Get ready, Mariners’ fans. You’re about to see "what speed do."
The Mariners made it a two-fer Friday by acquiring outfielder Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City for pitcher Nathan Karns just a few hours after sending outfielder Seth Smith to Baltimore in a trade for pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
Dyson, 32, if a fleet left-handed hitter who addresses the Mariners’ desire to add speed and defense to their outfield. He batted .278 last season with a .340 on-base percentage and 30 stolen bases in 107 games.
"Jarrod brings us a winning pedigree," general manager Jerry Dipoto said, "along with elite level defense and base-running.
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"He joins players like Leonys Martin and Jean Segura in creating a disruptive element on the bases to our offensive game, while also enhancing our ability to prevent runs on defense."
Dyson is a seven-year veteran with a .260 career average who can play all three outfield positions. He has a plus-24 rating in runs saved above average over the last two seasons.
But his speed is his defining quality. After scoring from third base on a pop-up to the infield, he shrugged and said: "That’s what speed do."
It became his catchphrase.
Now, Dyson is looking to bring that speed to the Northwest.
"I’m pretty pumped about it," he said in an interview on SiriusXM. "I’m ready to take on a new challenge in my life and become a Seattle Mariner. Just go out there and continue to play the game the way I’ve been taught to play it.
"I’ve got one goal in mind: To win a championship."
Karns, 29, was 6-2 with a 5.15 ERA last season in 22 games before suffering a season-ending back injury in late July. He opened last season in the rotation but shifted to the bullpen in late June after a series of inconsistent outings.
The Mariners had planned to return Karns to the rotation in spring training.
"We had talked multiple times with the Royals about Dyson through the course of this off-season," Dipoto said, "and were unable to reach paydirt (until Friday).
"Once we brought Gallardo onboard, we felt a little more confident in our ability to move Nate, and that was the piece that was going to get Jarrod done."
Dyson could be a short-term addition; he will be eligible for free agency after next season, which is one reason the Royals were willing to part with him. Karns has at least four more years of club control.
Even so, Dipoto said the upgrades that Dyson provides in speed and defense were too good to pass up.
"He’s an elite-level defender," Dipoto said. "He’s dynamic on the bases. A fearless base-stealer.
"The combination of Jarrod Dyson, Leonys Martin and Jean Segura…it’s a very athletic group. On average, those guys bring in about 100 stolen bases."
Dyson was never more than a part-time player in Kansas City. His 337 plate appearances last season were a career high, and he responded by posting career bests in average and on-base percentage.
The Mariners plan to offer the opportunity for increased playing time.
"Jarrod and Leonys Martin will play some combination of left and center," Dipoto said. "We intend for Mitch Haniger to get regular reps, likely, in right field with (Ben) Gamel and (Guillermo) Heredia fighting it out for playing time otherwise.
"This allows us to continue the development of the young players while we improved our speed/defense game. It really helps with our run-prevention."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners