Mariners Move on from Karns, Trade Dyson
After the Gallardo-Smith deal, the Mariners were in need for a replacement outfielder. The ideal replacement would be a player who provided more defense and a threat on the base-paths. Enter Jarrod Dyson.
Dyson is a 32 year outfielder, formerly of the Kansas City Royals. He throws right and hits left, and is entering the final year of his orignal club control years. He doesn't have the same offensive profile as Seth Smith, adding almost no power to the lineup, but had a career year in 2016. He had a career high OBP of .340 and cut his strikeout numbers down significantly.
Dyson is a major upgrade to Smith in every other way. Defensively, Dyson grades out as elite at all 3 outfield spots. General Manager Jerry Dipoto believes Dyson will play in leftfield, but will allow Manager Scott Servais to give Leonys Martin a much needed break. His arm is above-average, and won't prevent him from playing all 3 spots.
Perhaps most importantly, Dyson is an excellent base-runner. He has 30 steals or more in 4 of his 5 full seasons, and has an 85% success rate when attempting to steal.
In order to recieve the 3 fWAR Dyson, Dipoto had to deal one of his favorites, pitcher Nathan Karns. Karns figured to start the year as the #5 starter, and still has upside left in his game. Karns got off to a great tart in 2016, but fell off towards the middle of the season, before spending several weeks on the DL with a bad back. Karns is 29 years old, so it is possible he will never reach his potential, but he could be a solid #3 type if he ever does.
Dyson is in the final year of club control, and is expected to make just $2.5 million in 2016.
Dyson appears to be a perfect fit for Jerry Dipoto's vision of the Mariners Outfield. His excellent speed allows him to go gap to gap to chas down any flyballs, and his versatility allows the Mariners to play matchups with its other outfielders.
Dipoto also wants a lineup that constantly puts pressure on the opposing pitcher. Dyson checks that box. His dynamic speed forces the defense to be nearly perfect with the ball, and if he can continue to cut down on his strikeouts, Dyson probably fits into the #2 slot in the lineup, allowing Cano, Cruz, and Seager to drive him in.
This is a "win now move" and Dyson is a near perfect fit for Dipoto's vision. Losing a talent like Nate Karns is tough for a 32 year old with only 1 year of control, but it is a necessary cost for the Mariners closing window.