ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired outfielder Mallex Smith, minor league shortstop Carlos Vargas and minor league left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly.
Smith, 23, hit .238/.316/.365 (45-for-189) in 72 games (50 starts; 32-CF, 17-LF, 1-RF) last season with the Atlanta Braves, missing nearly three months due to a fractured left thumb. His 16 stolen bases ranked fifth among major league rookies, trailing Trea Turner (Nationals), Travis Jankowski (Padres), Keon Broxton (Brewers) and Jose Peraza (Reds). The left-handed hitter is a career .296/.382/.389 (456-for-1,539) hitter over parts of five minor league seasons, having recorded 230 stolen bases across 399 games including a minor league leading 88 steals in 2014. Smith was acquired earlier today by the Mariners from the Braves. He was born in Tallahassee, Fla. and was selected by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of the 2012 June Draft out of Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville.
Vargas, 17, hit .242/.344/.391 (52-for-215) with 41 runs scored, seven home runs and 35 RBI in 62 games during his professional debut with the DSL Mariners in 2016. He was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 19 international prospect for the 2015 class, and signed with the Mariners on July 2, 2015.
Yarbrough, 25, spent the 2016 season with Double-A Jackson (Mariners) and was named Southern League Pitcher of the Year, going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA (128.1-IP, 42-ER) in 25 starts. He tied for the SL lead in wins, ranked second in ERA (trailing Montgomery’s Chih-Wei Hu) and WHIP and third in opponents’ average. He was born in Lakeland, Fla. and was selected by the Mariners in the fourth round of the 2014 June Draft. He has gone 16-13 with a 3.09 ERA (267.2-IP, 92-ER) over three minor league seasons.
Smyly, 27, went 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA (175.1-IP, 95-ER) in 30 starts for the Rays in 2016, establishing career highs in starts, innings pitched and strikeouts (167). Over his final 12 starts, he went 5-1 with a 3.73 ERA (70-IP, 29-ER). He recorded four double-digit strikeout games, a mark topped by only three American League pitchers: Boston’s David Price (seven), Detroit’s Justin Verlander (seven) and teammate Chris Archer (six). Smyly was acquired by the Rays from Detroit as part of the Price trade on July 31, 2014. Over parts of three seasons with the Rays, he went 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA (289.2-IP, 127-ER) and 288 strikeouts in 49 starts