It’s no secret that the Mariners’ bullpen was in dire need of some help. Between the injuries to Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook and the question marks surrounding most of the other bullpen candidates it wasn't surprising to see Jerry Dipoto looking outside the organization to upgrade this sorry lot. Our friend Ryan Divish had the scoop first:
M's have acquired RHP Nick Vincent of the PAdres for PTBNL— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 30, 2016
Nick Vincent is a four year major league veteran who spent his entire career in the Padres organization. He doesn’t overpower hitters despite striking out more than a quarter of the batters he’s faced in his career. His fastball sits around 90 mph but he’s able to generate an above average amount of whiffs with the pitch. His best pitch—and the pitch he leans on the most—is a nasty cutter. That pitch has helped him limit right-handed batters to just a .220 wOBA. Vincent also occasionally mixes in a changeup. If he's able to develop that pitch a little further, it could go a long way towards mitigating his struggles against lefties.
Last year, Vincent saw his K/BB ratio fall after he lost a few ticks off his strikeout rate and his walk rate doubled. He might have been a bit lucky to post a 2.35 ERA as opposing batters had a BABIP of .368 against him. Nothing in his batted ball profile changed drastically and opposing batters made hard contact just 17% of the time against him. I’d expect that BABIP to regress towards his previous career norms. Hopefully the rising walk rate was just a minor blip and he returns to posting K/BB ratio around 4 or 5.
Vincent should immediately slot in behind Cishek and Benoit as an option in the 7th or 8th inning. The move also pushes Mayckol Guaipe, Donn Roach, and Blake Parker out of the running for the last spot in the bullpen. Vincent has scuffled a bit this spring, giving up five runs in eight innings. That might have driven his cost down a bit, depending on who the player to be named later turns out to be. Dipoto did very well to acquire a piece that upgrades the bullpen without giving much up in return.