In an attempt to resolve their continued struggles at first base, the Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled Jeff Clement from the Indianapolis Indians. Clement, 29, last featured in the major leagues in 2010, where he hit a miserable .201/.237/.368 in 154 plate appearances, which is rather in keeping with his equally miserable career batting line of .223/.281/.383 in 397.
The third overall pick in the 2005 draft*, Clement's development has obviously not gone to plan. The Seattle Mariners selected a catcher with a potentially elite bat, and instead ended up with a mediocre hitter with bad knees, whom they eventually traded to the Pirates along with Ronny Cedeno and a host of minor league pitchers for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson. But although Clement is no longer anybody's idea of a valuable piece, he still might be able to help the Pirates, who are currently a single game behind St. Louis in the hunt for the National League's second wild-card spot.
*An aside -- that draft was absolutely loaded. Check out the first seven picks: Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Jeff Clement, Ryan Zimmerman, Ricky Romero and Troy Tulowitzki. Also making an appearance in that first round is one Andrew McCutchen.
As a team, the Pirates are getting a .251/.302/.416 batting line out of first base, and that's simply not good enough. Clement's been running a AAA OPS of .825 this year, and even if he's no more than a replacement-level first baseman in the majors, that's still something of an upgrade for Pittsburgh as they try to stay in the playoff hunt. Going the other way to Triple-A in the transaction is utility infielder Yamaico Navarro.