No new (zip code) friends
After the big splash of acquiring Luis Castillo and setting the starting pitcher trade market on fire, plus a handful of other marginal moves—picking up Travis Jankowski on waivers, signing Jonathan Villar to a minors deal—the Mariners closed up the trade deadline with two more modest deals, acquiring Jake Lamb for cash considerations or a PTBNL from the Dodgers, and trading with the Giants to acquire a pair of injured players in C Curt Casali and LHP Matthew Boyd. Of note, both Lamb and Boyd are not just local but have deep ties to the Northwest: Boyd is a Mercer Island native who went to Eastside Catholic and then Oregon State, and Jake Lamb, who grew up in the Queen Anne neighborhood, went to Bishop Blanchet, and played his college ball for UW.
Here’s the writeup on the Casali trade before we realized it was actually a four-player deal:
We’ll start with Boyd, whose acquisition is tied to the acquisition of Curt Casali as it’s a four-player trade instead of two- two-player trades, although that doesn’t adjust the math much. In addition to reliever Michael Stryffeler, the Mariners will also be sending the Giants C Andy Thomas, a 2021 fifth-rounder from Baylor who has been the rock of Everett’s lineup this year, providing excellent defense and stable offense with some pop. It’s a little surprising the Giants continue collecting catching prospects, but they’ve certainly had a chance to get a good look at Thomas as the Giants’ affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds, plays the Everett AquaSox in the tiny Northwest League almost constantly.
Boyd was a solid pitcher for the Tigers and had a career-best year in 2019, but struggled in the pandemic-shortened season, when a touch of homer flu blew into full-blown dingeritis. In 2021, a strong start to the season got waylaid when Boyd had recurring arm troubles, which eventually resulted in him needing flexor tendon surgery in September. The Giants signed Boyd to a one-year incentive-laden deal for $5.2M, knowing he wouldn’t be available until June at the earliest, and then waiting again after an injury setback with his injured flexor tendon pushed his timetable back further. Boyd is still yet to throw a competitive pitch in 2022, but he has progressed to throwing bullpens in late July. Although he still profiles as a starter, he’ll likely have to work out of a bullpen role in 2022 given his long layoff and the amount of time remaining in the season, but that all depends on how he progresses as he ramps up his recovery.
The other player the Mariners acquired before the end of the trade deadline is infielder (3B/1B/LF) Jake Lamb, who’d been with the Dodgers this season. Lamb impressed in spring training but ultimately fell short of being added to the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, although they wound up calling him up in late June anyway when Zach McKinstry went on the IL with neck stiffness. The 31-year-old is several years removed from his 2017 All-Star turn, and his strikeouts have crept up worryingly over the years even as he’s continued to take his walks, but he has some surprising pop and apparently went through an extensive swing change this off-season that led to his spring training resurgence.
Jake Lamb is batting clean-up for the Dodgers today and has an .887 OPS in 47 plate appearances this year.
— Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) July 24, 2022
To make room for these players, the Mariners DFA’d OF Jack Larsen, who has had a wild few days but should clear waivers and come back to Arkansas or Tacoma, and released Tommy Milone. Thank you, Tommy Milone, for your service, mostly in some truly thankless games. It was noticed, and appreciated.