Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Hammer Drops...

OK, Jack Splat is gonzo; no surprise there. Ian Snell joins him. They went to Seattle for a bench shortstop, a AAA power hitter without a position, and three young upside pitchers that are toiling in Class A and don't figure to reach Pittsburgh until 2012, if at all.

Wilson sealed his fate when he turned down the two-year, $8M deal the Pirates offered a few days ago. Snell talked his way out of town.

Wilson has been a Bucco since 2001, and played 1,159 games, batting .269, with 60 HR, 389 RBI, and 508 runs scored and an OBP of .311. His line this year was at about at his career average, .267/4/31, with a .304 OBP.

His replacement is Ronny Cedeno, with a career average of .238, with 18 home runs, 105 RBI, and a .276 OBP in 388 games during parts of five MLB seasons. Cedeno has fewer at-bats (1,090) than Wilson had games played.

He was given Seattle's SS job when Yuniesky Betancourt was dumped, and responded by hitting .167. Cedeno could field like Ozzie Smith - and he doesn't, although he's good - and will be a downgrade. He'll join the roster.

They added a potential bat with 25-year-old Jeff Clement. He was Seattle's first-round pick (third overall) in the 2005 draft, and was rated by Baseball America as the organization's number one prospect for both 2006 and 2008.

The lefty hit .288 with 33 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 68 RBI and 65 runs scored with a .505 slugging percentage in 92 games this year with AAA Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, known as a notorious hitter's paradise.

A catcher for most of his career, the Pirates list him as a first baseman, though he was often the DH for Tacoma. He's been assigned to Indy, and has a shot at joining the team this year if he finds a glove that fits him.

The pitchers all have pedigrees and are young enough to be more than organizational guys.

Nathan Adcock, 21, was 5-7 with a 5.29 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) with Single-A High Desert of the California League. The RHP went 5-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 14 starts prior to the All-Star Game before hitting the proverbial wall in July.

He has a highly touted curve, but his problem is control; in his career, he's walked 159 batters in 320-2/3 innings. Adcock was selected by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2006 draft from North Hardin (KY) High School, and is off to Lynchburg.

RHP Aaron Pribanic, 22, was 7-6 with a 3.21 ERA in 17 starts for Single-A Clinton of the Midwest League. He was was Seattle's third-round selection (98th overall) in the 2008 draft from the University of Nebraska, Joba Chamberlain's alma mater.

Neal Huntington said of his repertoire: "He has a heavy four-seam fastball that reaches up to 93 miles per hour and a two-seam fastball with significant sinking and tailing life low in the zone that has allowed him to get ground balls."

His rotation mate, Brett Lorin, 22, is a Bucco now, too. He went 5-4 with a 2.44 ERA, 87 strikeouts and 25 walks in 16 starts at Clinton. The 6-foot-7 RHP was named to the Midwest League All-Star team.

Lorin has a mid-90s heater, but is still working on his off-speed stuff; the curve is coming along, but he's looking for a third pitch. He was selected by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2008 draft from Cal State University-Long Beach.

They'll stay together a while longer; both have been assigned to the West Virginia Power.

And what can you say about Ian Snell? He's been a Bucco since 2004, and in 2007 looked like the real deal, going 9-12 but with a solid 3.76 ERA. Alas, it was never to be, at least here. His career Pirate line was 33-46/4.75.

After his last dust-up with the suits, both sides torched their bridges. We suspect the management wanted him as far away as possible; heck, they probably tried to trade him to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before settling on Seattle.

The Pirates will pick up the 2009 salaries of Wilson and Snell, minus the minor-league minimum that the Mariners will kick in, valued at $3.3M.

The beat goes on - and two days left before shopping season comes to an end. The MLB Bucs are a little weaker; the organization is a little deeper. And that's how it looks to go for the near future.

Now the two longest-tenured Pirates are John Grabow, who started in 2003, and Freddy Sanchez, who pulled on a Bucco jersey in 2004 - and there's no guarantee that they make it past Friday.


WilliamJPellas said...

Evidently Seattle thinks they are contenders. I see no other reason, sane or otherwise, for them to do an "overpay" deal like this one. Mind you, it's a mild overpay; I don't know that we struck the motherlode here or otherwise did our own version of the Cubs in the Aramis Ramirez trade. But it still looks like we got a lot more than we gave up, at least on paper.

If Ian Snell can prosper in Seattle, more power to him. He called out Neil and the front office here in Pittsburgh, and when an employee in any organization does that, you must respond one way or another. Whatever. I'm done with Snell and I've been done with him for some time now.

As for Wilson, much as I love him as a player, the truth is that he was increasingly brittle in recent years and that brought his value down considerably. Not as a hired gun for the home stretch in a pennant race in Seattle, but as any kind of regular starter in Pittsburgh for the next few years. I'd be very surprised if he can stay on the field in Seattle any more than he has for us, which is a shame. I've always maintained that Jack had a better stick, or at least potential for a better stick, than he was usually credited with having, and of course his glovework is superb.

Cedeno has a body of work behind him, but he's basically a stopgap until we see if Argenis Diaz or, perhaps, Brian Friday is ready. I know next to nothing about the other young players we acquired in the deal, but the sheer number of them is shocking. Again, right out of the chute it sure looks like a big win for the Pirates.

As for Freddy, I am nervous about trading him for Alderson alone, straight up, for the reasons you mention, Ron. I'd think Freddy might be worth Alderson and a roll-the-dice prospect, but then he has that huge option for next season and if San Fran has to pay the freight, maybe they figure that is essentially money they're putting in our coffers. From that perspective, okay. They paid $8 million plus a first round pitcher for a still good but 31 year old second baseman with a somewhat brittle body.

Eh, okay. I'll take it. Onward from here.

Ron Ieraci said...

I'm with you, Will, kinda bleh on the whole wheelin' and dealin'. Alderson was a surprise, though that K rate nags at me. I'm not sold on Clements becoming a NL player; we'll see. And three A pitchers is OK; even if they don't make it, they fill a need.

I have no idea what made them pull the trigger on the Grabow deal, unless they figure anything that gets Gorzo out of town is OK with them. Maybe they think they can turn Hart or Ascanio back into starters.

Oh well, another day, another deal.