The Mariners finalized their opening day bullpen by acquiring right-handed reliever Nick Vincent from the Padres in exchange for a player to be named. Vincent has made 161 big league relief appearances and posted a 2.63 ERA.
PEORIA, Ariz. — The Mariners finalized their bullpen for opening day by making a trade Wednesday. Seattle acquired right-handed reliever Nick Vincent from the San Diego Padres for a player to be named.
Vincent, 29, appeared in 26 games for the Padres last season in four stints, posting an 0-1 record and 2.35 ERA. He had a strong September, appearing 13 games and not allowing a run in 9 1/3 innings. He has 161 major-league relief appearances the past four seasons for the Padres while posting a 2.63 ERA. In 150 2/3 innings, he struck out 161 and walked 39.
“Very consistent,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He’s neutralized right-handed hitters, and there’s no reason to expect that to change. He’s very cutter-centric, he’s got a very usable fastball. He’s got some history in the big leagues, and I think he gives us a nice upgrade and additional depth in the bullpen we were looking for. We needed it based on the course of this spring, and this is a nice solution. Fortunately, he only has to walk across the parking lot to take part.’’
The Mariners and Padres share the Peoria Sports Complex.
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Right-handed hitters have hit just .195 (64 for 329) with a .493 OPS against Vincent for his career. He has a 9.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio against right-handers.
Asked for a scouting report on how pitches, Vincent offered this:
“For me, I go out there and I attack hitters. I don’t really throw around hitters. I’m not a big walk guy. I might give up a home run or two, but I’m usually in there when there are guys on base getting out of some jams for the starters and stuff. I don’t know what my role is going to be here, but I’m going to attack a guy. They call me the Bulldog on the mound because I’m 5-10,5-11, 175 pounds, not a big guy, but I’m not afraid of anybody who goes up there. I think that’s why I’ve got the bulldog mentality. Everybody doubted me my whole career, so that could be the other reason.’’
Born and raised in San Diego, getting the chance to play for his hometown team was something he cherished.
“It’s been fun,” he said.” Just growing up in San Diego and playing for San Diego has been a lifelong dream. It’s tough to leave, but it’s part of the game.”
Vincent knew that with the way the Padres roster was setting up, there was a chance he would move on.
“It was my eighth year over there,” he said. “I’m not going to stay with them the whole time, I knew that. It was in that general time where I think I was going to get traded sooner or later. But I’m happy. Seattle, I’ve heard noting but good things about it, so I’m just excited to come here and help the team win.”
The addition of Vincent means the Mariners’ bullpen is set for opening day. He’s out of minor-league options — a main reason he was available — so he has to be on the 25-man roster.
“We are looking forward to getting this thing started,” Dipoto said. “Obviously, Nick joins our club, he’s an out-of-options pitcher so we are planning on breaking camp with him among our group and barring injury the group is here.”
The bullpen sets up like this:
- Steve Cishek, RHP
- Joaquin Benoit, RHP
- Tony Zych, RHP
- Joel Peralta, RHP
- Nick Vincent, RHP
- Mike Montgomery, LHP
- Vidal Nuno, LHP
“Now between Nick Vincent, Joel Peralta, Tony Zych, Jack Benoit and Steve Cishek, I feel like we have five solid major-league relievers from the right side, and with Nuno and Montgomery that gives us two lefties with power and one with a unique matchup ability versus lefties. That’s a seven-man bullpen we are pretty comfortable with.”
How Vincent will be used is being left up to manager Scott Servais.
“Where he fits in is TBD,” Dipoto said. “He has pitched in a set-up role in the big leagues periodically. He is a guy who has managed a pretty high strikeout rate during the course of his career, and he has pitched in winning-game situations. So wherever Scott sees him fitting in I will be more than happy with that.”
From a procedural standpoint, the Mariners’ 40-man roster is full. They will still need to open a spot for Peralta because they haven’t added him to the 40-man roster. That will will likely come from the loser of the backup-catcher competition between Steve Clevenger and Rob Brantly.
The addition of Vincent means Donn Roach, Blake Parker and Mayckol Guaipe, who were vying for that final spot and pitching well, will start the season in Class AAA Tacoma.
“Those guys did a great job — truly did a great job,” Dipoto said. “Any one of the three could be justifiably added to the 25-man roster, but the fact that we were able to get a guy with a good major-league history like Nick and add him to the mix right now just makes me feel more comfortable.’’
Roach, who was signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason for starting-pitching depth, will go back to that role with the Rainiers, and Guaipe and Parker will work in relief.
“I think the likelihood is we will use him as a starter,” Dipoto said of Roach. “Donn is so resilient that if we need to shorten him up and bring him back as a reliever we could. He really opened a lot of eyes in this camp, and were we not able to make an acquisition like this Donn was in a very good position. We like the fact that he is multi-inning functional, like the fact that he can put the ball on the ground and he has shown the strikeout pitch this spring that he has never really had in his career. So it was a unique two-month stretch for Donn Roach where he really acquitted himself well with a new organization and opened the eyes of the coaching staff; they have a lot of trust in him right now.’’