Mariners Wheeling and Dealing

The Mariners bartered with Pirates earlier this week, filling their need for both a shortstop and a back-end starter. The Ms acquired a veteran, all-star shortstop in Jack Wilson as well as pitcher, Ian Snell. They sent fill-in SS Ronny Cedeño as well as minor leaguers Jeff Clement, Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic back over to Pittsburg. Then, if that wasn’t enough, they traded outfielder, Wladimir Balentien, for former Reds’ reliever, Robert Manuel.

Let’s start up the middle. The only apparent advantage –other than salary – to Cedeño over Wilson at short would be age. Cedeño is 26, and Wilson 31. While neither would be considered a great offensive force – or much of an offensive force at all – Wilson’s track record indicates that he is more valuable offensively, sporting a higher OPS while striking out less often. Though Wilson’s experience may be an explanation for better stats, he still outperformed Cedeño in first five years of their respective careers.

Cedeño may have the ability to be a great glove man, but it hasn’t shown itself yet. His Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) as a shortstop, which measures all-around defensive ability, is negative, indicating that he is a below-average defender. Jack Wilson on the other hand has posted an average UZR of 5.6 per 150 games, a figure good enough to crack the top 8 among shortstops year in and year out.

The rest of the lot…

Ms Also Get

Ian Snell: At 27, Snell is entering the prime years for pitchers according to baseball stats guru, Bill James. Though his major league stats are nothing special, a 3.69 strikeout/walk ratio and less than 1 homer allowed per game in the minors indicate that the talent is there.

Robert Manuel: Young like Snell (26), Manuel still has growth potential ahead of him. He complements excellent control – just 1.5 walks per game – with a ridiculous K/BB ratio of 5.47 in the minors. He has always been a middle reliever, and is likely to stay that way.

Traded Away

Jeff Clement: Probably the biggest loss in the trade, I just recently wrote about how Clement might be ready for a permanent run in the majors. His AAA numbers are impressive, and in the National League he could be stashed at first without causing too much harm, while backing up Ryan Doumit at catcher for the Pirates.

Adcock/Lorin/Pribanic: All in their early 20s and all unproven.  Not one has played AA ball or higher, so it’s hard to tell now exactly what Seattle is losing, other than minors depth.

Wladimir Balentien: Balentien appeared to be a potential power hitter after two years in the Mariners’ minor league system, hitting 46 homers in less than two full seasons. However, that power hasn’t translated into home runs at Safeco, and his strikeout rates have remained up around 30%.

It seemed that Seattle was on the verge of throwing in the towel this season and trading some big guns (Washburn, Bedard) away for prospects. Then Bedard had two awful starts and went on the DL, and his trade value plummeted. While 20.5 hours still remain before the deadline, the Mariners have yet to trade away a big name for young talent, instead opting to trade away their own young pieces for current major leaguers. The next day could be interesting…

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