Not 12 hours after news broke that Jerry had broken the seal on the Hot Stove season by checking “First Base” off his to-do list by acquiring Ryon Healy, he’s at it again:
Mariners acquire international slot money from the White Sox in exchange for RHP Thyago Vieira— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) November 16, 2017
The @Mariners are getting $500K from @whitesox in Vieira deal. Prepping for an Ohtani bid? Now have $1.5575 mil to offer (M's have spent $3.9425 mil of $5.5 mil total pool)— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) November 16, 2017
Vieira, 24, started turning some heads last spring when he showed up at camp with an improved ability to control his 104-mph heater.
Thyago Vieira throwing heat with "The Stroke" playing in the background pic.twitter.com/cIW7DGSDRU— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 17, 2017
The Brazilian flamethrower saw a drastic drop in strikeout rate making the jump from High-A to Double-A Arkansas to start the 2017 season without seeing the corresponding dip in walk rate one might expect.
The obvious indication here is that the Mariners, already considered one of the most logical landing spots for international superstar Shohei Ohtani, are pushing all their chips into the center of the table in their efforts to court him.
Note that even if the M’s swing and miss on Ohtani, there’s an intriguing pool of international free agents to dive into. Just yesterday, it was reported that the Twins voided the contract of 16-year-old Jelfry Marte, who was rated by MLB.com as the third best international free agent of 2017. Additionally, Cuban OF Julio Pablo Martinez, who should be eligible for the 2017-18 signing period, recently established residency in Haiti in preparation for a December showcase. And don’t forget that the Braves appear to be on the verge of losing several top international talents as a penalty for violating rules in the international market, possibly including SS Kevin Maitan, listed by MLB.com as the #38 prospect in baseball, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Vieira’s Mariners career ends (for now) with just one singular, thrilling, hilarious inning that surely won’t be forgotten.