Pirates Notebook: Cedeno could make Wilson/Snell deal a steal

It’s been less than two weeks, which is hardly a good enough sample size to evaluate a trade, but the Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal is looking great right now. The main reason is probably due to the guy no one expected big things from: Ronny Cedeno.

I was against trading Jack Wilson this season, mostly because the Pirates didn’t have an immediate replacement option for him at short, at least not one who could provide the same defense as Wilson. Even after acquiring a top defensive prospect in Argenis Diaz, the Pirates still didn’t have anyone who could immediately step in for Wilson.

The other problem was that Wilson was viewed as an overpaid defensive shortstop by most accounts, which led to the belief that he wouldn’t fetch much in return. Throw in Ian Snell, who was pitching horrible in the majors, asked for a demotion to AAA, then was lights out, and you’ve got two guys who seemingly had no trade value.

In return, the Pirates got Jeff Clement, pitching prospects Nathan Adcock, Aaron Pribanic, and Brett Lorin, and Cedeno. The initial return looked great, considering the low expectations that were going around about the trade values of Wilson and Snell. The deal is looking even better with the performance of the above players so far.

Clement has been great so far with Indianapolis, batting for a .283/.377/.696 line with six homers in 46 at-bats.

Adcock has pitched two games, getting the win in both appearances, with a 2.25 ERA, and a 6:1 K/BB ratio in eight innings of work.

Pribanic has also made two starts, with a 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a 3:1 K/BB ratio in nine innings of work.

Lorin has made two starts, with a 1.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a 7:1 K/BB ratio in 12 innings pitched.

Clement could be starting at first base next year in Pittsburgh, bringing some much needed power to the lineup. Adcock, Pribanic, and Lorin all seem to have solid control, giving the Pirates some much needed pitching depth in the lower levels.

The real kicker is Ronny Cedeno. As I said before, it’s only been less than two weeks, but Cedeno looks great. He’s hitting for a .304 average in his first 46 at-bats. I don’t really expect him to hit for a .304 average the rest of the way, especially not after hitting .167 in 186 at-bats in Seattle. However, Cedeno did hit .252 with the Cubs in 904 at-bats before joining Seattle. Maybe he’s another Edgar Renteria type player, who hits better in the NL versus the AL (Renteria has a .273 average in the AL, and .290 in the NL).

The best part about Cedeno is his defense. While he was with Seattle, Cedeno posted a 1.1 UZR, which would be good enough for 12th amongst all qualified major league shortstops. Since coming to the Pirates, Cedeno has been fantastic. He currently has a 3.3 UZR in just ten games played. That’s a 38.2 UZR per 150 games, which more than doubles Wilson’s 17.3 UZR/150 pace while he was here.

Once again, it’s only been ten days, so it would be very optimistic to not only consider Cedeno a legit .300 hitter, but the best defensive shortstop in the game statistically. That said, he’s been hitting in almost every game, and anyone who has seen him in action on the field can see that his defense is legit, powered by some solid range and a great arm.

There’s a very good chance that Cedeno could be a younger version of Jack Wilson. Considering that Cedeno is under team control for three more years beyond the 2009 season, and those three years will probably combine to cost the same as Wilson’s 2010 option, the swap goes in the Pirates’ favor if Cedeno does match Wilson. As for the other part of the deal? I’d take Clement, Adcock, Pribanic, and Lorin for Ian Snell anyday.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through the 8/11 win. Here are the big impacts for tonight’s loss:

1. Kevin Hart: -.166 WPA
2. Ronny Cedeno: -.126
3. Ryan Doumit: -.081
4. Lastings Milledge: -.068
5. Andrew McCutchen: -.066

Other Stuff

-The Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch for 8/12 is up.

-The Pirates have signed 10th round pick Joseph Schoenfeld for $195 K. The Draft Pick Signing Tracker is updated with the signing and the bonus figure.

-The Pirates placed Evan Meek on the 15-day DL today and recalled Steven Jackson. Meek will miss at least a month.

-The Pirates claimed Jonathan Meloan off of waivers from the Rays. Maybe the next Evan Meek?

-The Pirates signed Jarryd Sullivan, a pitcher from Australia.

-Check out The Adventures of ‘Lil Neal Huntington by Matt at Raise the Jolly Roger. Funny stuff.

-24-7 Pirates has video of Tim Alderson in his first start with Altoona.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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