SEATTLE MARINERS

Mariners send Mike Montgomery to Cubs in 4-player trade

Jul 20, 2016, 2:51 PM | Updated: 10:15 pm

The Mariners have made a four-player trade with the Cubs, sending left-hander Mike Montgomery to Chicago along with minor-league pitcher Jordan Pries in exchange for a pair of prospects: first baseman Dan Vogelbach and right-hander Paul Blackburn.

The Mariners announced the trade Wednesday afternoon.

Vogelbach, 23, is the centerpiece of the trade for the Mariners. The left-handed-hitting slugger has been in the Cubs’ system since he was selected in the second round as an 18-year-old in the 2011 draft. He has been enjoying a strong season at Triple-A Iowa, maintaining a .318/.425./548 line with 16 home runs, 64 RBIs and 55 walks to 67 strikeouts.

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Listed at a stout 6 feet and 250 pounds, the Mariners hope he can be their first baseman or designated hitter of the future. First, he will report to Triple-A Tacoma, general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

“He rakes. He’s raked everywhere he’s ever been,” Dipoto said. “He’s on base, he hits homers, and he’s got a little bit of personality to him when he plays, which wasn’t down on our list of attractive elements about him. He plays with a certain uniqueness. It’s fun.

“We feel like he has a chance to be a real impact in the middle of an order. … It’s major-league ready now and we envision him as part of the short- and long-term solutions.”

Blackburn, 22, was the 56th overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Cubs. In 18 starts with Double-A Tennessee this season, he has a 6-4 record with a 3.17 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 72 strikeouts and 26 walks.

Blackburn will be assigned to Double-A Jackson. Dipoto said the Mariners project him to be ready to help the big-league club in the second half of next season.

“Paul Blackburn really starts to back-fill our pitching depth,” Dipoto said. “He’s a former first-rounder with a really good arm, three average-to-better pitches, and he throws strikes. He’s having an All-Star season in the Southern League.”

Neither Blackburn nor Vogelbach have debuted in the major leagues to this point.

“The attraction to us here was getting younger, getting deeper,” Dipoto said. “As I’ve said all along, up to and including today from the time I got here, we’re going to take advantage of opportunity as best we can, and we had a great opportunity.”

Montgomery, 27, pitched well out of the bullpen for Seattle this season and had just recently rejoined the starting rotation. A first-round pick by the Royals in 2008, he has a 2.34 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 54 strikeouts and 18 walks in 61 2/3 innings (two starts) this season.

“Mike had a good deal of value in the market today,” Dipoto said. “I told him he built up so much equity from opening day to today in the industry that his value I thought was high. … He pitched incredibly well for us. He did a great job in the pen, he’s done a great job since we asked him to fill in in the rotation, and he fills a real niche for the Cubs, and I think that combination of events allowed us to get a pretty good deal for him.”

Pries, 26, is 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in seven games (three starts) with Triple-A Tacoma this year. A 30th-round selection by Seattle in 2011, he has yet to reach the big leagues in six pro seasons.

No starting pitcher.

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