Mariners can afford to take the risk because of the other hitters they have already acquired this offseason.

Here's how the M's roster could look with Allen Craig in the fold:

Starters
C Mike Zunino, 1B Logan Morrison, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Brad Miller, 3B Kyle Seager, LF Dustin Ackley, CF Austin Jackson, RF Seth Smith/Justin Ruggiano, DH Nelson Cruz

Bench
C Jesus Sucre, INF Willie Bloomquist, 1B/OF Allen Craig

Rotation
Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker

Bullpen
Fernando Rodney, Charlie Furbush, Tom Wilhelmsen, Danny Farquhar, Yoervis Medina, Dominic Leone, David Rollins

Depth in minor leagues
SS Chris Taylor, 1B Jesus Montero, 1B DJ Peterson, OF James Jones, OF Stefen Romero, LHP Roenis Elias, RHP Carson Smith

This is all hypothetical, and there are some spring training battles brewing (those battles are for future posts), but the picture and festering issues are clear enough. Even with Erasmo Ramirez out of the picture it's virtually impossible to find a way for a few quality arms to make the Mariners roster. Even if they don't keep Rollins, their rule 5 pick, that still leaves a guy like Carson Smith in Tacoma.

I don't see a great fit for Erasmo Ramirez on the Mariners roster, but I think he has value to other teams. So, since I feel emboldened by the Seth Smith watch, I hereby declare that the Erasmo Ramirez watch has begun. Trading Ramirez is not as blatantly obvious of a move as acquiring Seth Smith, but it's obvious enough to watch for it. What's more interesting is who the Mariners might get in return. I would go after Allen Craig but I suppose we will see what does (or doesn't) happen.