Seattle Mariners Acquire Edgar Olmos, Sam Gaviglio In Flurry Of Minor Moves


Thursday was the deadline for MLB teams to add players to their 40-man rosters in order to protect them from the impending Rule 5 Draft. This day annually brings with it a flurry of activity, and sure enough, there were over one hundred roster moves made on the day. Some of them were high profile – the Pirates cut Ike Davis! – most of them were not high profile. The Seattle Mariners made a few moves. None of them were high profile.

In advance of the deadline, the Miami Marlins put lefty reliever Edgar Olmos on waivers. The M’s claimed him and stuck him on the 40-man roster. Seems like just the other day we were talking about the M’s and lefty relievers! Well, they found one. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to find another.

Olmos is a 24-year-old who split time between AA and AAA last year, where he was terrible and okay, respectively. He’s had trouble with walks throughout his career, consistingly walking over four batters per nine. But in 51.1 innings at the highest level of the minors last year, Olmos walked 2.98 per nine. That’s pretty much exactly why the Mariners acquired him. He’ll get a look in the spring, maybe but probably not make the team, and hang out in Tacoma as potentially useful depth.

As the deadline drew closer to add players to the 40-man, the Mariners got rid of a cult favorite and projected roster addition. Ty Kelly had been playing the infield for the Tacoma Rainiers in recent years. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is the recurring FanGraphs feature that time and time again projected him as the most useful major league player hanging out in the minor leagues. Seemed like a neat find to most casual observers.

To the Seattle Mariners organization, however, Kelly was just a powerless player at a position of established major league depth. Forget his awesome .381 on-base percemtage – the M’s are all about power hitters, and so Kelly’s .412 slugging percentage (despite hitting fifteen long balls) likely carried him out of town. The M’s had a guy who could do everything except hit for power. That was enough to justify keeping him off the roster.

Not that they gave Kelly away for free, though, as he was traded straight up for minor league starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio. Last year pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals’ AA team, Gaviglio made 24 starts with a 4.28 ERA. Not awesome. But! He had a 3.24 FIP, which is more in line with what he’s done in the past. His strikeouts reached a new peak in 2014, and he could start the year in AAA. Not a bad depth piece who could potentially help the big league team as soon as next year.

Having already added Olmos to the 40-man, the M’s wrapped up their day by also deciding to roster John Hicks, Ketel Marte, and Mayckol Guiape. Hicks is a AAA catcher with a strong defensive reputation who hit well before being promoted. Marte turned heads as a AA shortstop, then actually hit a little better after a late-season promotion to Tacoma. Guiape broke out in 2014 with a ton of strikeouts and not a lot of walks out of the Jackson Generals’ bullpen.

The Mariners chose to protect three of their favorite prospects, then traded everyone else’s favorite prospect for a non-roster pitcher and added a guy with big league experience off the waiver wire. The offseason in Seattle so far has consisted of minor depth moves, but it’s not like they’ve yet to bring in a single player without upside. Things are off to a quiet start, but quiet can be nice.