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Jack Wilson, Ian Snell Traded to Mariners

The Pirates get C/1B Jeff Clement, SS Ronny Cedeno, and pitchers Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock. The Mariners also get cash in the deal.

Cedeno isn't great, but he's a reasonable temp replacement for Wilson, allowing the Bucs to keep the newly-acquired Argenis Diaz in the minors.

Clement, the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, is sort of like the Mariners' version of Ryan Doumit; he has upside as a hitter, but the Mariners never really figured out what to do with him, and I'm not sure he has the stick to make it as a starting first baseman. If he's a catcher, he's helpful, but he's not supposed to be much of a defender there, and he has knee trouble. You'd think that the Pirates might play him as their everyday first baseman, but the Post-Gazette is reporting he'll head to Indianapolis. It'll be interesting to see how they use him; he's very major-league ready, so if he plays semi-regularly as a catcher, it could signal another trade, probably of him or Doumit. I think he's a good acquisition, regardless--he's basically stalled at Class AAA Tacoma, but he raced through the minors before that, and again, he was the third overall pick in the 2005 draft. The Bucs are buying low here.

Pribanic, 22, had been pitching for Class A Clinton, and not terribly well--he had a 3.21 ERA, but with only 54 strikeouts in 87 innings. Still, it's his first full pro season, and he was selected in the third round of last year's draft. He seems to have a pretty average starter's arsenal, and he doesn't have much of a strikeout pitch yet, probably because his fastball is fairly straight and his curve isn't very good. You can watch some video of him here. His best pitch is his changeup.

Adcock, 21, has allowed 72 runs in 102 innings at Class A+ High Desert, but you can pretty much throw those numbers out. High Desert is one of the most insane hitting environments in all the minors. He struck out a batter an inning in Class A last year, which is very good.

Lorin, 22, was the Mariners' fifth-round pick in '08, and he might be the real prize here--he's posted excellent numbers for Clinton, with a 2.44 ERA and a strikeout per inning. He's also 6'7" and throws extremely hard. He's a notch behind Rudy Owens as a prospect, but way better than most of the Pirates' other A-ball pitchers.

My first impression is that this is a very good return for two players the Pirates shouldn't really have gotten much for. This trade could end up making the Mariners look very good if Snell returns and pitches well, but he probably wasn't going to do that for the Bucs. Pribanic and Cedeno don't do a lot for me, and I'm not really sure how best to use Clement. But Clement does have some upside, and Adcock and Lorin definitely do too. And any team hoping to contend in a few years needs to have a ton of pitching prospects, since most of them won't work out. Adcock and Lorin instantly enter the discussion about the Pirates' top five pitching prospects. That may not have meant much a few months ago, but with last month's draft, the trade for Jeff Locke, and the emergence of Owens, it does now. A week or so ago I had the sense that Wilson was going to stay with the Pirates because nobody wanted him and that Neal Huntington was going to give Snell away for a bag of balls, and neither of those things turned out to be true. I'm very pleasantly surprised.

This strikes me as a pretty strange trade for the Mariners, who are 7.5 games back in the NL West, 6.5 back in the Wild Card race, and who lost 101 games this year. Even if Wilson and Snell produce for them down the stretch, they probably still won't make the playoffs. They didn't have much use for Cedeno or Clement, but they definitely could have used Adcock and Lorin, since their minor league system isn't terribly deep. Their GM, Jack Zduriencik, does know what he's doing, so maybe he thinks Snell will blossom and then the Mariners will be able to keep him for several more years.

Wilson was never a favorite player of mine, but I will miss his defense, and this marks the end of an era for the Pirates, who've had Wilson as their shortstop since 2001. Pirates fans are going to be upset about this, but Wilson isn't a star player anywhere but Pittsburgh. A decent complementary player and a terrific defensive shortstop, yes. But his hitting prevents him from being any more than that, and that's not going to play any better in a pitchers' park in the American League.

The Pirates might not be done here--rumors have Freddy Sanchez sticking around in San Francisco.