Speculation over a trade involving catcher Jeff Clement was brewing Tuesday night when the Mariners’ one-time first-round draft pick was removed from a Triple-A game in the third inning for a pinch hitter.
The move was not injury-related, according to most sources, and does not appear to be leading to a promotion to the bigs (at least not with the M’s).
The third overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, Clement has struggled to find a role with the Mariners and has been stuck battling injury and ineffectiveness in the minor leagues.
As part of one of the strongest draft classes in history, Clement has been faced with great expectations since debuting with the organization four years ago.
Instead of seizing control of the catching duties and rising rapidly through the farm system, as was expected, Clement has stalled both defensively and offensively while relinquishing starts behind the dish to teammates.
In 2008, while with Triple-A Tacoma, Clement platooned at catcher with Rob Johnson, who has since taken over the same role with the Mariners.
This season, the Rainiers’ starting backstop has almost exclusively been prospect Adam Moore. Clement, meanwhile, has seen more playing time at designated hitter and first base while trying to carve his niche with the franchise.
Though it is not immediately clear who Clement could be dealt for, it has become increasingly apparent that the left-handed slugger had fallen out of favor with the front office. His “prospect” status was dwindling rapidly, and at nearly 26 years of age, he was becoming too old in baseball terms to have the high ceiling we once envisioned.
More details on this story as they become available.