Looks like we have a player for the 2018 Tacoma Rainiers: shortstop Zach Vincej.
Vincej appeared in his first nine major league games last year for the Reds, going 1-for-9 at the plate. He spent the majority of the season playing for Triple-A Louisville, where he hit .270 with three homers and developed a reputation as having a smooth glove.
The Mariners acquired Vincej when he was claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds last week, and then outrighted to Tacoma today. Since he doesn’t yet have six years of minor league experience, he’s not eligible for free agency.
He’s 26-years-old, was drafted out of Pepperdine in the 37th round in 2012, and has spent his entire career in the Reds organization until the past few days.
How do you pronounce Vincej? I read that it’s “Vince-ee,” but of course we’ll double-check with him when we meet him in the spring.
This fills a big hole the Rainiers had in the offseason. Actually, it was a big hole in the regular season after Tyler Smith was let go. Take a look:
2017 Tacoma Shortstops
- Tyler Smith (79 games) – DFA’d, now with Texas Rangers
- Taylor Motter (19 games) – with Mariners
- Ryan Jackson (15 games) – released
- Shawn O’Malley (8 games) – DFA’d, currently a free agent
- Joey Wong (5 games) – currently a free agent
- Eugene Helder (5 games) – Class-A player who filled in
- Zach Shank (4 games) – not really a shortstop but made a couple of starts
- Gordon Beckham (3 games) – currently a free agent
- Rayder Ascanio (3 games) – traded to Cardinals in Mike Leake deal
- Kevin Santa (2 games) – Class-A player who filled in*
There is nobody to promote from Double-A. Wong was the shortstop there, and he was promoted to Tacoma for the final week of the season and is now a free agent.
With Motter likely to remain in Seattle as the utility man, that leaves no holdovers to play shortstop for Tacoma. As this point, Vincej is our shortstop for 2018.
- John McGrath explains why the Mariners should sign Yu Darvish. I happen to agree with him.
- ESPN.com has a post up covering the offseason needs of all five A.L. West teams.
*Santa only played in away games and never met Rhubarb the Reindeer.