Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So Long, Travis Snider


By
Image courtesy of PostCity.com
I remember the day as if it was almost yesterday. The Blue Jays were just coming off a loss at home to the Boston Red Sox, but looking for the silver lining in the loss, I chose to focus on Travis Snider's tremendous 3-run home run.



In searching for an image to put at the top of the post, I stumbled across this article from 2009 in which Travis Snider reviewed some of the best nachos in the city of Toronto. The Ack tweeted me the choice line from the article "Meats Don't Clash", and the rest is history.

At that very moment, Travis Snider immortalized himself into Blue Jays folklore by declaring his love for meat. And subsequently, the fans (yours truly included) declared their love for Travis Snider.

For a brief moment there a few weeks ago when he was pulled from a game in Las Vegas, there were rumblings that he may have been dealt. And then when it was announced that he was merely being called up, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I think we can all agree Snider’s call-up this season had been a long time coming. And then it turns out the move to call up Travis Snider was just one to get him some big league at bats before sending him to Pittsburgh.

Ever since his big league debut at Yankee Stadium in August of 2008, Blue Jays fans have been emotionally invested in Travis Snider's journey with the Blue Jays. I think this is why this trade hurts as much as it does; because Snider’s development has been four years in the making.

Since 2008, the Blue Jays have seen their fair share of left fielders; Adam Lind, Fred Lewis, DeWayne Wise, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, Eric Thames, Rajai Davis, and Travis Snider just to name a few.

Out of all those names, Snider seemed like the long-term solution in left field. And yet the position has remained a revolving door for the club for the past four seasons when the solution may have been right under their nose the entire time.

There’s no question that the Blue Jays mismanaged Travis Snider. Even Alex Anthopoulos has admitted that they rushed him to the majors. In retrospect, it really didn’t make much sense to bring up a 20-year old Snider who ripped through Single A, Double A and Triple A in the matter of five months.

While J.P. Ricciardi was at the helm when those decisions were made, Alex made some mistakes with Travis Snider as well. These past few seasons were especially frustrating to watch as the team tried to retool Snider’s swing and shipped him back and forth from Las Vegas and Toronto.

If Travis Snider were on any other team, he is the exact type of player that Alex Anthopoulos would be gunning for; lots of upside, cost-controlled, and out of favour with his current club. Which is kind of surprising as to why AA would choose now of all times to deal Travis away, while his value is not remarkably high.

The truth is the Blue Jays had five outfielders and only three spots to fill. And after Anthony Gose, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista, Travis Snider simply didn't make the cut. Toronto just didn't have room for him if they wanted Anthony Gose in the starting lineup every day.

I think the biggest thing this move says about the Blue Jays is they are committed to give Anthony Gose the everyday job in left field. And in a way, it feels like the Blue Jays are doing the same thing here with Gose as they did with Snider in 2008.

Toronto is essentially giving Anthony Gose the reins in left field, while he has very little big league experience under his belt. The problem is if Gose falls flat on his face, then what happens? Is it Travis Snider 2.0 all over again?

Alex Anthopoulos and the organization must have a great deal of confidence in Anthony Gose, otherwise history could very well repeat itself.

This trade to the Pittsburgh Pirates is the final chapter in Travis Snider's story with the Toronto Blue Jays. And while I'm sad to see him go, I'm glad to see Travis will at least get a shot at a full-time gig with another organization.

Travis now gets to start with a clean slate in Pittsburgh, and doesn’t have to play with the pressure of being a highly-touted Blue Jays first round pick over his head. If anything, it least it gives me a good excuse to visit PNC Park in the near future.

So long, Travis … may your meats never clash.

7 comments:

  1. Personally I thought Travis was finally starting to show some stride, hate to see him go.
    I understand one of the OFs had to go, but Snider AND Thames? Would have preferred to keep on of those guys and Snider would have been my choice to keep.

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    1. Same here - I think the Blue Jays were playing with found money in Eric Thames, so they're not really hard up for dealing him to Seattle. Who would've guessed of Snider/Thames/Davis that Rajai would be the last man standing?

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  2. I too am worried that they are doing the same thing with Gose, as they did with Snider. All we can do is hope that they know what they are doing.

    As for the trade, it seems underwhelming to just get a reliever back for him; I suppose his value is low right now though.
    Maybe this trade will allow him to have a 'Rasmus' like moment when he gets to Pittsburgh. I would love to see him thrive in a new environment without all of the history he has here.
    I think (hope) Snider has some big years coming up with his bat, can't wait to see how his career unfolds with his new team.

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    1. It may not happen till 2014, but it looks more and more like they'll pick up Rajai's option for 2013. But unless Gose is going to get the lion's share of time in left field, I don't see a point of keeping him on the big league roster for now.

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    2. I kind of see them platooning Gose and Davis (or rather I'd like to see them platooning Gose and Davis) once Bautista gets back. Put Gose in RF and Jose in LF... top 5 outfield defense easy.

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    3. I can't imagine they'd want to shift Bautista to LF after he's been playing right all season. That being said, they might just want to take it easy with Jose to start off and DH him for a while. That would then give Gose/Davis the chance to play the corner outfield spots.

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  3. Alex A is a moron when it comes to young players. He rushed Snider, he rushed Gose, he rushed Hutchison and got him injured - Alex A is a fool. He is a corporate yes man, just worried about the bottom line, controlling players and picking up scraps.

    Fire him now. This team is just a corporate toy for Rogers.

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