Seattle Mariners Acquire Jack Wilson…

When making trades, I have always believed that you should trade an average or below average known for an unknown with potential. That is what the Pittsburgh Pirates did today when they traded SS Jack Wilson and RHP Ian Snell, “average knowns” for C/1B Jeff Clement, SS/2B Ronny Cedeno, and minor-league pitchers Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, and Nathan Adcock, “unknowns with potential.”

When I first heard the Pirates received five players for Wilson and Snell, my initial reaction was really? Seems like an awful lot, nomatter who the players were for those two.

I know what I am getting with Wilson. I am getting a guy who can’t hit a lick, is one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, and since the Mariners are going to pick up his 2010 option for $8.5 million – a guy is over paid in this economy.

I understand the Mariners want to really, really, really, really want to build their team around defense, but sooner or later the Mariners are going to need to find a guy who can drive in runs. Wilson is not that guy.

I also know what I am going to get with Snell. I just don’t see it with Snell. He might have the arm, but when it comes to the mental aspect of the game, well, that’s a different story. I just don’t think Snell has the mental makeup, which is about 75 percent of pitching to make it in the majors as a starter.

Snell is 33-46 for his career with a 4.75 ERA. He was so bad this year, he was sent down to the minors. Maybe Snell just needs a change of scenery? But I think he is an average major-league pitcher.

As for the players the Pirates received, the biggest unknown is Jeff Clement. Clement was the third overall pick in the 2005 draft and was actually taken right before Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Braun (every Mariner fan just threw up in their mouth).

Clement set high expectations after he hit .375 with two HR’s and three RBI in 19 games for the Mariners in 2007. Clement didn’t live up to those expectations as he struggled in 2008. He hit just .227 with five HR’s and 23 RBI in 66 games.

For Triple-A Tacoma this year, Clement was hitting .286 with 14 HR’s, 66 RBI and a .366 OBP. Clement reminds me a little of Phil Nevin. If you don’t remember Nevin, he was the first overall pick by the Houston Astros in the 1992 draft. He was drafted as a catcher and Nevin never panned out in Houston.

After bouncing around for a couple of years, Nevin found a home in San Diego, converted to a full-time third baseman, and ended up being a very productive player. I am sensing the same thing for Clement.

With Adam LaRoche off to Boston, there is an opening for Clement to step in and be the Pirates’ starting first baseman in 2010. At 26, there is time for Clement to develop into a solid major-league player.

The Pirates also received three low level pitching prospects, none of which were in the top 10 of Mariner prospects according to Baseball America. Pirates GM Neal Huntington has done a good job of restocking the Pirates previously baron minor-league system. These three players will only add value to the Pirates’ system.

As for Ronny Cedeno? He is nothing more than a roster filler. A guy who can play SS, 2B, 3B, and even some LF.

At the end of the day, I like this trade for the Pirates. They gave away two average players for a guy in Clement who has the potential to be good and three pitching prospects.

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