If you remember correctly, Clement broke camp as the Pirates’ starting first baseman in 2010 after he was acquired from Seattle in 2009 in the trade that sent Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to the Mariners. He didn’t fare too well hitting just .201/.237/.368. He struck out in 24% of his plate appearances and walked in just 3.9% of them.
There was one thing that was apparent, though, Clement had some power. He homered once every 20.6 at-bats. Clement was 26 years old in 2010 and essentially had a wasted year last season when he missed almost the entire season with injuries, and when he did get healthy, he didn’t play very well down in the minors.
So it’s now 2012 and Jeff Clement is 28 years old in AAA. The thing is, though, he’s absolutely mashing the ball, and if you’ve watched your fair share of Pirates games, you understand that players who can hit the ball are players this team needs.
Over 47 games for AAA-Indianapolis, Clement is hitting .321/.403/.562 with seven home runs and 16 doubles over 162 at-bats. Meanwhile, Casey McGehee is in Pittsburgh hitting .196/.289/.286 with one home run.
One would have to think that Clement coming up and performing at his 2010 levels are worst-case scenario. Well guess what? That’s better than what McGehee is giving you right now. If Clement learned to control the strike zone better, as his AAA numbers have shown, then he becomes a pretty obvious upgrade.
I don’t know if the Pirates are willing to give up already on McGehee, but if you look at his performance last season and couple that with this year, he is hitting .219/.282/.336 over his last 728 plate appearances. That looks like someone who cutting ties with wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea.
If the Pirates choose to not cut ties with McGehee, then option Jordy Mercer back to AAA, since apparently Hurdle has decided to stick with Barmes at SS. Mercer hasn’t even played since June 1st and letting him just sit on your bench not getting any at-bats isn’t doing any good.
I am now at the point, though, that it does not matter how Clement gets to Pittsburgh. He should be up here and he should be given another chance. It isn’t going to hurt at this point, but it sure could help.