B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest reports that Ian Snell has retired, after being sent to minor league camp by the St. Louis Cardinals. Snell was one of the pitchers competing for a spot as the fifth starter with the Cardinals.
Snell joined St. Louis this off-season as a minor league free agent, after being released by the Seattle Mariners. Snell originally had a $6.75 M club option heading in to the year, as part of an extension he signed when he was with the Pirates. The deal was signed three years ago tomorrow.
Snell was traded by the Pirates to the Seattle Mariners on July 30th, 2009, as part of the Jack Wilson trade. At the time he was pitching out of AAA, after putting up a 5.36 ERA in 80.2 innings in the majors, which followed a 2008 season where he had a 5.42 ERA in 164.1 innings. The Pirates sent money to cover the remainder of Snell’s 2009 salary, along with money for Wilson’s 2009 salary, to improve their return. That return was Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, Nathan Adcock, and Brett Lorin.
The trade hasn’t worked out for either side. Snell obviously didn’t work for Seattle, and Jack Wilson was also a disappointment with an injury filled season in 2010. Clement struggled with his hitting in the majors, and was moved off the 40-man roster this off-season. Cedeno was a below average shortstop last year, and might be the best return of any team in this trade so far, which says a lot about the deal. Adcock was lost through the Rule 5 draft, although the chances of him sticking all year are slim. Pribanic looks to have the most promise of all five players in the return, and will make the jump to Altoona this year. Lorin showed promise when the deal was made, but had an injury filled year in 2010, and hasn’t pitched above low-A. He should jump to Bradenton this year.
Snell has a history of being a head case, which is the main reason his career has derailed, despite having the talent to succeed. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does return, as this retirement decision seems like a heat of the moment decision. At the same time, the retirement decision might be best for Snell, as a comeback seems very unlikely for him.