The Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners have agreed to a deal that will send Mariners’ top prospect Alex Jackson to the Braves in exchange for Rob Whalen and Max Povse. Atlanta also will pick up a player to be named later, and the Mariners designated Ryan Weber to create roster space.
Alex Jackson is the highlight of the deal, as he was a top five prospect in the Mariners’ system following the 2016 season. The 20-year-old was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft and has seen two professional seasons, but his performances weren’t enough to impress new GM Jerry Dipoto. He was believed to have the best upside as a hitter of anyone in the 2014 class but has yet to show it.
In 381 plate appearances at Class A, Jackson slashed .243/.332/.408 with 11 homers and 55 RBI. He’s not expected to make the big league club anytime soon, but at just 20-years-old, his versatility in the outfield and glimpses of power could see him playing in Cobb County earlier than expected.
The Mariners will be getting two right-handed pitchers in the deal. Rob Whalen started in his first five major league games in 2016, working 24.2 innings in which he gave up 18 earned runs, 20 hits, and 12 walks.
However, the 22-year-old’s first small cup of coffee in the majors had its bright spots, as he struck out 25 batters, good for more than one an inning. Whalen should act as depth in Seattle’s bullpen and rotation, and with how shaky their rotation has been, it’s possible he could earn himself a spot come spring training.
The other righty in the deal is Max Povse, a 23-year-old, 6’8 giant who has proven himself as a consistent strike thrower in the low minor leagues. Between High-A and Double-A he threw 158 innings to the tune of a 3.36 ERA, a 7.9 K/9, and a 1.7 BB/9. He had a little trouble after being promoted to Double-A, as his strikeout numbers took a dive, but he still has plenty of time to work on his stuff and use his natural command to his advantage.
Ryan Weber will be exposed to waivers in light of the deal, as the Mariners had to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Oddly enough Weber was claimed off of waivers by the Mariners from the Braves earlier this month.
Despite the uncertainty regarding the new CBA, the Mariners and Braves have been the two most active teams this off-season. Don’t be surprised if they make even more noise at this year’s Winter Meetings in early December.