Two hours after trading LHP Mark Lowe Friday to the Toronto Blue Jays for a trio of minor leaguers, the Mariners purged their roster of LHP J.A. Happ, sending him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 23-year-old Redmond native Adrian Sampson. The Skyline High and Bellevue College alum will report to the AAA Tacoma Rainiers in the next day or so.
Shortly after announcing the Happ trade, the Mariners summoned RHP Jose Ramirez and LHP Rob Rasmussen from the Rainiers. The Mariners acquired Ramirez Thursday as part of the Dustin Ackley trade to the New York Yankees, and Rasmussen in the Lowe deal with Toronto Friday.
Over the past 24 hours, the 12-games-in-arrears Mariners figuratively declared their 2015 surrender by sending Ackley to the Yankees for minor leaguers Ramirez and Ramon Flores; sending Lowe to the Blue Jays for Rasmussen, LHP Nick Wells and LHP Jake Brentz, and Happ to the Pirates for Sampson.
Ramirez and Rasmussen will be available to the Mariners Friday night in Minnesota, where Seattle plays the second of four against the Twins.
Happ allowed six earned runs at Minnesota Thursday night in Seattle’s 9-5 loss in a performance manager Lloyd McClendon described as “a clunker.”
Sampson, 23, was drafted by the Pirates out of Bellevue College in 2012 after attending Skyline High in Sammamish. With AAA Indianapolis this season, he went 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 21 starts.
Among IL leaders, Sampson ranks tied for first in starts, fourth in strikeouts and third in innings pitched. In four minor league seasons, he is 24-23 with a 3.87 ERA with 333 strikeouts in 85 games, including 82 starts.
Sampson played for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League following the 2014 season, posting a 2.25 ERA in 10 relief appearances. He was rated by Baseball America as the 15th-best prospect in the Pirates organization entering the 2015 season.
The 32-year-old Happ went 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 21 games, including 20 starts this season. He was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays Dec. 3 in exchange for outfielder Michael Saunders. In nine seasons with Philadelphia, Houston, Toronto and Seattle, he is 55-59 with a 4.29 ERA.
In addition to trading Lowe and Happ Friday, the Mariners also called up 1b/DH Jesus Montero and INF Ketel Marte from Tacoma as roster replacements for Ackley and Chris Taylor, who was optioned to the Rainiers Thursday.
Marte, who will make his MLB debut, will bat leadoff and play second base Friday night (Robinson Cano remains out with an abdominal strain), and Montero will play first base with Nelson Cruz serving as DH.