Mariners, Astros make four-player trade before playing each other

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Mariners, Astros make four-player trade before playing each other
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Like two teams in a pickup game on the sandlot, the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros swapped four players on Tuesday in the middle of a three-game series against each other.

The Astros sent infielder Abraham Toro and relief pitcher Joe Smith to the Mariners for relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero.

Unlike most deals leading up to mlb’s July 30 trade deadline, this one involved two teams in the same division who are very much in contention for playoff spots. At the start of play on Tuesday, the Astros led the AL West by five games over the Oakland A’s and by six over the Mariners — with Seattle one game out of the second American League wild-card spot.

The key player in the deal is Graveman, who has been one of the best bullpen arms in the majors this season, pitching to a 0.82 ERA with four wins and 10 saves. He and Montero, who opened the season as the Mariners’ closer, will help bolster an Astros bullpen that had been shaky lately.

Mariners reliever Kendall Graveman has converted 1src of  12 save chances this season with 34 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Mariners reliever Kendall Graveman has converted 10 of 12 save chances this season with 34 strikeouts in 33 innings.

Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto told reporters Tuesday that the deal may not make sense by itself, but the team is planning additional moves before Friday’s deadline.

In Toro, the Mariners receive a promising 24-year-old third baseman who’s hitting .211 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 109 at-bats — most of them coming while starting third baseman Alex Bregman has been out with a hamstring injury.

Smith, 37, missed all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He has posted a 7.48 ERA in 27 appearances this year.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mariners send closer Kendall Graveman to Astros in four-player trade

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