Seattle Mariners Trade Minor Leaguer for LHP Aaron Laffey from Cleveland Indians

Alex CarsonCorrespondent IIIMarch 3, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 05:  Pitcher Aaron Laffey #32 of the Cleveland Indians throws against the Texas Rangers on July 5, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On Wednesday evening, the Mariners decided that 33 pitchers in camp wasn't quite enough.

They shipped off minor leaguer Matt Lawson (the second baseman acquired in the Cliff Lee to Texas trade) to Cleveland for left-handed pitcher Aaron Laffey.

Laffey has been in the league since 2007 and has been a fairly average pitcher. He's spent time as both a starter and a reliever with only five of his 29 games last season as a starter.

Lawson was fairly expendable, as the Mariners have become fairly deep at the upper levels in the middle infield, and he was only projected as a mediocre prospect anyway.

Laffey could play a significant role in the bullpen as a left hander who doesn't have terrible splits. While he's certainly more effective against left handers, he has shown the ability to get decent ground ball rates from hitters on either side with his sinker. His walk and home run rates also impress against both sides. However, his strikeout rate to right handers takes a plunge to 3.50 from 6.39 against lefties.

We know that Safeco Field helps lefties, but since Laffey is less of a fly ball pitcher than a Jarrod Washburn or Jason Vargas, he'll receive a smaller benefit. We should be able to expect numbers similar to those he had in Cleveland.

His favorable splits, though, give the team a real left handed option in the bullpen that doesn't have to be saved for just a few pitches every couple games. He's not going to bull his way into the closers role, but he isn't a LOOGY either.

This is a pretty straight up swap with the Indians. The Mariners gave up an average middle infielder for an average lefty bullpen arm, with the latter being the greater need for the team.