What to Make of the Luis Urias-Isaiah Campbell Trade

Isaiah Campbell of the Boston Red Sox

The offseason has started to heat up. On November 17, the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox swapped Major Leaguers, as infielder Luis Urias went to Boston for reliever Isaiah Campbell. Here’s a closer look at the trade.

Related: What to Make of New Rockies Pitcher Cal Quantrill

The Mariners’ Return

  • INF Luis Urias (.194/.337/.299, 3 HR & 9 XBH over 52 G (177 PA))

The Mariners wanted to add more contact to their team heading into 2023, which might make some scratch their head as to why Seattle would acquire a .194 hitter from a year earlier. However, that figure didn’t tell the whole story with Luis Urias.

Urias spent the first two months of the regular season on the IL with a strained left hamstring before his season debut. He only batted .145/.299/.236 in 20 games before the Brewers demoted him to Triple-A, then ultimately moved him to Boston on August 1.

The 26-year-old only played 32 games with the Sox and had his season end early due to a calf strain.

The 2023 campaign was a bad one for Urias. On the other hand, it was a small sample size. Just two years earlier, Urias hit 23 home runs for the Brewers and posted a .345 OBP for the Brewers.

The keys to Urias’ game have been discipline at the plate and bat-to-ball skills, as he owned above-average Chase% rates over the last three seasons and low Whiff% rates in 2021-22.

Defensively, Urias has split time between second, third, and short throughout his career. He doesn’t have great speed or arm strength, though, which makes him more of a fit at second.

The Red Sox’ Return

Seattle drafted former Arkansas starter Isaiah Campbell in the second round of the 2019 MLB Draft, but he only made four starts down in the Minors in 2022.

He did fine on the surface (1.50 ERA, 1.06 WHIP over 18 IP) in that span. But, elbow problems — something he dealt with both in college and in 2021 — pushed Campbell into a relief role permanently.

Since that point, Campbell excelled in a relief role and made his MLB debut this past season. The walks (4.1 BB/9) were a bit high, but the overall results (10.4 K/9, 3.32 FIP, .210 opponent’s AVG) were good.

The 26-year-old can pound hitters up with a mid-90s heater and mess with hitters’ timing thanks to two different breaking balls. One is a slider that sits in the mid-80s, and the other is a sharp sweeper that sits in the low-80s.

Campbell proved to be a key member of Seattle’s bullpen last season, alongside Matt Brash, Justin Topa, Gabe Speier, and Andres Munoz.

The Verdict

The Mariners will bet on Luis Urias, who’s still young at 26 years of age. Seattle didn’t get much from the second base position last season, as Kolten Wong could not replicate his success with Milwaukee this past season with the M’s.

Seattle, in turn, dealt from their pitching depth yet again with Isaiah Campbell. The Sox bullpen was actually very good in 2023, thanks to the likes of Chris Martin, ex-Mariner Brennan Bernardino, John Schreiber, and closer Kenley Jansen.

Campbell, though, can give hitters a bit of a different look.