It’s not an earth-shattering trade by any means, but it certainly does have at least one significant implication. The Yankees are facing a significant roster crunch that needs to be resolved by November 20th, which is the deadline to set rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. As Josh Norris of Baseball America points out (subscription required and recommended), the Yankees only had two open spots on the 40-man as of Thursday, and have a number of players worth protecting. That list includes No. 3 overall prospect Gleyber Torres, along with Albert Abreu, Thairo Estrada, Domingo Acevedo and Billy McKinney. Trading Rumbelow, who was added to the 40-man roster on November 6th, doesn’t magically solve the Yankees’ Rule 5 dilemma, but it helps by clearing one more spot.
This is the third trade to go down during the 2017-2018 offseason, and the Mariners have been involved in all three so far. Most recently, Seattle also acquired corner infielder Ryon Healy from the Athletics (link).
[Related: Updated Mariners Depth Chart]
Rumbelow has just 15 2/3 major league innings under his belt, all coming in relief during the 2015 season. The right-hander allowed seven runs and struck out 15 while walking five batters. He began the 2016 season at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre and pitched just one inning before suffering a UCL sprain and ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was subsequently designated for assignment in mid-November. However, it only took 11 1/3 solid minor league innings this past season to convince the Yankees to add him back to the 40-man.
Sears, 21, was an 11th-round pick in this year’s draft out of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. The reliever struck out a whopping 49 batters across just 27 2/3 innings across two levels of the lower minors, including 17 innings in A-ball during which he didn’t allow a run.
The 17-year-old Then was an international signing out of the Dominican Republic. Like Sears, his only professional season to date is 2017. The right-hander started 13 games for the Mariners’ Rookie affiliate, posting an excellent 2.64 ERA to go along with 8.22 K/9, 2.20 BB/9 and a 53% ground ball rate.