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James Paxton Activated, Daniel Vogelbach Demoted; Kyle Seager gives birth to Nick Vincej’s Mariner Career; Zach Duke acquired; Adam Warren acquired; PLEASE STOP JERRY

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The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics
me too, buddy.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

No big surprise here, as the entirely predictable move happened again. James Paxton will start tonight in Seattle against Houston, and it’s at the expense of Daniel Vogelbach’s place in Seattle. A well-rested Paxton says he didn’t experience the day-after back tightness that led to a last minute scratch last week after his bullpen, and he steps into the rotation at a time when the Mariners desperately need him to anchor the rotation at full strength. Marco Gonzales is nipping at his Canadian heels for the title of most valuable Mariner starter, but James remains the top talent in the rotation based on stuff , and with two months remaining this team is going to need to squeeze every drop of performance out of that left arm to get to the fabled Mariners-A’s wild card game everyone predicted back in March.

For Daniel Vogelbach, this is as unsurprising as it is frustrating, though Vogelbach plays the good soldier in both public and the clubhouse. He can’t reasonably do more in Tacoma offensively, and at this point he is what he is defensively. I don’t mean that as a criticism, just the simple fact that he is essentially a final product. That final product may or may not be good enough to be a major league regular, but for now, the Mariners’ existing roster and philosophy has dictated that he gets only scattered plate appearances with the big-league club, even against right handed starters. With Ryon Healy sitting a tick under league average on this fine hot day, the front office should be taking a long hard look in the mirror to decide if their faith in him should trump the need to try something, anything, to get decent bat production at first base for the rest of 2018. That may not be Daniel Vogelbach, but right now we just don’t know.

See you tonight, Astros.

LATE BREAKING ADDITIONS: I prewrote this because Pax for Vogey was easy to see. Then, as they made that move, they made an additional pair of moves: Kyle Seager went to the paternity list, a move that can be for up to three days, and the team selected the contract of Zach Vincej, who will make his Mariner debut (presumably). Vincej can play every infield spot well but not the outfield, exactly duplicating Andrew Romine’s infield duties (probably exceeding him on defense) as well as his lousy hitting abilities—Vincej has a 68 wRC+ in over 300 PA in Tacoma to date. It’s likely he’ll be back in Tacoma in just a few days.


THEN, the Mariners had to go and do a trade, swapping a pair of minor leaguers to the Twins for Zach Duke. Duke has been around seemingly forever—was once an All-Star!—and the 35-year-old has posted good numbers against RHB this year (3.38 FIP in 22.2 IP) and absolutely wiped out lefties, with a 1.60 FIP in 14.2 IP. He’ll be a useful piece for our bullpen. Unfortunately, the cost was steep (adjusted for the Mariner Farm Curve), as Ryan Costello and Chase De Jong go the other way. De Jong doesn’t mean much, having been mostly unimpressive everywhere he’s pitched in the system for Seattle (currently sitting at Arkansas), but Costello was a late selection in 2017 that has done nothing but hit for the Aqua Sox and Lumberkings, with a 175 wRC+ in Everett and a 137 in Clinton. He certainly wasn’t an outrageously valuable piece, but it feels like a steep price given that the return is a half season of a reliever owed somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars the rest of the way.

[checks twitter] OK, time to publish these before we make another move I have to include.


Would someone please bop Jerry on the nose with a newspaper? I literally can’t write these deals up fast enough. Adam Warren is a pretty darn good reliever and has demonstrated an ability to go multiple innings this year. Oh, by the way, we got $75k of salary relief from the Twins in the Zach Duke deal. And the return for Warren is... We don’t know yet! Is it a big deal? Three teams? Stay tuned!

FINAL UPDATE(?) 4:40 PM PT:

The return for Adam Warren is an ethereal concept: international cap space.