SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners made the first big trade of the season, acquiring outfielder Denard Span and right-handed reliever Alex Colome from the Tampa Bay Rays for two minor leaguers Friday.
Seattle General Manager Jerry Dipoto is trying to take advantage of the Mariners' strong start by adding help in the bullpen and depth in the outfield.
Colome might be the more important acquisition. He was an All-Star in 2016 with the Rays and had 47 saves last year. He is an immediate boost to a bullpen that's been relied on heavily early in the season.
"They're going to fit in our clubhouse and really fit too to what we think are critical needs," Dipoto said. "The fact we were able to do it and maintain another four, five months of their contribution for this year, it's so much different than an ordinary in-season or July-type of pick up."
Span has played all three outfield spots over his career, which began with the Twins from 2008 to 2012. He was hitting .238 in 48 games with the Rays, but his ability to play multiple spots in the outfield is the big benefit to Seattle after Dee Gordon's move to second base following to Robinson Cano's 80-game suspension.
"I think it's an awesome message that everything we've dealt with in the last eight to 10 days here — it starts at the ownership level and front office — that we're all in on this season," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "That even though we had a setback with Robbie and the injury and suspension it's not going to derail us. Our eyes are set on the goal and that's getting to the playoffs and I think this helps us."
Seattle sent minor league righthanders Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero to Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay acquired Span from San Francisco in December after he signed a three-year free agent contract with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. He is making $11 million this season, with $2 million being picked up by the Giants. He has a $12 million team option for 2019 with a $4 million buyout.