Ian Snell Rumors

Why The Mariners Don’t Need A Lefty Reliever

Believe it or not, the Mariners have not used a left-handed reliever all season long. Conventional wisdom would have us believe that every bullpen needs a lefty or two to retire opponents' best left-handed bats in close games. But Mariners pitching coach John Wetteland is willing to challenge conventional wisdom.

"You don't need to have a lefty in the 'pen just because it's obvious that lefties do well against lefty hitters," Wetteland told MLB.com's Doug Miller last week.

Wetteland knows that as well as anyone. The righty allowed a .223/.292/.346 career line against lefty batters – not far from the line Wetteland allowed against righties. But not every reliever is as well-equipped to shut batters on both sides of the plate down.

To find out if Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik needs to add a left-handed reliever, let's see how the bullpen has done against lefties. Five weeks of data isn't much, so let's take a look at the numbers Mariners relievers have posted against lefties in their respective careers.

  • Shawn Kelley – He has done much better against lefties in his career, limiting them to a .219/.268/.314 line.
  • Sean White – His .219/.312/.322 line against lefties is quite good. However, left-handed batters are hitting just .225 on balls in play and homering on 4.5% of their fly balls against White. Both of those figures can be expected to rise and when they do, White's slash line will likely rise, too.
  • David Aardsma – His .248/.363/.331 line is actually better than his line against righties.
  • Kanekoa Texeira – Though Texeira has faced lefties just 26 times in the majors, his .208/.269/.292 line looks promising. Texeira struck out 106 batters in as many innings against lefties in his minor league career.
  • Brandon League – His .284/.343/.453 line against lefties does not inspire much confidence, but League has allowed homers on 18.4% of fly balls against him and allowed a batting average of .321 on balls in play, which suggests he has been unlucky against lefties in his career.
  • Mark Lowe – He has an ugly .298/.382/.514 line against lefties in his career. As Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner noted earlier in the month, Lowe is "something of a glorified right-handed specialist." Lowe is now on the DL with an inflamed disc in his lower back.
  • Jesus Colome – Lefties have hit .275/.382/.449 against Colome, so the Mariners should minimize his exposure to lefties.
  • Ian Snell – Snell has allowed lefties to post a .294/.386/.484 line against him in his career. He should face righties whenever possible.

It turns out that Don Wakamatsu has more than enough weapons to retire opposing left-handers, especially now that Kelley's back on the team. But the Mariners have to use their 'pen carefully. Aardsma, Texeira and Kelley can succeed against lefty batters, but Colome, Snell and eventually Lowe should not face lefties in close games. The Mariners have their share of issues these days and their bullpen could be better, but Zduriencik can ignore conventional wisdom and proceed without acquiring a lefty.

Pirates And Mariners Make Seven Player Deal

1:24pm: Kovacevic reports that the Pirates will pay nearly all of the money owed to Wilson and Snell this year. The Mariners will pay each player $400k. Kovacevic breaks out the calculator and finds that the Pirates will send a total of $3,308,702.19 to Seattle along with Snell and Wilson.

12:28pm: Kovacevic hears that the Pirates are contributing a "significant amount" of cash in the deal. 

12:16pm: ESPN's Buster Olney believes the Mariners might be inclined to exercise Wilson's 2010 option, which wasn't likely for the Pirates.  Jack Zduriencik's comments support this:  "As we move forward over the next few years it is nice to know that we have solidified the shortstop position."

11:58am: Kovacevic says Cedeno's the only player who will report to the Pirates. Clement will head to Triple A, the others to A ball. 

MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo calls it a "pretty good haul" for the Pirates and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus says it's the best deal the Pirates have made yet. 

11:45am: Kovacevic says the Mariners acquire Wilson and Ian Snell for Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock.

11:41am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Mariners acquire Jack Wilson in the deal.

11:40am: Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears that the Pirates are getting Jeff Clement from the Mariners along with other minor leaguers.

WEDNESDAY, 10:14am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Indians and Rays say they're not involved in talks for Clement, who was told last night that he's about to be dealt.

TUESDAY, 11:36pm: DH/catcher Jeff Clement was pulled from the Tacoma Rainiers' lineup in the third inning tonight, according to Ryan Divish of The News Tribune.  His analysis:

I have it on pretty reliable source that it is not injury related.  Clement has been rumored to be part of possible trades already this season and maybe he is part of a package deal.  Or perhaps, he is being called up in place of another player for the Mariners, who might be getting dealt.

Meanwhile trade target Jarrod Washburn just wrapped up what could be his last start with the Mariners.  He tossed seven strong innings to lower his ERA to a sparkling 2.64 in front of scouts from the Yankees, Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers.  Washburn, a Boras client and impending free agent, sure knows how to time his best seasons.

Angels Rumors: Aybar, Harang, Bell

Mike DiGiovanna at the L.A. Times talked to Angels GM Tony Reagins, who said "There are various scenarios we're working on." DiGiovanna says they're still very much in the mix for Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, but summarizes a bit of news and lists intriguing potential targets should talks for the aces fail:

  • The Blue Jays reportedly asked for Erick Aybar, Jered Weaver or Joe Saunders, Brandon Wood, and one of either Trevor Reckling or Peter Bourjos.
  • The Angels might not have the top-flight pitching prospects the Indians desire in return for Lee.
  • The second tier of their pursuits for a starter could include Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Washburn, Jon Garland, or Ian Snell. Chances for this kind of deal are slim, DiGiovanna notes.
  • Among relief help being sought by the Angels: Brandon League, Scott Downs, George Sherrill and Chad Qualls. The Halos' offers for Michael Wuertz and Heath Bell have apparently been turned down.

Odds And Ends: Lobaton, Arroyo, Glaus, Snell

Even more links for the afternoon

Pirates Rumors: Grabow, Capps, Sanchez

The Pirates have many attractive trade chips remaining, even after two months of aggressive tradingDejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest on all the team's trade candidates:

  • The Pirates are discussing Matt Capps and John Grabow with other clubs.
  • Grabow, who's more likely to be moved, has drawn steady interest from other teams. 
  • The Pirates are in regular contact with the Cubs. 
  • Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson are available and the Pirates are listening to offers. The Twins and Red Sox scouted the Pirates-D'Backs contest yesterday. 
  • The Tigers are interested in Triple A catcher Robinzon Diaz. 
  • Triple A starters Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny are drawing interest. The Yankees have scouted Snell's last two starts.  

Odds And Ends: Pena, Snell, Richard

Some links to read on the day Alex Rodriguez turns 34…

Yankees Scouting Ian Snell

According to Jenifer Langosch at MLB.com, the Yankees have scouts in attendance to watch Ian Snell throw today at Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Yankees are known to be looking for a replacement for Chien-Ming Wang, and Snell has absolutely dominated since asking to be demoted to Indianapolis to straighten himself out. Snell has allowed just two earned runs through 32.1 innings, while striking out 43 and walking just 12.

Despite Snell's big league struggles and $4.25MM guaranteed salary next season, general manager Neal Huntington says he won't sell low on the right-hander:

"Teams are still hoping to bottom fish and we're still not ready to just give the guy away," Huntington said. "At this point, his four or five strong outings haven't increased his value [externally]. We're not talented enough and deep enough as an organization to just give away a player that has Major League ability, as challenging as it can be sometimes."

Gammons’ Latest: Duke, Halladay, Reds, Rays

ESPN's Peter Gammons has a new blog post up, writing about how teams are reluctant to part with their top young players, even if they are overvaluing them. He also mixes in a little rumory goodness, so let's take a peek…

  • The Pirates have indicated that it'll take "a gaggle of prospects" to move Zach Duke.
  • When inquiring about Roy Halladay, the Yankees were told the price was Phil Hughes plus prospects Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero.
  • One GM says "Cincinnati wants to move a few contracts, like either Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang, but we're not interested in giving players or taking on their money. Harang hasn't been the same guy since last May." Harang has a 4.99 ERA since a 63-pitch relief appearance on May 25th of last season.
  • Another GM said "We've looked at Doug Davis, Jon Garland, Kevin Correia, Ian Snell and the long list of available starting pitchers and do not see anyone we would give A- or B-list prospects to get."
  • Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers are at an advantage because they can afford to restock their farm systems quickly by spending big in the draft or on the international market.
  • The Rays are likely "to see what they can get" for Carl Crawford after the season, and will hold onto prospects they consider keepers.

Pirates Talk Extensions With Sanchez & Wilson

It looked like the Pirates might trade Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson away this month, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the team wants to keep its double play combination together for years. The Pirates approached Sanchez and Wilson, who are close friends, about extending their current deals.

It appears unlikely that one of the two would sign an extension without the other. The timeline for the deals is short, since the Pirates will need time to shop the pair if they don't extend them.

Both players sound excited about deals that would keep them in Pittsburgh for years. Wilson's current contract guarantees him $7.4MM this season, and the Pirates have the option of paying him more next year or buying him out for $600k. Wilson, 31, said he's open to taking a paycut.

Sanchez will likely see his $8MM option vest next year, but he's open to restructuring it.

GM Neal Huntington says he's not looking to trade all his players, but is "more open" to dealing impending free agents. He doesn't mention John Grabow and Adam LaRoche by name, but both are set to become free agents after the season. The Pirates are discussing Ian Snell with other teams.

Trade Candidates: Starting Pitchers

Roy Halladay's availability changes everything, because teams in search of an ace can target him instead of settling for lesser pitchers. But many arms could be moved in the next 17 days and some could even be traded in August. These pitchers, who could all conceivably be dealt, are ranked from highest 2009 salary to lowest:

  • Roy Halladay, Blue Jays – At $14.25MM he's pricey, but he's one of the top pitchers in the game, capable of transforming a team's playoff chances like C.C. Sabathia did last year.
  • Javier Vazquez, Braves – The rumors surrounding Vazquez have quieted lately, but he could be moved. He makes $11.5MM this year and next and can't be traded to any Western division team.  
  • Gil Meche, Royals – Meche makes $11MM this year and has $24MM remaining on his deal afterwards.
  • Doug Davis, D'Backs – The D'Backs aren't impressed with the players the Brewers are willing to offer for their pitcher, who makes $8.75MM this year. Davis has been productive all season.
  • Jon Garland, D'Backs – Another solid but unspectacular arm, Garland makes $6.25MM this year. No team acquiring him should count on receiving picks if he leaves as a free agent, because Garland has a clause in his contract that prevents teams from offering him arbitration if he has Type A stauts.
  • Cliff Lee, Indians – He makes just $5.75MM this year and the Indians have an affordable $8MM option for 2010, so they'd have to see an awesome offer to part with Lee, who's following up his Cy Young season with another solid year.
  • Brad Penny, Red Sox – Now that they've called on Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox once again have a surplus of big league pitchers. At $5MM plus incentives, Penny's affordable this year. 
  • Ian Snell, Pirates – He's pitching well in Triple A, where he struck out 17 in one game. The Pirates have tried to move Snell and his $3MM salary.
  • Paul Mahom, Pirates – The Pirates have been willing to sell and Maholm's been effective this year. He makes $2MM, and has at least $11MM remaining on his deal after the year.
  • Brian Bannister, Royals – At just $1.7MM, he's one of the cheaper starters out there.  
  • Carl Pavano, Indians – The Indians aren't contenders and Pavano has pitched better this season than he did in four years with the Yankees. He makes a base salary of just $1.5MM, but that could rise as high as $6.8MM because of incentives.
  • Jonathan Sanchez, Giants – He makes less than $500k and, as we found out this weekend, he has the potential to be dominant.  

Let's not forget about some free agent pitchers like Ben Sheets (may be injured), Pedro Martinez (about to sign), Odalis Perez and Paul Byrd.

None of the following pitchers are available now, but they could be if their teams fall from contention: Bronson Arroyo, Doug Brocail, Jason Marquis, Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn.