According to Jennifer Langosch, the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to call up infielders Argenis Diaz and Jeff Clement from AAA. This is very interesting, as it indicates a potentially big trade in the works. Langosch mentions that the move could be related to the Chris Snyder trade, as the Pirates will be acquiring Snyder once MLB approves how much money Arizona is sending to Pittsburgh in the deal.
Snyder will take one roster spot, although that spot will come from either Jason Jaramillo or Erik Kratz. That means that the call-up of Clement and Diaz will still require two open roster spots. We don’t know who is going to Arizona for Snyder, but it’s unlikely that the Pirates would be sending two position players in the deal. The positions that Diaz and Clement cover are also significant here.
Diaz is a shortstop, which makes the roster crowded with Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby. Crosby is only under control through the end of the season, while Cedeno will be arbitration eligible one more time in 2011, before being eligible for free agency in 2012. Diaz is more of a backup shortstop at this point, as his only tool is defense. This could mean that Bobby Crosby is gone.
Clement is a different situation. There’s not much room for two first basemen on the team, and Garrett Jones has the position locked down right now, especially with Lastings Milledge playing so well in right field. Calling up Clement could mean a Garrett Jones trade. That actually makes the most sense, considering what has happened recently. UPDATE: Jennifer Langosch tweets that Jones is not being dealt, according to a source. Now the decision to call up Clement is back to confusing.
With Chris Snyder being added to the team, the Pirates have two somewhat expensive catchers going in to next season, with Snyder clearly providing the better defense. Ryan Doumit has the bat, but the Pirates would be better served using that bat elsewhere on the field, particularly where Doumit isn’t a defensive liability. First base would be a prime place for Doumit to play when he returns, which means that the Pirates could manage to “sell high” on Jones. In this scenario, Clement would hold down the position until Doumit is ready to return and take over the role, which makes sense.
Of course this is all speculation, based on the positions and some of the trade rumors we’ve heard. It could just be that the Pirates are planning on releasing Crosby and Ryan Church today, and are calling up Diaz and Clement to replace those two on the 25-man roster. This would clear up space on the 40-man roster, potentially for another deal that would bring in multiple players on the 40-man roster (a Paul Maholm trade, perhaps?). That still doesn’t explain why Clement is up, and why the Pirates would carry two first basemen.
Plenty of possibilities here. This should be a very interesting day leading up to the trade deadline.
UPDATE: The Pirates are sending Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby to Arizona in the Snyder deal, according to Arizona Diamondbacks beat writer Jack Magruder. So calling up Clement and Diaz seems pretty low key, considering they’re just replacing Church and Crosby. That does leave three questions:
1. Why didn’t Brandon Moss get the call? He’s been playing much better than Clement at AAA, and there will be one open spot on the 40-man roster now (with Snyder taking the other spot opened up by Church/Crosby leaving).
2. Why have two first basemen? Maybe they’ll be playing Jones in the outfield some days, but out of Jones, Milledge, and Clement, I want Jones and Milledge getting a ton of playing time, with Clement rarely playing at all.
3. What happens to that final 40-man roster spot? Perhaps another trade today (and it would have to involve multiple prospects on the 40-man, since whoever would be traded would also clear a spot)?
As for the Snyder deal, it’s looking like a great move. The Pirates didn’t give up much to get Snyder, as there is no loss with Church and Crosby leaving. The two players were owed $887,978 for the remainder of the season. Snyder is owed $1,687,159 for the remainder of the season. The salaries for Church and Crosby help take that number down to $799,181 for the remainder of the season, and Arizona is still sending cash in the deal.