Thursday, July 30, 2009

Trade Center: Snell and Wilson to the Mariners

The Deal: The Pirates trade SS Jack Wilson, SP Ian Snell and cash to the Mariners for C/1B Jeff Clement (AAA), INF Ronny Cedeno, and RHP's Nathan Adcock (High-A), Brett Lorin (Low-A), Aaron Pribanic (Low-A).

Pittsburgh: The Pirates did end up having to pay for just about all of Wilson and Snell's deals this year, but they cleared over $12 million off the books for next season. The Pirates didn't acquire any stars in this deal, but did receive a lot of promising upside. Clement has been a highly touted prospect for years, though injuries and ineffectiveness have forced him from being an everyday catcher so far. Cedeno is a solid cheap utility player that can fill in for Wilson until a quality starter can be found. All three of the starters the Pirates received have some upside. None project to be front line starters, but they could fill out a rotation or move to the bullpen. Adcock is the most intriguing in my mind, and should advance quickly behind his major league curve ball.

Seattle: The Mariners made this trade more for next season than this year, in my opinion. Seattle has an outside shot of making a stretch run this year, but could be in a solid position in 2010. Wilson gives them perhaps the best defensive SS in baseball. And while his bat has been below average it has been an upgrade to the Mariners shortstops this season. Snell is the key to this deal for Seattle. If he pitches like he has this year for the Pirates, then the Mariners got took in this deal big time. If he starts pitching like he has in the past and finally lives up to his potential, then the Mariners got a young quality starter on the cheap. If Snell does turn it around he could have both of his club options picked up, making him a Mariner through 2012.

Winner: The Pirates are the winner here regardless of the performance of the players acquired in this deal. Wilson is a great leader and a great defensive player, but $8.5 million was a lot for a last place team to pay for a guy, who can't hit. Snell was once considered part of Pittsburgh's future, but he 'talked' (and played) his way out of the Steel City. It was pretty clear that his days in Pittsburgh were numbered, so whatever talent you get for him is a win. The $12 million the Pirates save is significant. Look for them to use that money to keep signing draft picks and international players. As for the Mariners they did acquire to Major League pieces, but right now there are more questions than answers surrounding them. Will Wilson's batting numbers go even further down in a better pitchers park and tougher league? Can Snell focus on pitching and reach his upside? Will Snell struggle against the better A.L. hitters? If the answers to those questions are; NO, YES, NO, then the Mariners may come out of this deal winners as well.

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