Mariners Trade Thyago Vieira for International Bonus Money
After telling Mariners fans to expect a quieter off-season, GM Jerry Dipoto has made his second trade in 24 hours. The Mariners traded flame-throwing reliever Thyago Vieira to the Chicago White Sox for International Bonus money.
The Mariner continue to trade from their one area of strength, bullpen depth, and this time add some money to woo international free agents. You might have heard of this one guy from Japan who is apparently quite good.
Yes, it is almost impossible to not draw a parallel from this trade directly to the Mariners involvement with touted Japanese player Shohei Ohtani. Seattle has been linked to the superstar since it was announced that Ohtani wanted to come over to the states after the 2017 season.
While money doesn’t appear to be Ohtani’s chief motivation, adding additional funds to compete with the Yankees, Rangers, and Twins cannot be a bad thing. On the surface, the deal appears to be all about Ohtani. Vieira is one of the only true prospects the Mariners had. Dealing him without some kind of reasonable assurance you are in the Ohtani sweepstakes seems foolish.
However; it is possible the Mariners are looking more towards the latin market. This strategy would make sense if they knew they were out on Ohtani. The Atlanta Braves look as though they might be forced to release Kevin Maitan. Maitan is currently the #38 prospect in all of baseball.
The Twins also released #3 international prospect Jelfrey Marte, who recently signed with the club
for $3 million. They released him due to ” vision problems”, which could lead to him getting a discounted contract.
In addition to the 16 year old’s and Ohtani, Cuban OF Julio Pablo Martinez has established residency in Haiti, and should be eligible to sign before spring training.
As for Vieira, his Mariners highlight reel contains just 1, glorious inning. After spiking a warm up pitch, Vieira first pitch was smacked right back at him. He made the catch, thankfully, then proceeded to record his first MLB strikeout.
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Vieira represent one of the few “true prospects” in the Mariners farm system. Whether or not Seattle made a good deal, will most certainly be determined by what they do with their newfound money. All we can do is sit back and hope to see Ohtani in a Mariners uniform soon.