While this year's Mariners team has been a pleasant surprise, competing better than many expected, their shortstops have been a disaster. Yuniesky Betancourt got shipped out for swinging as indiscriminately as a drunk at a pinata bash. And while Ronny Cedeno is an okay defensive SS, he's terrible at the plate. So Jack Z shipped him, along with Jeff Clement and three minor-league pitchers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SS Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell. Wilson was once an All-Star, and even if on the decline at age 31, is a huge upgrade over the previous two.
SW's quick assessment: a decent deal by Trader Jack (unless the three minor leaguers are some sort of budding prodigies). Wilson will be a nice fill-in for the next year or two (he has an $8 million option for 2010, but the M's can buy it out for $600,000) and neither Cedeno nor, surprisingly, Clement (a first-round draft choice in 2005, who it turns out isn't such a great catcher) appeared to have much of a future in the organization. As for Snell, he's another mediocre pitcher to add to the mix.