SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners made the first big trade of the season, acquiring outfielder Denard Span and right-handed reliever Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers Friday.
Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto is trying to take advantage of the Mariners’ strong start by adding help in the bullpen and depth in the outfield. Colome may be the most important acquisition. He was an All-Star in 2016 with the Rays and had 47 saves last year. He’s an immediate boost to a bullpen that’s been relied on heavily early in the season.
“They’re going to fit in our clubhouse and really fit too to what we think are critical needs,” Dipoto said. “The fact we were able to do it and maintain another four, five months of their contribution for this year, it’s so much different than an ordinary in-season or July-type of pick up.”
Span has played both center field and left field in his career. He was hitting .238 in 48 games with the Rays, but his ability to play multiple spots in the outfield is the big benefit to Seattle after Dee Gordon’s move to second base following to Robinson Cano’s suspension.
“I think it’s an awesome message that everything we’ve dealt with in the last eight-to-10 days here – it starts at the ownership level and front office – that we’re all in on this season,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “That even though we had a setback with Robbie and the injury and suspension it’s not going to derail us. Our eyes are set on the goal and that’s getting to the playoffs and I think this helps us.”
Seattle sent minor league right-handers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero to Tampa Bay.
The Rays also sent minor league right-hander Peter Bayer to Oakland for right-hander Wilmer Font. Oakland acquired Font from the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 25 and designated him for assignment Wednesday.
Tampa Bay acquired Span from San Francisco in December after he signed a three-year free agent contract with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. He is making $11 million this season, with $2 million being picked up by the Giants. He has a $12 million team option for 2019 with a $4 million buyout.
Span was still processing the deal before leaving Tampa Bay. He said when he got through spring training without being traded, he believed it would be closer to the trade deadline before possibly getting moved.
“I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, but this is home for me,” Span said. “It is disappointing. I can say that for sure. I was just trying to get settled in here and we were winning, we were having a good time. Maybe if this had happened after the first week of spring training or whatever, I would have been more prepared.”
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