With another flurry of dealing Wednesday, the Mariners filled out their rotation — and their roster — by acquiring left-hander Drew Smyly from Tampa Bay for three players after first executing a set-up deal with Atlanta.
“We have been clear that one of our top priorities this off-season was to continue to bolster our starting rotation,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “Today’s moves allowed us to add an experienced pitcher to our starting group.
“Drew took the ball 30 times last season, threw over 175 innings and is a proven performer in the American League. He’s a good fit for our club.”
Smyly, 27, is a five-year veteran who slipped last season to 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts, but he is 31-27 with a 3.74 ERA throughout his career while averaging 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
“He fits our ballpark well,” Dipoto said. “He’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher with low walks and high strikeouts who, in our ballpark with our improved defense, fits us like a glove.”
Smyly completes a rotation still headed by right-hander Felix Hernandez and including lefty James Paxton and right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma along with righty Yovani Gallardo, obtained last Friday from Baltimore for outfielder Seth Smith.
“We now have five experienced starters,” Dipoto said, “all of whom have done it in our league. We particularly like the fact that none of those guys is on a one-year deal. We do have control for at least two years for each of our five starters.”
To get Smyly, the Mariners had to pry outfielder Mallex Smith away from the Braves in an earlier deal that also netted hard-throwing righty reliever Shae Simmons for two minor-league lefties: Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows.
“The combination of events today with the two trades made this possible,” Dipoto said. “Frankly, we spent a ton of time with Atlanta through the course of the off-season in trying to acquire Mallex Smith.
“Once we made the (earlier off-season) additions of (Mitch) Haniger and Jarrod Dyson, that made Mallex a little more of a repetitive player for us. But we able to connect the dots on this trade as result of staying in touch with those two teams.”
The two moves forced the Mariners to make one corresponding space-clearing move on their 40-man roster, which they achieved by designating right-handed pitcher Cody Martin for assignment.
Martin, 27, was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA last season in nine big-league games but spent most of the season at Triple-A Tacoma, where he was 10-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 25 games.
Dipoto said Mariners are likely to be quiet for the remainder of the off-season after adding 18 newcomers to their 40-man roster since the season ended. That turnover includes 11 trades involving 30 players.
“You may not hear from us again,” he said. “I am 100 percent certain that we will now look at minor-league deals, bringing guys in to compete in camp for bench roles or depth roles.
“I think what you see is what you get. This is our team.”
Smyly is eligible for arbitration and, according to industry projections, in line to make about $7 million. He made $3.75 million in 2016, but he was the guy the Mariners had long pursued.
“I have probably spent more time throughout the course of our off-season,” Dipoto said, “in trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we’ve done…We focused on him from the get-go.”
Simmons, 26, has two options remaining but projects as a strong candidate to win a bullpen job after returning to form last season after missing 2015 while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
“By season’s end,” Dipoto said, “he was back in the big leagues. He’s going to throw the ball 96-to-100 miles an hour. He’s got a wipeout slider. He has a strong history of striking them out. We’re really excited to plug him in.”
Simmons reached the majors in 2014 and compiled a 2.91 ERA in 26 games before suffering an elbow injury. He had a 1.96 ERA last season in 19 minor-league outings and yielded one run over 6 2/3 innings in seven big-league games.
The move to acquire Smyly further positions swingman Ariel Miranda to return to the bullpen to serve as the unit’s second lefty.
The cost wasn’t cheap.
Gohara, 20, was recently ranked by Baseball America as the Mariners’ top pitching prospect after going 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA last season in 13 starts at Short-A Everett (three) and Lo-A Clinton (10).
“He was one of our more talented pitching prospects in terms of physical upside,” Dipoto said, “but we were willing to seed that for a guy who fits into the middle of our rotation and a bullpen piece in Shae Simmons who we feel can really make an impact for us.”
Yarbrough, 25, was the Southern League pitcher of the year last season after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 25 starts at Double-A Jackson. The Mariners deemed him expendable after bolstering their pitching depth in recent months.
Burrows, 22, was 0-1 with six saves and a 2.55 ERA in 20 appearances at Everett after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Vargas, 17, began his pro career last season in the Dominican Summer League.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners