It's been a tough year for the Indianapolis sports fan. Tony Dungy retired. Marvin Harrison walked away. And now Ian Snell(notes), the right-handed ace of the Indianapolis Indians, is on a one-way ticket out of town.
Snell's been dazzling since his requested demotion to Triple-A (0.96 ERA, 47 K in 37.1 IP) and it's earned him a fresh start with a new team and league. Snell and Jack Wilson(notes) were shipped to Seattle on Wednesday; the Bartering Buccos get shortstop Ronny Cedeno(notes), catching prospect Jeff Clement(notes) and three minor-league pitchers.Seattle also gets about $3.3 million in cash.
Crank up the Fantasy Spin machine, time to examine what it all means.
• The key thing to remember with Snell is that he was a fantasy train wreck during his Pittsburgh starts over the last year and a half (this season he's 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA and 1.62 WHIP; forget the secondary stats, they're not going to bail him out). The American League context packs a bigger wallop, of course, and the park switch from PNC to Safeco is basically a wash. Maybe Snell's regained his confidence, mojo and curveball in the minors, but he'll need to show me something before I put my fantasy interests on the line with him. (Early word has Snell staying in the minors for now, but those plans could change quickly if the M's trade Jarrod Washburn(notes), as expected, before Friday's deadline.)
• Wilson might be a short-term rental for the Mariners, though Seattle says it's interested in getting him signed past 2009 (it's doubtful they'll vest the team option). Cedeno hasn't hit a lick since he took over for Yuniesky Betancourt(notes), and Wilson's a plus defender. If you need a space-filler for your AL-only middle infield, you should throw a few FAAB bucks at Wilson. Mixed leaguers, it's business as usual – aim higher.
• Clement didn't hit much in his brief trials with the Mariners but it's not fair to judge anyone on a 75-game sample; it's a good time for him to get a change of scenery, on the eve of his 26th birthday. He's having a strong year at Triple-A (.292/.370/.512, 14 homers) and you have to figure he'll get a Pittsburgh audition at some point this summer (he's Indy bound for now), but where will he play? Ryan Doumit(notes) isn't going anywhere, of course, and the Bucs already have a collection of first-base types (not that Steve Pearce(notes) or even CT favorite Garrett Jones(notes) have carved out anything permanent).
• The three minor league arms headed to the Pirates (Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock) are all in Single-A and obviously long-term projects. If you want to gander at their minor-league stats, follow the player links. If I can get a peek at the Romig/Buser scouting file on any of these Pittsburgh-bound arms, I'll pass it along.
• One more note before we leave Steel City – the Bucs are still exploring a Freddy Sanchez swap with the Giants, but Sanchez's balky knee might be standing in the way of a deal. Stay tuned.