The Rays have traded infielder/outfielder Richie Shaffer and infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter to the Mariners in exchange for minor league first baseman Dalton Kelly and minor league right-handers Andrew Kittredge and Dylan Thompson, the teams announced.
The 25-year-old Shaffer (pictured) was the 25th overall pick in the 2012 draft but has yet to live up to cement himself as a Major League contributor. He’s spent parts of the 2015-16 seasons at the Major League level, hitting .213/.310/.410 in 142 plate appearances. He’s been considerably more productive at the Triple-A level, where he’s slashed .243/.338/.445 with 30 homers in 188 games. The right-handed-hitting Shaffer has experience at all four corner positions but has spent the majority of the time at first base. In his big league career, he’s actually been better against right-handed pitching than left-handers, but he doesn’t come with much of a platoon split looking back throughout his minor league career.
Motter, 27, made his big league debut with Tampa Bay in 2016 and hit .188/.290/.300 in 93 plate appearances while seeing time at all four infield positions and both outfield corners. The bulk of his work came in left field and at the two middle-infield slots, but Motter’s versatility is undoubtedly an appealing factor to the Mariners, especially when considering the fact that he carries a fairly solid .266/.338/.437 slash with 27 homers and 45 steals in parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level (215 games).
Thompson rated as the Mariners’ No. 22 prospect, according to MLB.com, whose scouting report gives the former fourth-round pick (No. 125 overall, 2015) a chance to develop three average-or-better offerings. His fastball currently sits in the low 90s and touches 93 mph, though there’s some room for further growth, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, so he could add some heat down the line. He also has the makings of at least an average slider and changeup, though they’re both inconsistent, the MLB.com duo notes. Thompson just turned 20 in September and has a 2.87 ERA with 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 in 31 1/3 professional innings — all of which have come with the the club’s Rookie-level affiliate.
Kittredge, 27 next March, split this season between Seattle’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, posting a 3.50 earned run average with 10.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 72 innings of work. He made five starts but worked primarily out of the bullpen.
Kelly, 22, was a 38th-round pick by Seattle in 2015 but turned in a strong 2016 season despite that modest draft pedigree. In 564 plate appearances in the Class-A Midwest League, Kelly batted .293/.384/.416 with seven homers and 21 stolen bases. The UC Santa Barbara product sports a .384 OBP through parts of two professional seasons, having slashed .219/.385/.333 in 31 games after being drafted in ’15.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.