Sanchez joins Wilson, Snell in Bucs’ purge

The Pittsburgh Pirates traded three-time All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez(notes) to the San Francisco Giants for top pitching prospect Tim Alderson on Wednesday, hours after shipping veteran shortstop Jack Wilson(notes) and underachieving starter Ian Snell(notes) to the Seattle Mariners for five players.

Sanchez, who only had to change clubhouses because the Pirates played at San Francisco, is batting.296 with six home runs and 34 RBIs. He has been sidelined for a few days because of a tender knee.

Alderson, 20, was the Giants’ first-round pick in 2008. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is 6-1 in Double-A this season and was ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the Giants’ system by Baseball America.

The Pirates are in full salary-dumping mode, having also recently traded first baseman Adam LaRoche(notes) to the Boston Red Sox and outfielder Nate McLouth(notes) to Atlanta.

In exchange for Wilson and Snell, the Pirates acquired first baseman/catcher Jeff Clement(notes), shortstop Ronny Cedeno(notes) and minor league right-handed pitchers Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock.

Wilson, the longest-tenured Pirate, is batting .269 in nine seasons, and is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. Wilson is making $7.25 million in the last year of a three-year contract that includes a club option for 2010 at $8.4 million with a $600,000 buyout.

Although it’s doubtful the Mariners would pick up the option, general manager Jack Zduriencik indicated he’d like to keep Wilson.

“This was an opportunity for us to acquire a veteran shortstop, a former All-Star player, with leadership qualities and above-average defensive skills,” Zduriencik said. “As we move forward over the next few years it is nice to know that we have solidified the shortstop position.”

Snell, 27, started the season 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA with the Pirates and complained about anxiety issues. He has made an abrupt turnaround at Triple-A Indianapolis, posting an 0.96 ERA in six starts.

“He’s a talented pitcher with major league experience who now has an opportunity restart his career after a very successful reassignment in Indianapolis,” Zduriencik said.

Cedeno had been the Mariners’ starting shortstop since Seattle traded Yunieskky Betancourt to the Kansas City Royals. But Cedeno is batting .167 and is hitless in his last 26 at-bats.

Other trade buzz:

• With Chien-Ming Wang(notes) needing shoulder surgery and lost for the season, the Yankees are making a strong push for Seattle left-hander Jarrod Washburn(notes), according to one rival executive. What the Yankees want, they usually get, which could be bad news for the Phillies, Brewers, Rangers and Twins, all of whom had scouts watching his sharp performance Tuesday night.

• Clubs looking for a bat are still waiting to see whether Zduriencik moves into full selling mode and offers Russell Branyan(notes), who would cost a buyer just over a half million for the season’s last two months. Second baseman Jose Lopez(notes) would also be attractive to teams looking for a middle infielder.

• Atlanta, with Tim Hudson(notes) showing encouraging progress on his rehab from shoulder surgery, isn’t expected to make much noise at the deadline, but have shown interest in Toronto reliever Jordan Frasor.

• The Astros, who have unexpectedly hung tough in the NL Central, are not expected to be trading deadline players. Their big move was the callup of their top pitching prospect, Bud Norris, from Triple-A Round Rock. Ace Roy Oswalt(notes) is out with a lower back strain and could be headed to the DL.


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Updated Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009