Mariners fire sale Mock Trade #1: Nick Vincent to STL
If the Seattle Mariners do indeed decide to start over this July, they have several valuable options to trade in their bullpen. Nick Vincent is one of the best and most obvious trade chips for a Mariners team looking to add youth to its organization.
Nick Vincent is not the sexiest name the Mariners could make available at the deadline. He doesn’t have tremendous stuff. He doesn’t throw 97 MPH. But what he is, is simply this; a rock solid middle relief pitcher.
Vincent would be considered surprisingly good by the average fan, sporting a career 2.89 ERA in 6 seasons with a career 9.4 K/9. He doesn’t walk guys (2.2 BB/9) and allows just over 1 base-runner per inning pitched (1.07 WHIP). Vincent is also cheap and under club control for 2 1/2 more years.
To gauge the value of Nick Vincent, I spoke to RedBird Rants contributor, Nathan Grime(follow him on twitter @nategrime), to see who he thought the Cardinals could part ways with to acquire the 30 year old reliever. First of all, if you had any delusions that Carson Kelly was in play, think again.
"“The Cardinals have the #1 catching prospect in baseball… Carson Kelly. No way the Cardinals would swap him for a reliever, but he’s there.”"
Sorry Mariners fans, but lets move on to more realistic possibilities. Grimes went on to say:
"Unlikely they (cardinals) would trade a Triple-A rotation guy for a reliever, so that takes guys like Luke Weaver and Marco Gonzales off the radar… Sandy Alcantara and Jack Flaherty are likely untouchable. But there’s also Dakota Hudson… and Austin Gomber."
Grimes would later go on to say that Hudson was probably not an option, since he was a high draft pick last season and the club is still high on him. Which makes a lot of sense for a pitcher who has already reached Double A in under 1 year as a professional. Austin Gomber is an intriguing prospect for GM Jerry Dipoto to consider. Grimes said this about Gomber:
"… He hasn’t exactly been lights out this year, his first at AA. He’s a big, strong lefty."
Big is the correct adjective for Gomber. At 6’5″, 235 lbs, he is an imposing figure on the mound, and has some of the stuff to back it up. The fastball sits at 90-92 mph but he backs it up with a solid average changeup. The out pitch is a plus curveball, that he throws with consistent break and spin.
Scout rave about his bulldog mentality, saying he walks into a room like he owns it. The 2014 4th round pick could be ready by the end of 2017. He should make his big league debut in 2018. Although he has above average command, he will need to lower is walk rate to be a consistent middle of the rotation arm going forward.
He averages more than 9 K/9 so far and led the Cardinals minor league system in Wins, WHIP and BAA in 2016. Gomber is a fair return for Vincent.
2 other names to consider could be Connor Jones and Paul DeJong. However; DeJong might be out of reach. The young infielder has good pop and the ability to play up the middle or on a corner. He doesn’t walk as much as most players Dipoto likes, but the hit and power tools are legit.
Connor Jones was the Cardinals second round pick last season and is currently in Single A. He won’t be in the minors that long. The former ace of the Virginia Cavaliers, Jones 92 mph heaters gets heavy sink and produces lots of weak contact and ground balls. His slider is solid average, but the curveball and changeup need to improve. Jones looks like a pitcher in the ” sinker/slider type” mold who can be a solid #4 starter with some upside to improve.
Next: Mariners: Sodo Mojo to mock trades
In conclusion, if the Mariners decided to move Nick Vincent at the deadline to St. Louis, there are certainly some options. The Cardinals farm system is deep and fairly balanced. Finding a player or two that makes sense for the Mariners and Jerry Dipoto shouldn’t be a problem.