Ever-busy Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto busted another move Monday, bailing on former first-round draft pick OF Alex Jackson, twice the organization’s top-rated prospect, in favor of two young right-handed pitchers from the Atlanta Braves.
Acquired were Rob Whalen, 22, and Max Povse, 23, to compete eventually for a spot in the back end of the starting rotation.
Jackson, 20, was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft whom some scouts said was the best available high school player. But in three minor league seasons, he hit a combined .233 with 21 homers and 109 RBIs. To clear roster space, the Mariners also designated for assignment RHP Ryan Weber, who was acquired Nov. 2 on a waiver claim from Atlanta.
A player to be named later will also go to Atlanta.
“This move gives us two young, polished pitchers,” Dipoto said, “who immediately bolster our starting pitching depth, while adding to our roster flexibility.”
Whalen, who turns 23 Jan. 31, is likely to start in AAA Tacoma after spending most of 2016 in AA Mississippi and AAA Gwinnett. He combined for a 7-5 record and a 2.49 ERA in 21 starts.
A 12th-round pick in 2012 by the Nets out of Florida, Whalen had five starts for Atlanta in August. He will be added to the 40-man roster.
Povse, 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, was 9-6 with a 3.36 ERA in 26 starts at Mississippi and Hi-A Carolina. He was a third-round pick by Atlanta in the 2012 draft.