The Red Sox and Mariners have agreed to a trade that will send Wade Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro to Seattle in exchange for Roenis Elias and Carson Smith. Jon Heyman had the news first.
So...I don't understand this one. From the Mariners' perspective, that is. Wade Miley was the solid #5 the Red Sox needed given their ragtag bunch of guys behind David Price. He was important for that role because while Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, and Clay Buchholz could all turn out to be worthy of a #2 spot, they could also all be disasters. After all, we're talking about a train wreck from 2015, a guy with 120 innings, and Clay Buchholz coming off an injury. God only knows.
Trading him with no reliable replacement would have been reckless. But Roenis Elias kind of fills that role. He's not great. Neither was Miley. He doesn't have the same innings totals as Miley, but when he was in the rotation for the Mariners, he very much played the part the Red Sox expected Miley to. He went out there, threw somewhere in the vicinity of six innings, and generally gave the Mariners a chance to win.
So that's Elias. He might be the number five, or the Red Sox might have even bigger plans in store. It's a slightly negative move from Miley, but not significantly. Closer to lateral, even if it means at the end of the day that the rotation could use another bump.
Then there's Carson Smith.
How the Sox rotation can survive a pitching trade
The Red Sox might trade a pitcher, but if the rotation has depth, it needs just about all of it. If the Sox trade one of their top-five starters, another shoe has to drop.
Carson Smith threw 70 innings in relief for the Mariners last year. He struck out 92 batters and pitched to a 2.31 ERA. His walk rate is not otherworldly, but came in below 3.0. He's also a big-time ground ball pitcher, relying on the sinker as he does, with a full two thirds of his balls in play coming on the ground. Craig Kimbrel is Boston's closer for the next few years. If you want to know who follows in his footsteps, well, Smith is under team control through the end of 2020. The Red Sox wanted another bullpen piece, and they got one. They got a really good one who won't cost them much of anything in payroll.
Jonathan Aro? Maybe he catches on in Seattle's bullpen. Maybe not. He shouldn't really shift the meter.
Dave Dombrowski has been known for struggling to put together bullpens in the past. It seems he's decided not to take many chances this year. Kimbrel, Uehara, Tazawa, and now Smith. I'm still not entirely sure how he added this most recent piece to the mix, but Red Sox fans should be plenty happy that he did.