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SEATTLE MARINERS
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Acquired RHP Max Povse and RHP Rob Whalen from Atlanta Braves in exchange for OF-R Alex Jackson. [11/29]

Povse would be a top-10 prospect in a lot of systems. In the Braves' system he might not even be in the top 10 pitching prospects. The 6-foot-8 right-hander has the usual timing issues you’d expect from a pitcher that would tower over most NBA small forwards. His skinny build and long levers mean the command can waver—although he has no issues throwing strikes—but he gets added deception and plane on his low-90s fastball from the length in his mechanics.

He offers a curve and a change as well, both of which have a chance to be average, but neither of which looks like it will be a bat-misser. He’s your standard OFP 50 fourth starter/late-inning reliever type, with maybe a bit of projection past that still left even at age 23. In the Braves organization, that is expendable, but he immediately becomes the Mariners' second- or third-best pitching prospect.

Whalen was acquired by the Braves from the Mets last summer for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. He’s consistently out-pitched his stuff throughout his minor-league career, but got shelled in five starts with the big-league club last season. Whalen’s fastball sits at 90, and none of his three secondaries grade out at better than average. He’s a useful arm to have on the 40-man roster. He’ll go out there and battle for you in a pinch, but the stuff—especially the fastball—is just too hittable to see a longer-term role at the back of a rotation. —Jeffrey Paternostro

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Acquired OF-R Alex Jackson from Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Max Povse and RHP Rob Whalen. [11/29]

When the Mariners took Jackson with the sixth pick of the 2014 draft, they were drafting the most advanced high school hitter in the country. Many evaluators projected him as a player who could hit 30 home runs at full maturity, and the Mariners shifted him from catcher to right field to expedite his bat through the system. Unfortunately for Jackson and Seattle, he wasn’t nearly as ready for the challenge of professional baseball as many had anticipated.

Almost immediately, Jackson had trouble tapping into his raw power regularly in games, and he’s too easily enticed by mediocre off-speed pitches destined for well outside the strike zone. Amid concerns about the viability of his hit tool, and with whispers about his makeup growing louder, a change of scenery appears to be the best scenario for his future development. —Brendan Gawlowski

CHICAGO CUBS
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Signed OF-L Jon Jay to a one-year, $8 million contract. [11/29]

The Cubs made their first ripple of the offseason. This is bound to be a quiet winter for them in general, but this move speaks to more than just the simple addition of an extra body to take some reps patrolling the outfield, so it’s a bigger acquisition than it might seem at first glance.

But first, let’s focus on Jay. His best seasons were in St. Louis, and some time has passed since those productive years. He was a valuable part of the 2011 World Series team, and he posted his strongest year to date the following season with a 3.6 WARP in 2012. The Cardinals jettisoned him in December of last year, after a season in which he was below replacement level for the first time.

Via trade, he took flight to San Diego for a year-long sabbatical from competitive baseball. While there, he returned to form somewhat (1.6 WARP), but the Padres never used him in a full-time role. Now Jay joins a bit of a defensive logjam in Chicago. The Cubs are fat with outfielders, so it’s no mystery that he’s probably not coming to be a full-timer for Joe Maddon.

He’s not really coming for his defense (his career FRAA numbers are a bloodbath, for the most part), but rather because he can be a left-handed bat who has hit both right-handed pitchers and southpaws almost equally well in his career. In 373 plate appearances last season, he hit .308 against lefties and came very close to that against righties (.282). The margin in his TAv was even narrower in 2016, at .250 and .256 respectively. And, no matter what, he does something Maddon loves, and gets on base with regularity.

All of this is perhaps less important, though, than what it says about Dexter Fowler and even Albert Almora. Signing Jay, and especially on a one-year deal, says that Fowler’s chances of being offered a larger contract by the Cubs are essentially nil and his brief but lovely tenure in Chicago is, like, really, actually over. For real this time. It also suggests that, though I’ve opined otherwise elsewhere, the Cubs aren’t quite ready to hand the keys to center field to Almora; at least not on a full-time basis.

Fowler will be deservingly rewarded somewhere else, and Almora may share duties in the outfield if he’s not playing on a more regular basis at Triple-A Iowa for some part of the season. This is not a likely scenario, however, as the best fit is probably using Jay to spell Almora in center and perhaps occasionally in the corner spots. Jay and Almora also have a long-term friendship that dates back to their days in Miami, so Jay’s most important role might be as mentor to Almora’s transition to full-timer. —Jared Wyllys

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50cubs
12/02
Also, Jay as a pinch-hitter will fill the role played last year by Tommy LaStella. I would expect that Jay would play more at the corners with Heyward in center when Almora is out of the lineup. I don't get the Miami connection, though. Can you elaborate?
jwyllys
12/03
Both Jay and Almora are from Miami and spend at least part of their offseason working out together.
oldbopper
12/03
You are destined for the bottom of the standings when your last six first round draft picks are Dustin Ackley, Danny Huitzen, Mike Zunino, D.J. Petersen, Alex Jackson and even Taijuan Walker. Not much WAR in that group.
Muboshgu
12/04
And yet the Mariners nearly won a wild card last year.