The Mariners lost a couple of intriguing talents in the Rule 5 Draft, with RHP Kevin Gadea getting selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the major league phase of the draft and OF Austin Wilson heading to the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor league phase. In positive news, they managed to snag LHP Paul Paez from the New York Mets and OF Chuck Taylor from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both acquisitions were made in the minor league phase.
Mariners take Mets LH Paul Paez from Mets & OF Chuck Taylor from Cards. Lose OF Austin Wilson to Cardinals in Minor League Rule 5.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) December 8, 2016
What the Mariners lost
Gadea emerged as a prospect to watch in 2016 after posting a 2.54 FIP and 12.87 K/9 across 50.1 IP in Class-A Clinton this past year. Despite being an offspeed-heavy pitcher, he was incredibly stingy with walks, allowing just eleven free passes all year. His selection was a bit of a surprise due to the fact that he’s never pitched above Class-A, but the Rays clearly feel confident about Gadea’s immediate potential.
Wilson, meanwhile, took a big step back in 2016 after everything seemed to be lined up for a big year. The 24-year-old out of Stanford struggled mightily in his repeat of High-A Bakersfield, slashing .226/.338/.375 with a 97 wRC+ and 36.1 K%. Wilson’s blend of size (6’4, 250) and athleticism will always intrigue people and I’ve never heard anything bad about him as a person, but this move is probably for the best for everyone. Wilson wasn’t making the expected steps forward in Seattle and now a new pair of eyes will get a chance to look at him.
What the Mariners gained
Paul Paez comes over from the Mets with–I bet you’d never guess–a history of being a C-the-Z type of pitcher. Paez has been in the Mets’ system since 2013 and has posted career rates of 7.85 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9. He’s made it as high as Double-A, where he posted a 4.32 FIP in 19.2 IP this past year. As for what he throws, this came from ESPN’s Adam Rubin in a rundown of the Mets’ farm system in June:
Left-handed reliever Paul Paez, who had been relegated to mop-up duty early, produced a four-inning save on Sunday and has not allowed an earned run in 14⅓ innings this season with St. Lucie. Paez’s fastball tops out at 86 mph. He keeps hitters off-balance with a slider in the 68-73 mph range.
Chuck Taylor is a 5’9, 190-pound corner outfielder who made it up to Double-A in the Dbacks’ organization last year. The only thing I see from looking over his numbers that might’ve sold Dipoto on him is his ability to take a walk (career OBP of .357), but outside of that it’s hard to generate much excitement over the addition, which I suppose is typically expected of the minor league phase.