What in the Snell?: Pittsburgh Pitcher Creeps Onto N.Y. Yankees’ Trade Radar

July 27, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Guess what? The Yankees are yet again mentioned in another possible rumor for a starting pitcher.

This time, it’s Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Ian Snell.

Because the Pirates aren’t a premium team and gets virtually no attention, nobody knows a lot about Snell.

Snell is currently 27-years-old and has pitched his entire career with Pittsburgh since being called up back in 2004.

His best season was 2006, when he was 14-11 with a 4.74 ERA in 186 innings and had 169 strikeouts. On a lousy Pirates team, that’s a good year for a pitcher.

In 2007, he was 9-12 with a 3.76 ERA in 208 innings with 177 strikeouts. In 2008, he was 7-12 with a 5.41 in 164.1 innings with 135 strikeouts. So his 2007 and 2008 numbers weren’t as great.

After all, he is stuck in Pittsburgh.

So far in 2009, he’s 2-8 with a 5.36 ERA in 80.2 innings with 52 strikeouts. Those numbers aren’t going to blow you away and make you go crazy over him. But Snell and Pittsburgh aren’t exactly crazy about each other these days.

A month ago, Snell asked to be demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, a move not exactly made by every major league player. He has gone to Indianapolis and virtually been unbeatable; allowing only two runs in 32.1 innings with 43 strikeouts in five starts.

Snell is pitching well in the minors and has expressed no interest in coming back up to Pittsburgh, so Snell has all but auditioned for the other 29 teams to make a deal for his services.

On one hand, I don’t like a player demoting himself to get out of playing for a team just because they are lousy. I know Pittsburgh is a tough place to play, but Jason Bay and Nate McLouth made the best of their situations before each got traded.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh has made no attempt to get any better. They haven’t been a playoff team since 1992 and have sold off every good player that has come through their system.

This season has been no exception, as they have traded McLouth to the Braves, Eric Hinske to the Yankees and Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox. In 2008, they traded Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees and Bay to the Red Sox. Rumors have been circling about Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson being on the move.

As a Pittsburgh fan, how can you expect to cheer for this team when all their best players get moved. So as an actual player, you can understand Snell’s frustration, but if you want out, there is a way to go about it.

Sources say the Yankees sent scouts to Indianapolis to see Snell’s latest stint on Sunday, a loss to Triple-A Cleveland (Mets).

Snell’s line: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K

Not overly impressive, but his ERA in the minors has been 0.96, which will grab the attention of scouts.

The Yankees and Pirates have had recent history trading with each other as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Pirates general manager Neal Huntington know each other very well. If the Yankees were interested, it would be easy for Cashman to get a hold of Huntington.

The only thing to note is, Huntington said he wouldn’t give away Snell for free, despite Snell’s reluctance to play for Pittsburgh. However, Pittsburgh does not want to pay Snell’s $4.25 million he’s owed for 2010, so they may find a way to move him within the next four days.

Whether or not this is the best option for the Yankees to pursue to replace Chien-Ming Wang is debatable. Wang is going down to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews to find out if he will need shoulder surgery. If Wang does, he will be out of commission for quite a while.

Sergio Mitre wasn’t lights out in either one of his two starts for the Yankees and if the Yankees need another starter in important games, Mitre’s performances won’t exactly be beating teams like the Red Sox, Rays, and Angels. He’s slated to pitch Friday against the White Sox, but who knows if he keeps the spot by the end of the week.

You can throw Snell into the many names of pitchers the Yankees are rumored to be interested in.

Whether they actually pursue this option is another question.

Stay tuned.

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