Nate Karns

The Rays have announced their first trade of the offseason, sending starting pitcher Nate Karns, relief pitcher CJ Riefenhauser, and outfield prospect Boog Powell to the Mariners for three players, including first baseman Logan Morrison,

The Rays also received utility man Brad Miller and reliever Danny Farquhar.

Miller has to be considered the key acquisition by the Rays, a natural shortstop who has seen time at second base, third base, and in the outfield, and will fit in nicely with the Rays as a multi-glove player. The 26-year-old, a 2nd-round pick in 2011, put up some gaudy offensive numbers in the minors (.334 AVG, .409 OBP) that haven’t really translated to the big leagues (.248/.313) in parts of three seasons, but has shown flashes and even a little pop (14 HR per 162 games).

Morrison, a first baseman who also plays in the outfield, has been on the Rays’ radar for a while now. He has struggled with the bat in recent years (.239 AVG, .313 OBP the last 4 seasons), but this looks like a good gamble for the Rays. Morrison will be 28 next season, with most players hitting their peak at ages 28 and 29.

Farquhar is a 4-pitch (fastball in the low-90s, cutter, curve, change) who has impressive strikeouts totals, averaging 10.5 per 9 innings in parts of four seasons.

Karns is the big piece going to the Mariners. He was expendable with the Rays depth at starting pitching. Even without Karns, the Rays still have Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Matt Moore, Drew Smyly, Erasmo Ramirez, and Alex Colome.

That’s a lot of good arms.

Powell was not considered one of the Rays’ top 10 prospects by any major publication prior to the 2015 season.

We will have more on this trade shortly.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    I like the trade. Miller is pretty decent SS, that showed some nice pop this year, plus he has some exposure to the OF, if need to move him later on. It also relieves my fear that they'd try Beckham there full-time in 2016. Farquhar is a decent pen piece. Although he's coming off a down year, hopefully Hickey can get him back to his awesome 2014 season. LoMo essentially replaces Jaso at DH. Karns will end up being a good SP, but a starter was going to be traded this offseason with the surplus of depth.

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  2. Chris says:

    I'll miss Boog...

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  3. Starmand says:

    Wise moves. Solved the SS and DH problems and presumably 1B.

    Now on to Loney and Jennings. As to Loney, resolve the contract year dilemma. As to Jennings, there's just so much that Nationwide-is-on-your-side premiums can burden the team.

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    • Michael says:

      I agree with your comments on Loney and Jennings. I'd be pretty surprised if we were able to get anything back for those two. We're probably stuck with Loney at $7M, which is high but not absurdly so. At least he plays a really good 1B when healthy.

      Jennings on the other hand, is in his last year of arbitration and will probably get what -- ~$4.5 million? If nobody wants to give us anything for him, I'd be perfectly fine non-tendering him. He has practically zero chance at this point of living up to what we hoped for five years ago, and now he spends more time on the DL than on the field. Clearly Kiermaier, Souza, and Mahtook are ahead of him on the depth chart, and I guess he's about even with Guyer when healthy. No need to pay $4+ million for that.

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      • Starmand says:

        I expect a trade for Jennings soon.

        I'm certain DJ will appreciate a change to softer grounds. Because as we all know, if you hit a hard surface running, you can feel it in your teeth. TB is not doing him any favors by keeping him---tantamount to requiring him to sleep in a bed of nails. Rather comfortable until the time you want to slip your forearm under the pillow.

        See, the TB Rays FO does have a heart!

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  4. Greg says:

    Don't like this. Karns is a solid young arm and if the synopsis on Morrison is that he struggled the last 4 years (basically his whole career), then there's not a lot of upside here. I watched Morrison a lot when he was with the Marlins and he is bad at first base and worse in the outfield, so he really is a DH-only. Jaso was much better. Miller is not going to be as good as Asdrubal, so we have a net loss there too - so we've given away a good pitcher to get worse. Miller as a utility guy is only understandable if you want his bat in the lineup...which you don't. The super-utility guy (a la Zobrist) should be a good bat you are trying to get in the lineup - not a 9-hole hitter. Depressing start to the off-season.

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    • Michael says:

      What odd comments. Jaso and Asdrubal are free agents, they are no longer on the team. It would probably cost upwards of $30+ million in multi-year contracts to bring those guys back. So we're not replacing them -- we're filling holes.

      Karns surprisingly gave us a great year last year, but let's be honest. He was probably pitching a little over his head -- better to sell high while we have the chance. Given the SP depth, he is the obvious choice to deal when evaluating what we could get in return vs how much more upside there is with him.

      As far as the return, Riefenhauser was a big nobody on this team. Farquhar has been a really good RP in the past, so I consider that an upgrade there. Miller is the key as he has a chance to be a solid upgrade at SS over the Beckham/Franklin duo. I'm not too jazzed about adding LoMo either, but he does fill a hole and hopefully he proves us wrong.

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      • Greg says:

        What odd comments to my odd comments. You say we are filling holes rather than trying to get better. I understand we couldn't get Cabrera back, but Miller is not a starter. We didn't just get a starting SS so the only way he is the "key" to this deal is if he gets a hell of a lot better real quick! It's only good to sell high on someone if you get a good return and we didn't. I don't think we've gotten better and I don't think we filled any holes We still don't have SS and LoMo replacing Loney is a wash at best. So we got a nice bullpen piece in Farquhar. And in order to do that we gave away a decent starter.

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        • ORIGINALTOM says:

          What makes you so sure Miller is not a starter? Do we have someone in the organization who is better? I admit I have not seen him play that much but his numbers look pretty solid.

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  5. Gus says:

    Karns has a big frame and will probably be a solid pitcher until the inevitable elbow/shoulder injury sidelines him for a season. If you want a trade out of the Rays system, just claim "elbow tightness" like Karns and see how spooked they get.

    I really enjoyed Jaso and will be sad to see him go, since he was open to returning. But these guys aren't interested in paying anybody on the open market.

    Who leads off for this team?

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    • OriginalTom says:

      I am not sure if this trade means Jaso is not coming back. They could still move Loney.

      I am not a fan of Morrison but the Rays have had success with disappointing first basemen in the past (Kotchman, Pena, Loney) who come to the team in their prime and produce for a few years.

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  6. Starmand says:

    Besides the "Miller and Morrison" thing (that sounds like a rock band), everybody struggles to hit homers at Safeco. Just ask Cano.

    Sure, the Trop is no given, but I'm pretty excited that they'll both do very well here.

    In addition, Archer needs a mate to fool around with. Morrison should provide plenty of goofiness for him. And Farquhar will give heartfelt thanks for the opportunity to improve. Improve a lot.

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  7. edward says:

    just from looking up different takes on the web, it seems that the new ss won't be too bad, of course we won't know until he plays. They weren't going to re-sign Cabrera sooooo , what were they going to do , give it to beckham, or in my opinion worse give it to franklin. This is what as fans we are going to have to deal with , it's been this way for awhile, it is going to be interesting to see what they are going to do with Jennings and loney. I like loney but I have to agree that he is paid to much, and they do have schaffer in the wings. I will say though that the best thing they have done so far is keeping Jim Hickey, I just wish they would go out and get a big bat, somebody who is going to hit 30 or more homers a year, but that means spending money. Ok I won't go there anymore, as for this trade we will see. GO RAYS

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  8. Starmand says:

    The Rays don't have to trade Loney. They might decide that Shaffer is not yet ready, that Loney's stats will improve in his contract year and that they are well able to afford him just by trading Jennings.

    If everything goes well and everybody plays like they are capable of, a regular infield of Loney, Forsythe, Longoria and Miller ain't nothing to sneeze at. Some teams would give an arm and a leg for that.

    Spice it up with Morrison at DH and a regular outfield of Mahtook, Kiermaier and Souza.

    There's a lot of potential them than ther.

    Relievers are the need now. As to catchers, well... somebody has to be an automatic out and a rally snuffer.

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  9. AKborn says:

    Ms fan here. Have to say that this is a decent trade. None of us will know who won this trade for awhile. However, I like what Karns brings to my Mariners. Seems like a power throwing guy with a curve that gets a k/inning. Hopefully Boog will prove to be the guy for us in center cuz god knows we need someone that can play there consistently. Relievers, are well, relievers. Dime a dozen most of them. Lomo and Miller were both incredibly inconsistent and overall frustrating. Lomo would go on hot streaks for a month and hit over .300 and then the next month hit .150. Seattle knew miller could really only hit from one side of the plate so the reflected in the amount of ABs he got. The most frustrating part about miller was his inconsistency in the field. I could have sworn he was going to be our SS of the future and least 3 times last season, and then he boots the routine play and crushes your dreams. overall I would put this trade at around a 7 for both teams. Filling areas of need. Good luck to you TB with Miller, Lomo, and Lord Farquar

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  10. Beezy says:

    We might of been better off just trading Karns for a BIG hitting DH that would bat behind Longo at 4, and simply playing TB at SS...

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  11. Mord says:

    it is a bit of a bummer to see the Rays filling key roles with merely 'decent' players. I understand the nature of their economy and the need to 'buy low' on players they predict are about to improve, but that kind of gambling may be more likely to leave them stuck with roster holes filled by guys who are exactly what their mediocre numbers say they are

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