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Rays trade Smyly to M’s for OF Mallex Smith and 2 prospects

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The Rays also claimed outfielder Jason Coats from the White Sox

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday, the Rays traded left-handed starter Drew Smyly to the Mariners for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor leaguers left-handed pitcher Ryan Yarbrough and shortstop Carlos Vargas.

Seattle acquired Smith from Atlanta in an earlier trade Wednesday.

Smyly, 27, struggled in 175 13 innings for the Rays in 2016. He posted a 4.88 ERA and 4.49 FIP and struggled with the longball in particular, allowing 32 dingers. He struck out 167 and walked 49 and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $6.9 million through arbitration for the 2017 season.

The Rays originally acquired Smyly in the three-way 2014 deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. They also added shortstop prospects Willy Adames from Detroit and Nick Franklin from Seattle, the third team involved.

In 49 career starts for the Rays, Smyly had a 3.95 ERA and 288 strikeouts with 80 walks in 289 23 innings. He will be a free agent following the 2018 season.

Smith made his ML debut in 2016 and spent most of the season with the Braves. In 215 plate appearances, he batted .238 with a .316 on-base percentage and slugged .365, spending time in all three outfield spots, mostly center field. The Florida native, a left-handed hitter, also stole 16 bases.

The 23-year-old was Atlanta’s No. 8 prospect entering the season. He was acquired from San Diego in the trade that sent Justin Upton to the Padres. In 2014, he led the minors with 88 steals across two levels, and he swiped 57 bags a season later.

His minor league career stolen-base percentage is 79.3 percent (230-for-290). In 1,795 career plate appearances in the minors, he owns a 10.8 percent walk rate and 17.0 percent strikeout rate.

The 25-year-old Yarbrough spent the entire 2016 season in Double A, where he was named Southern League Pitcher of the Year. He had a 2.95 ERA in a career-best 128 1/3 innings with 99 strikeouts and 31 walks. He was a fourth-round pick by the Mariners from Old Dominion in 2014.

Entering 2017, he was in consideration for Baseball America’s top-10 Mariners prospects (BA, $). In that same chat, BA writer Kyle Glaser notes Yarbrough has a good sinker/changeup combination, and his future role in the majors hinges on the development of his slider. He had a 50.5 percent ground-ball rate with Double-A Jackson.

Vargas, 17, made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League with a .734 OPS. The 6-foot-3, 170 pound infielder hit seven home runs in 62 games. He was BA’s No. 19 prospect in the 2015 signing period, and the Mariners signed him for $1.625 million.

Prior to signing, BA’s Ben Badler reported on Vargas (BA, $). He has very good power potential thanks to his bat speed and frame that will allow him to bulk up as he gets older. He walked in 12.5 percent of his plate appearances and struck out in just 13.7 percent. While his defense was previously panned, perhaps it’s better than once thought (BA, $).

He was slated to be Seattle’s No. 26 prospect, according to Baseball America.

The Rays also claimed outfielder Jason Coats from the White Sox and designated Dylan Floro for assignment.

Coats, a 26-year-old, right-handed outfielder, was designated for assignment by Chicago after it claimed Willy Garcia off waivers from Pittsburgh. In his first 58 major league plate appearances, he batted .200 with a .298 OBP and .340 SLG.

The former 29th-round pick entered 2016 as BA’s No. 20 prospect for the White Sox. Its report notes he can play all three outfield spots with doubles power (BA, $).

Floro also made his big league debut in 2016. The 26-year-old had a 4.20 ERA in 15 innings out of the Rays bullpen. In 528 13 career minor league innings, the righty has only walked 79 batters.