Mariners, Pirates Make Seven-Player Deal

The Deal
The Pirates—one of the most active teams at each of the past two trade deadlines—sent shortstop Jack Wilson and righthander Ian Snell to the Mariners for shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher/first baseman Jeff Clement and righthanders Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic. The Pirates also threw in $3.3 million to cover most of the money owed to Snell and Wilson this year.

While some may scratch their heads at the Mariners looking like buyers while they sit in third place, 7 1/2 games behind the Angles in the AL West, this trade makes some sense for both clubs and could be more of a long-term buy for the Mariners rather than a push for the playoffs this year. Cedeno was baitting .167/.213/.290 over 213 plate appearances this year and Wilson, though older, is the better defender.

Clement and Snell had both fallen out of favor with their organizations, and the Mariners sent the Pirates the three minor league arms, none of which has yet reached Double-A, in exchange for the salary relief this year.
The Young Players
The third overall pick in 2005 out of Southern California, Clement has yet to graduate from Triple-A, while many other players from that class—Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki—have established themselves in the big leagues. Part of that has to do with his position. The Mariners worked hard with Clement on his defense behind the plate, but knee injuries limited his time there, and he seemed to fall out of favor with the new administration and its emphasis on sound defense. When catcher Kenji Johjima went on the disabled list in mid-April, the Mariners made Rob Johnson the regular and added to the 40-man roster 37-year-old Jamie Burke to fill the big league roster spot. When Johjima went back on the DL in late May, it was Guillermo Quiroz who got the call.

This year for the Rainiers, Clement caught in just 16 games, spent 70 as the DH and recently began seeing time at first base. A career .286/.374/.497 hitter in the minors, Clement's success had yet to carry over to the big leagues. Over 243 plate appearances between 2007 and 2008, Clement hit .237/.309/.393 for the Mariners. Nevertheless, he has huge lefty power and this season with Tacoma he was batting .288/.366/.505 with 14 home runs and 68 RBIs in 421 PAs.

A fifth-round pick out of North Hardin HS in Radcliff, Ky., Adcock has pitched the entire year in high Class A High Desert in the hitting-friendly California League. The 6-foot-5, 190-pounder ranked as the Mariners' No. 24 prospect coming into the season and was 5-7, 5.29 with 71 strikeouts and 54 walks over 102 innings. His sharp, downer curveball ranked as the best in the system, but it's very tough to make breaking balls spin in the dry air and high altitude of High Desert.

The Mariners' third-round pick last year out of Nebraska, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Pribanci sits in the 91-94 mph range with his fastball and tops out at 96. He has spent all season with low Class A Clinton, going 7-6, 3.21 with 54 strikeouts and 26 walks over 87 innings.

The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Lorin was the Mariners' fifth-round pick last year out of Long Beach State. He signed early and spent last year with short-season Everett and low Class A Wisconsin, going 1-2, 3.96 with 61 strikeouts and 25 walks over 52 innings. He got off to a great start back in low Class A, this time for Clinton. In his first six starts, Lorin went 3-0, 1.00 with 34 strikeouts and six walks over 36 innings. On the year, he's 5-4, 2.44 with 87 strikeouts and 25 walks over 89 innings in the Midwest League.
Quick Take
At first glance, it looks like the Mariners gave up a lot for an all-glove, no-hit shortstop and a 27-year-old pitcher who recently was demoted to Triple-A. However, this trade could end up looking good for both clubs. Clement has always had good power. He still holds the national career home run record (75) he set as a prep player in Iowa and, coming out of college, he ranked as the best power hitter in the class. Whether or not he'll hit enough to be a regular, especially at first base, remains in question. This year, Clement has hit just .203/.274/.325 against lefthanded pitchers.

After a couple promising performances for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, Snell was Mr. Hyde in the big leagues this year (2-8, 5.36 with 52 strikeouts and 44 walks over 81 innings), but Dr. Jeckyll after his demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis (2-2, 0.96 with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks over 37 innings). Snell, 27, is owed $4.25 million next year and has club options for 2011 and 2012 at $6.75 million and $9.25 million, respectively.

Without a capable in-house solution, the Mariners had been searching for a shortstop after trading Yuniesky Betancourt earlier this month, so Wilson fills that void and will give the Mariners one of the best defenses in the game. It will be interesting to see what they do with Wilson this winter. He has an $8.4 million option for 2010 with a $600,000 buyout, and Seattle has a few big contracts coming off the books.

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