White Sox: Thyago Vieira will prove to be a steal

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14: Thyago Vieira
SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 14: Thyago Vieira /

The Chicago White Sox made an intriguing trade for a young arm on Thursday.

The Chicago White Sox’s second offseason of the rebuild began this week, with general manager Rick Hahn wasting no time making his first move.

Except this time, no players were given up.

The White Sox traded their international bonus pool money (which they can’t use as a penalty for signing Luis Robert back in May) to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher Thyago Vieira.

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Vieira, 24, was ranked as the Mariners’ 8th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. He pitched for the World Team in the 2017 Future Game this past July and made his MLB debut with a scoreless inning on August 14th.

Vieira now enters the Chicago White Sox farm system as their 20th-ranked prospect. With the White Sox trading several bullpen arms this past season, Vieira could compete for a bullpen spot come spring training.

Why the Mariners made the move

There are two main reasons why the Mariners decided to make what some would call a questionable move. MLB.com’s Greg Johns reported that one reason for the move was to free up space for position players on the 40-man roster.

Secondly, and likely more important is the reason behind the international bonus money. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman suggested that the Mariners are suiting up for a run at Japanese phenom Shohei Otani.

Otani will likely be posted as early as next week, allowing all 30 teams (although some, including the White Sox, cannot sign him) the opportunity to negotiate a contract with Otani.

The Mariners stocking up their money gives them an advantage as Otani is subject to MLB international signing rules. Teams are given a select amount to spend on amateur free agents every season, in an effort to level the playing field.

Given the Mariners Japanese history (Including ownership, Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma) and their financial advantage, the Mariners become serious contenders to sign the foreign star.

Why the White Sox made the move

The Chicago White Sox’s reason for the move is obvious. Rick Hahn again took advantage of the opportunity to acquire a high-upside arm. Vieira- who’s fastball has been clocked at 102 MPH, has one of the best arms in all of baseball.

However, control issues have overshadowed Vieira ability to throw flame. 22 walks in 54 innings over the past season in the Minors isn’t pretty.

Enter Don Cooper. The White Sox pitching coach has made a name for himself helping young pitchers overcome control problems.

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Breakout arm Tommy Kahnle is the most recent example of Cooper’s magic, with Bobby Jenks and Sergio Santos other examples of successful young arms developed by Cooper.

With an 80-Grade fastball and underrated slider, scouts believe Vieira could be a closer in the future. If Coop can work his magic, and Vieira develops as many hope and think he can, Rick Hahn and the Sox have themselves a major steal.