The tireless Jerry Dipoto struck twice on Friday, with his second deal sending righthander Nathan Karns—acquired in Dipoto’s first trade as Mariners general manager—to the Royals for speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Dyson fills a need following the trade earlier in the day of Seth Smith to the Orioles for righthanded starter Yovani Gallardo. And Gallardo’s acquisition allowed Dipoto to spin off Karns to the Royals.
“Jarrod brings us a winning pedigree,” Dipoto said in a news release, “along with elite level defense and base-running. He joins players like Leonys Martin and Jean Segura in creating a disruptive element on the bases to our offensive game, while also enhancing our ability to prevent runs on defense.”
The Royals had been seeking arms, and Karns could fit at the back of the rotation, or even in the bullpen following the trade of stalwart closer Wade Davis.
Jarrod Dyson, of
Dyson, originally a 50th-round pick in 2006 out of Southwest Mississippi CC, rose from that humble draft position to become a valued part of the Royals’ recent run of success. His combination of speed and stellar defense—he had a plus 24 rating in runs saved above average the past two seasons—overcame his lack of power and average hit tool. He stole 30 bases in 2016 and has averaged 31 steals a year the past five seasons with a 85 percent success rate. A center fielder most of the time in Kansas City, he could team with righthanded-hitting Mitch Haniger in right field following Smith’s trade.
|Kansas City (MAJ)||.278||.340||.388||299||46||83||14||8||1||25||26||39||30|
Nathan Karns, rhp
This is the third trade for Karns, originally a 12th-round pick of the Nationals out of Texas Tech in 2009. He was sent by the Nats to the Rays in February 2014 for catcher Jose Lobaton, lefthander Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettleson, then was sent to the Mariners in November 2015 in a six-player deal, with Brad Miller going to Tampa Bay. Karns' fastball sits in the low 90s—he averaged 92.9 mph in 2016 per FanGraphs–and reaches as high as 96 mph, and his low-80s hammer curveball heightens his arsenal. He’s primarily a fastball/curveball pitcher, mixing in a changeup about 10 percent of the time. His strikeout and walk rates were essentially in line with his career norms, but his average on balls in play spiked to .327 from .285 the year before, perhaps portending a return to pre-2016 performance with better luck. Karns struggled when moved to the bullpen, and then missed the final two months because of a lower back strain.