The Mariners made their second trade in two days and the White Sox bolstered their bullpen as Seattle sent righthander Thyago Vieira to Chicago in exchange for international bonus allotment money.
For the Mariners, the move adds an additional as-yet unspecified amount of money to their bonus pool, which gives them additional ammunition in their expected bid to try to land Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Chicago White Sox Receive:
Thyago Vieira, RHP
Vieira, a Brazilain native, is one of the hardest throwing pitchers in baseball and he joins a team that collects triple-digit pitchers (Michael Kopech, Zack Burdi and Reynaldo Lopez). Vieira touched 100-101 mph in his lone big league appearance and he’s regularly reached triple digits in the minors, including a 104 mph pitch in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.
“The day before I saw in the World Series I saw Chapman throwing hitting 104. I said, I’m going to do this the next day (in the Arizona Fall League)," Vieira said. “I said ‘I’m going to throw as hard as I can.’ But when it happened, I didn’t believe it. When they told me, it was amazing."
Vieira’s fastball alone could help him carve out a role in a big league bullpen if he can throw with even fringe-average control, but to have long-term big league success, he’s going to have to find a second pitch.
He’s worked on sharpening his fringy slider and he’s toyed with a split-fingered fastball as well as a changeup, but none grade out as more than a 40 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale right now. If he’s going to work in higher-leverage situations he’ll have to develop an offspeed pitch to keep hitters from just looking for his fastball.
Vieira has less than 60 innings above Class A, so he could use some additional refinement, but with the rebuilding White Sox looking to bolster their bullpen, he heads to spring training with a pretty clear shot at a big league job.