As you know, nothing gets me more excited than seeing major league talent traded for prospects. Just imagine my buzz when I read that Cliff Lee had been sent to Philadelphia. It was pretty much Christmas morning. Throw in the fact that the Buccos were finally able to dump Jack Wilson and Ian Snell for minor leaguers, and we're talking one of those Christmas-Chanukah fusions that kids with mixed religious heritages get to experience. Total ecstasy.
I'll try containing myself, so as to break this down for you.
Here's what the packages looked like:
Jack Wilson + Ian Snell = Ronny Cedeno + Jeff Clement + Nathan Adcock + Brett Lorin + Aaron Pribanic
Jack Wilson - shortstop, 31-years old, due $7.4 million this year, and over $8 million next (with a buyout just over half a million). Longest tenured Pirate on the roster, pretty much the all-hustle/little-talent veteran leader. Wilson was a fan favorite and had expressed interest in being on the team when they finally make the turn around. Neal Huntington agreed that would be fine, but that in order for that to happen, Wilson would have to take his 2010 salary and spread it over to 2011 as well. Wilson balked at that, Huntington didn't flinch. We all know what happened next.
Ian Snell - starting pitcher, 27-years old, due $3.2 million this year, about the same next. Snell wowed us for a couple months in 2007, showing off a mid-90's fastball, and a wipeout slider that started at the knees and disappeared toward the ground. Then he returned to mediocrity, exceeding his pre-2007 ERA of 4.95 with a post-2007 ERA of 5.40. A couple days after Spinmove and I saw him stink it up earlier this summer, he went on to trash his coaches, claimed to be suicidal, and then asked to be demoted to AAA. Finally Huntington said "Yes, yes, just get out of here and stop being nuts!" Snell returned to AAA, where he spent most of the past two months blowing away kids three to seven years younger than him. When Huntington asked him if he wanted to come back, Snell told him he'd never return to Pittsburgh. Huntington sighed with exasperation, and traded his crazy ass.
Ronny Cedeno - shortstop, 26-years old, due $822,500 this year, free agent at the end of the season. Cedeno stinks. He is absolutely Cesar Izturis, except that-- unlike 2007, when we acquired the 27-year old Izturis from the Cubs-- we're not paying $4.1 million dollars for him (WHICH IS WHAT DAVE LITTLEFIELD ACTUALLY DID FOR 45 GAMES OF CESAR FUCKING IZTURIS OH MY GOD HE WAS SO BAD AT HIS JOB). I guess the other difference is that Cedeno will be a place holder at the shortstop position, whereas Izturis was just kind of a fifth infielder. Anyway, as I said, he stinks. His defense is nothing that we couldn't get from Wilson (I'd go so far as to say it's decidedly inferior to Jack's), and he swings the bat no better than the leather (.616 career OPS, .504 OPS this season). The idea is obviously to let him go after this year, or if he really wants to, let him pay us to play in our low-minors as a former utility prospect. Argenis Diaz, the SS we recently acquired from the Red Sox in the LaRoche deal, will then be in line to battle for the starting position next spring. Should he fail to perform at a major league level, we'll probably go out and find an Adam Everett type who'll sign for a lot less than Jack Wilson's would-be $8 million+.
Jeff Clement - catcher, 25-years old, due chump change. 3rd overall pick in 2005. .286/.374/.497 batting line in the minors. !!!
Nathan Adcock - pitcher, 21-years old, minor leaguer. Sort of a bum pitching in A ball, but he's young and you can never have too many young pitchers in the pipeline.
Brett Lorin - pitcher, age unknown, minor leaguer. Another guy in A ball, but this one strikes out 8.8 per 9 IP, with a 3.4 K/BB. !!!
Aaron Pribanic - pitcher, 23, minor leaguer. Yet another low minors pitcher (the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and High Desert Mavericks are completely out of arms thanks to this trade); 3.21 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 54 K, 26 BB, 87 IP this year.
Those are the facts. You do the math.
p.s. Thanks for all the good times, Jack.