A day after he was selected as the International League most valuable player, Ben Gamel was traded by the Yankees to the Mariners for Rookie-level righthanders Jio Orozco and Juan De Paula. Gamel was part of a glut of lefthanded-hitting outfielders that included Mason Williams, Jake Cave, Dustin Fowler and Billy McKinney.
Orozco was a nice 14th-round find in 2015 out of a Tucson high school. Orozco was young for the draft class–he just turned 19–but he showed the potential for three pitches coming into the draft. He’s has run his fastball up to 92-95 at times and he’s shown a power breaking ball with the potential to be an out pitch. His changeup has flashed fringe-average as well. Orozco has struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings in his two years in the Rookie-level Arizona League. He’s a long ways away but scouts see Orozco as a potentially useful reliever.
De Paula impressed the Mariners’ international scouting department in 2014 with a clean delivery and fast arm. He’s progressed on schedule since then. He doesn’t have a plus pitch yet, but he’s always had an ability to spin a breaking ball. He's developed his changeup to round out a three-pitch mix and his low 90s fastball will touch 94.
Gamel, fresh off winning the International League’s MVP, was sent to the Mariners in what seems like a yearly tradition of the Yankees sending the Mariners an outfielder. Last year, it was Ramon Flores heading west (along with righthander Jose Ramirez) for utilityman Dustin Ackley. Two years prior, New York dealt Abraham Almonte to Seattle for reliever Shawn Kelley. Gamel offers a little bit of everything. He can hit for average with little bit of power, and has enough speed to do damage on the bases without being a true burner. He can play all three outfield positions but projects more as a fourth outfielder type rather than an everyday player at any one spot. With Jacoby Ellsbury parked in center for the foreseeable future, Brett Gardner in left, Aaron Judge in right and Clint Frazier waiting in the wings, there simply wasn’t any room for Gamel in the long-term. With the Mariners, Gamel adds depth in an outfield that could use some additional bats especially now that the rosters are expanding. The Mariners have been playing Guillermo Heredia and Shawn O’Malley regularly in recent weeks.