KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore continues to check off items on his winter wish list. He traded outfielder Jarrod Dyson for Seattle starting pitcher Nathan Karns Friday afternoon.
Former Kanasas City Star beat writer, and current Seattle Times writer, Bob Dutton tweeted the news:
The move followed an earlier trade in which the Mariners acquired pitcher Yovani Gallardo from the Baltimore Orioles in return for outfielder Seth Smith:
Nathan Karns figures to become part of the group contending for the Kansas City Royals no. 5 starter role this spring along with Chris Young, Matt Strahm, and Mike Minor. The 29-year-old right-hander throws a hard sinker that averaged 93.93 mph last season, a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.73 mph, plus a knuckle-curve and change-up. Karns posted a rather unimpressive 6-2, 5.15 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners in 2016, but he did strike out a solid 9.6 batters per nine innings.
However, that poor season came with an unusually high .327 Batting Average Balls In Play (around .300 is average). His Adjusted Fielding Independent Pitching was a much more palatable 4.23. Fangraphs.com estimated he was worth 1.2 Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) in 94.1 innings pitched, which indicates he would have been a slightly above-average starting pitcher if he had started a full season.
KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com Jeffrey Flanagan about the deal:
"“[Karns] has a power arm that is hard to come by,” Moore said. “It’s an arm that could translate to the bullpen as well.”"
Karns, pitched well for Tampa Bay in 2015. He notched a 7-5 record with a 3.67 ERA in 147.0 innings in front of a better defense and playing his home games in spacious Tropicana Field. Hopefully, he’ll come closer to his 2015 season, rather than his poor 2016, in Kansas City.
The best part of the deal is that Karns will remain under team control through the next four seasons. He won’t be arbitration eligible until 2018. In short, this looks like solid value for the KC Royals. Anytime you can deal one season of a reserve outfielder for four of a potential starting pitcher, you have to like the long-term value.
Of course, Jarrod Dyson isn’t just any reserve outfielder. He’s one of the best bench players in the game who possesses elite defensive and base-running skills. Dyson has contributed 9.9 bWAR over the last four seasons, with a career-high 3.1 bWAR in 2016. Kansas City moved the 32-year-old Dyson at peak value.
Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore said:
"“He’s been a great leader for us,” Moore said. “He is valued very highly in the industry. His stolen-base ratio was always very high and he was a great defender. And last year, he showed he could get on base.”"
Upon learning about the trade, Jarrod Dyson tweeted some gracious words about the KC Royals organization that took chance on him as a 50th round draft pick in 2006:
Dealing away a fan favorite like Jarrod Dyson is always painful. But, Dayton Moore did what he had to do with the horde of core players set to hit their last year of team control. Moore got a solid return for Dyson and has speedy Billy Burns to replace him.