M’s Add Pitching Depth As Meetings End

The Winter Meetings ended today, with the early morning Rule 5 Draft so everyone could fly home afterwards.

The Mariners were a minor players in the Rule 5 Draft. They didn’t select anybody in the Major League phase of the draft – they couldn’t, because their 40-man roster was full. They did add two players in the minor league phase, and each could play for Tacoma this year or perhaps next year.

They selected a left-handed reliever from the Mets named Paul Paez. He was terrific in the first half of last year for Advanced-A St. Lucie, posting a 1.00 ERA in the Florida State League. Then he got promoted to Double-A Binghamton and his ERA bloated to 9.15, albeit in fewer than 20 innings pitched.

Seattle also grabbed outfielder and shoe mogul Chuck Taylor from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Taylor hit .273 with a .377 OBP for Advanced-A Visalia last year, got promoted to Double-A Mobile and hit .238 in 84 at-bats.

Both players will, in all likelihood, open next year with the Mariners new Double-A Arkansas affiliate.

More importantly for us in Tacoma, the Mariners traded a player to be named later to San Francisco in exchange for starting pitcher Chris Heston.

Heston had a successful rookie campaign for the Giants in 2015, going 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA and pitching a no-hitter against the Mets. I remember the no-hitter well: the game was wrapping up shortly before a Rainiers game at Sacramento was starting, and there were about 15 people huddled around the TV in the Raley Field press box seeing if he could finish it.

Last year Heston was plagued with injury problems – oblique, not arm – and spent most of the season with Sacramento, where he was not as effective as usual.

Heston has an option year remaining. He’ll compete for the Mariners No. 5 starter spot and if he doesn’t get it, we’ll see him in Tacoma.

As you know if you simply walk around town and look at what people are wearing, Tacoma Rainiers gear is selling very well since the team switched to the R-themed logo.

Our front office staff at the Winter Meetings were surprised to see it on a national level when checking out the annual Baseball Trade Show, which is an enormous event held in a massive convention hall.

The New Era hat company – official hat makers for Minor League Baseball – was using the Rainiers hat in their advertising.

hat-ad

Rainiers gear was also prominently featured in this t-shirt company’s display (sorry, not sure who the manufacturer is here)

sample-shirts

It’s pretty cool to have Rainiers gear being used as samples by companies trying to display their best items.

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