Mariners reliever Tony Zych says he didn’t know he was traded for $1

Feb 29, 2016, 4:11 PM | Updated: 4:14 pm
Pitcher Tony Zych found out in a news story that he was essentially acquired by the Mariners for $1...
Pitcher Tony Zych found out in a news story that he was essentially acquired by the Mariners for $1. (AP)
(AP)
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What do you do when you find out you find out you were traded for $1? Well, if you’re Mariners reliever Tony Zych, you laugh it off.

“I didn’t really know that until (a Seattle Times story) came out,” Zych told “Danny, Dave and Moore” Friday. “My brother actually sent me a text message with $1 in the picture and said, ‘Look, I could buy a Tony.’ It kind of turned into a little joke. It was pretty funny.”

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The Times reported how the Cubs traded the 25-year-old reliever to Seattle for what was supposed to be either a player to be named or cash considerations in the amount of $1. The Mariners never sent the Cubs a player, meaning the hard-throwing righty came to Seattle for less than half of a Metro bus ticket to Safeco Field.

Zych, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 from the University of Louisville, spent more than four years in the minors with Chicago before making the jump to the Majors with the Mariners. He made 13 appearances for Seattle last September, posting a 2.45 ERA and striking out 24 in 18 1/3 innings.

The change of scenery was important for Zych.

“Obviously repeating Double-A over there it was just stressful mentally,” he said. “Being able to come over here, clean the slate and kind of step back and work on some things and it really paid off.”

Other highlights from the conversation:

On playing the Cubs this season: “That will be really cool. Obviously I know a lot of those guys, played with them, a lot of great players over there and be really exciting to face them.”

On what changed from Chicago to Seattle: “I’ve always had the velocity, even in college. Just a couple things smoothed out in my mechanics and just getting a little opportunity. Finally getting to Triple-A and facing some guys that were really good hitters and able to notice more so what I can do and how to work helped out a lot.”

On his name being alphabetically last listed among the more than 18,000 players to ever play in the MLB: “It was weird I didn’t have to do anything for a record. It was kind of crazy.”

On mispronunciations his name – it’s pronounced Zick: “That comes with the territory. If I hear a Z, I’m gonna just turn my head and hopefully they get it right. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”

On hitting 100 mph on the radar gun: “Yes, it’s happened a couple times … I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference if I throw one 97, 100. To me, I’m just trying to stay in my mechanics. Sometimes I’ll try maybe to run one up there but there’s not much of a different feeling. Unless they tell you what it is, I really don’t know … When you know what you did later is when it kicks in. When you’re out there you don’t really realize it. I’m just trying to throw a heater.”

Getting Albert Pujols and Mike Trout out last season: “That was a real turning point for me to just have that feeling where you know you can get it done. Those guys, I can’t say enough about how good they are.”

On Brantley Gilbert being his favorite country music star: “I’m probably going to use ‘Kick It in the Sticks’ as a walk-up song.”

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