4:30pm: Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune hears from officials with both clubs that a trade is indeed close, but the Mariners are pushing to include a reliever other than Maurer, for whom the Padres are strongly pushing in talks.
12:03pm: The Mariners are close to a trade for Padres outfielder Seth Smith, Shannon Drayer of 710AM ESPN in Seattle tweets. The Padres are trying to get righty Brandon Maurer for Smith, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets.
The Padres, of course, have a surplus of outfielders after their recent string of trades for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, and the Mariners lost out on Melky Cabrera and have been known to be looking for outfield help, so a trade involving Smith would appear to make sense for both sides. The lefty Smith would fit well in right field, where the Mariners can use a platoon partner for the newly acquired Justin Ruggiano.
Smith, 32, is coming off a strong season for San Diego in which he hit .266/.367/.440, and in July, the Padres’ previous management signed Smith to a two-year, $13MM extension with a club option for 2017. After that, though, Smith tailed off in the second half, and in any case, the Padres’ current glut of outfielders makes him an obvious trade candidate — Kemp, Upton and Myers are all arguably best best utilized in the corner outfield spots, and Smith has played exclusively corner outfield in the Majors since 2008.
Maurer, 24, had a 4.65 ERA in 2014, but with fairly good peripherals (7.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9) and a big fastball (averaging 94.4 MPH). Maurer also got much better results pitching in relief (9.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9) than starting. If the trade is completed, he could compete for the Padres’ fifth starter job, but he might ultimately be best suited for relief. He also has fly ball tendencies, which could make him a good fit for PETCO Park.