The Seattle Mariners were in on yet another trade — their ninth of this offseason.
They acquired 23-year-old second-base prospect Shed Long on Monday and in an exchange that sent outfield prospect Josh Stowers to the New York Yankees.
It came just minutes after the Reds had announced they traded Long to the Yankees as part of a deal that returned right-hander Sonny Gray, who the Mariners had been reportedly interested in, as well.
So Long was a Yankee for probably all of about 20 seconds before they flipped him to Seattle for Stowers.
Long was also added to the Mariners’ 40-man roster, which meant they had to designate Kaleb Cowart, who was signed a month earlier to come to spring training as both a pitcher and hitter.
Long is the No. 7 prospect in the Reds’ organization as ranked by Baseball America, while Stowers was ranked 10th in the Mariners’ organization.
Stowers, 21, is a tough loss for the Mariners. They drafted him in the second round this past June draft out of Louisville. He had a promising start with short-season Single-A Everett, batting .260/.380/.410 with five home runs, 15 doubles and 20 stolen bases in 58 games. He displayed much of the blend of power and speed that attracted the Mariners to him in the first place.
But it was hard for the Mariners to pass up on Long, who spent much of this past season with Double-A Pensacola in the Reds’ organization, batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers, 22 doubles and 19 stolen bases in 126 games.
That and Long’s advanced development made him all the more attractive to Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Dipoto adds another promising prospect with a timeline that meshes with his goal of competing for the playoffs by 2020 and 2021.
And maybe the Mariners viewed Stowers as slightly more expendable considering they have three outfield prospects ranked ahead of him in Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Lewis and Braden Bishop to go with major leaguers Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana.
Long was drafted as a catcher in the 12th round out of Jacksonville High School in Alabama in 2013. By 2015 he had converted to middle infield. He’d likely start this season with Double-A Arkansas or possibly Triple-A Tacoma depending on his spring.
Along with Long, the Mariners have stocked up on prospects this offseason in their roster overhaul. They already acquired top Yankees prospect Justus Sheffield, a left-handed pitcher, as well as 19-year-old Kelenic and right-hander Justin Dunn from the Mets, outfielder Jake Fraley from the Rays and shortstop J.P. Crawford (even though he’s no longer technically considered a prospect) from the Phillies among other moves.