The Mariners have talked to the Padres about acquiring a right-handed reliever, with Nick Vincent, Kevin Quackenbush and Jon Edwards all being mentioned in discussions, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. The M’s are looking to add some depth to a pen that has been thinned out by injuries to Charlie Furbush, Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook, while the Padres have a bit of a surplus in their own relief corps.
As A.J. Cassavell of MLB.com notes, Fernando Rodney, Carlos Villanueva and Brandon Maurer are locked into spots in San Diego’s bullpen, leaving Vincent, Quackenbush and Edwards and others vying for the three open spots. Drew Pomeranz is a key figure in this race since he’ll make the roster as either a starter or a reliever, so the number of available bullpen spots could shrink if Pomeranz doesn’t make the rotation.
Padres manager Andy Green noted early in camp that Vincent and Quackenbush were favorites to win jobs, which makes sense given how impressive both righties have been during their time in San Diego. Vincent has a 2.63 ERA, 9.6 K/9 and 4.13 K/BB rate over 150 2/3 relief innings since 2012, while Quackenbush has a 3.28 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 3.00 K/BB rate over 112 1/2 career innings.
Edwards has the least MLB experience of the three though he has the longest pro career, having been picked by the Cardinals as an outfielder in the 14th round of the 2006 draft. He converted to pitching in 2011 and has consistently missed bats and struggled with his control at both the minor and Major League levels. Edwards has a 4.32 ERA, 11.2 K/9 and 7.6 BB/9 over 25 big league innings.
Vincent is the only one of the trio who is out of options and his numbers did dip a bit last season (lower K/9, higher walk rate, 3.90 SIERA and 4.26 xFIP that belied his 2.53 ERA), so it’s possible San Diego could be exploring its options even though on paper, Vincent is the most established of the three. Quackenbush has been mentioned as a possible closer of the future for the Padres, especially when Craig Kimbrel was dealt, though Rodney’s acquisition would seem to imply that “the Duck” will remain in a setup role for now.
As Dutton notes, the Mariners are planning to use a seven-man bullpen, though there’s a lot of uncertainty about who those seven pitchers will be in the wake of the injuries. Steve Cishek, Joaquin Benoit, Joel Peralta and Tony Zych all have a grasp on right-handed roles with Mike Montgomery and Vidal Nuno serving as the two southpaws. If a new righty reliever is added, the M’s would send Donn Roach, Mayckol Guaipe and Blake Parker to Triple-A.