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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Who wins M's-Bucs trade?

Dave Cameron has a snap analysis of the deal that nets the Mariners Jack Wilson and Ian Snell and sends a utility infielder and four minor leaguers -- including three Class A pitchers -- to the Pirates. Money quote from Cameron: Right now the Mariners' general manager, Jack Zduriencik, benefits from something of a halo effect, which he has earned by doing a lot of smart things since taking over. Thus, it's not easy to evaluate this deal with great objectivity. I will try, though.

As I wrote last week, Wilson is actually a pretty valuable player, due almost solely to his defense. This deal suggests that Zduriencik believes the Mariners have a legitimate shot at winning the American League West next season -- the last on Wilson's current contract. Otherwise the deal makes no sense at all.

Of course, it's also possible that, as Cameron suggests, Wilson is going to be flipped in another trade to one of the many contenders looking for a viable shortstop.

There's another thing, too. Yes, Snell makes a lot of money for a guy who's been exiled to the International League. But in terms of pure performance over the next few years -- which I mention because the club has options on him through 2012 -- doesn't Snell figure to be a lot more valuable than three pitchers who have yet to escape Class A? Who Cameron doesn't even class as "good" prospects?

Time will tell. But halo effect or no halo effect, I can't agree that the Pirates are the easy winners here.

Update: According to Dejan Kovacevic (sorry, no link yet), the Pirates are paying most of Wilson's and Snell's salaries for the rest of this season. This one's already looking better for the Mariners.