Friday, August 27, 2010

Skills Travis Snider is developing by riding the pine

It's a little bit funny that a week or two ago, we were actually defending The Manager's decision to sit Travis Snider here or there as he tried to get at bats for all of his LF/DH types.

"Patience, my brothers! Cast away your thoughts of the future, and savour this moment! Leave tomorrow for tomorrow! The Stocky-Yet-Swift Pasty White Rosy-Cheeked Hope shall have his time! A day off won't kill him!"

In the moment, those sorts of thoughts seemed to make sense to us. To our way of thinking, a day off here or there wasn't going to impede his development that much. But for much of the last week, we've watched Snider cool his heels on the bench, waiting for his chance to go out and get his reps and at bats to help him learn and develop.

(Remember how well part-time employment worked for José Bautista through his development years with the Pirates? Probably not.)

Mind you, we're not a two-time World Series Champion Manager and we never had the opportunity to put the lineup card in the Gestetner machine and run off carbon copies night after night in that era, so we're probably no match for The Manager's baseball acumen. But if we tilt our head in just the right way, we can start to think like him, and see what value this time on the bench might offer to the franchise's single most important young player. Here's what we came up with in terms of mad skills that Travis is developing while sitting:

1. Rocking a hoodie: Shaun Marcum is obviously a leader on this team, and his intense hoodie-wearing must be some sort of key to the rotation's success. If Snider can apply himself, he might be able to spur the offense by chewing intensely on his hood's drawstrings.

2. High-fives: An important part of becoming a part of the team. If you see a guy who just got jammed on the first pitch and squibbed a weak grounder to second, but advanced the runner by one base, you'd best know how to get up to the top step and give a sincere fist bump to your returning hero.

3. Sunflower seed spitting: What happens if you're in the outfield, and you get a shell caught in your throat? You think you're gonna know how to hack up that carapace based on instinct and gag reflex?

4. Preparing for your close-up: You know the TV cameras are going to find you on the bench, and you need to prepare that steely, cold, detached-yet-emotionally complicated look that lets the fans know the depth of your soul, and the burning fire within. (Side benefit: This totally works on chicks too. Stare off intently beyond the bottle service table, and some lady is going to look upon you a wounded soul that needs solace. Mrroawr.)

5. Putting weight back on: You think you're going to keep hitting one-handed homers if you drop 20 pounds through the physical exertion of playing the field and running the bases? Forget that. Park your ass on the bench, dig into an O-Dog Combo and think about the days when Cecil Fielder was the most feared hitter in baseball.

6. Funneling your rage more productively: Because that needle-point isn't going to finish itself.

That's the best that we can figure. Feel free to add your own notions on the skills that Snider can develop from the dugout in the comments section below.

(Yes, as established yesterday, I am a comment whore.)

Friday Rock Out - The Jam, "In the City"
Consider this our Long Distance Dedication to The Manager: We wanna tell you about the young ideas.

The Ack is off on assignment this weekend, but we should be around to fill in as necessary. Have fun, and stay cool my babies.


Anonymous said...

I can't even laugh about this anymore. AA needs to grow some balls and bitch slap Cito into submission.

Tao of Stieb said...

AA knows he's gone. He's not going to go nuts about this at this point.

If The Manager was in the first year of his deal, this is a different thing.

Peter DeMarco said...

Lets just hope a move is made prior to the August trade deadline that opens up a spot for Snider.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that even more reason to give Granpappy a talking to? You don't need to worry about him becoming hostile towards you since you won't have to deal with him again.

Worst case, Cito calls up the media and says that AA is racist and has a slave-driver mentality.

Jaysfan26 said...

#7 Sitting on the bench also allows Snider to practice the baseball art of lighting another teammates shoe laces on fire or placing a nifty bubble gum bubble atop someone's hat.

These things are learned and skills need to be sharpened. That only comes with time on the bench.

wes said...

It's true. Maybe if Snider works hard at these things, he can become a great clubhouse presence--someone loved by all.

At that rate he'll be the next Kevin Millar! Hurray!

Ugh.. I was trying to be funny and now I'm just more depressed.

Steve said...

Don't forget Tossing Sunflower Seeds into Tiny Cups. Am I the only one who saw Snider nail a shot from bench, jump up with his hands in the air, then run into the clubhouse (probably to cry at his locker)?

Why is this happening to us? What did we do to deserve Clarence?

Darren Priest said...

@Anonymous, Cito has friends in high places within the Jays org. While I personally think that AA is going to surpass Gillick as best Jays GM of all time, AA can't make an enemy of Beeston.

I think AA is leading us to Canaan after too many years in the wilderness. If Cito wants to fuck up for his last six weeks as a meaningful player in the MLB then so be it.

Yesterday, I finally gave up on my ridiculous hope for meaningful games in September. I am pretty depressed about it right now, but a guy as new and young as AA has to pick his battles.

I only wish the Jays could pry Joe Maddon or Mike Scioscia away from their respective teams.

--The preceding ramble was brought to you by Alpine lager and Capt. Morgan rum.

GMan said...

Hey! I was going to do a Millar reference! But, anyway, any Cito-Millar reference would involve playing everyday.

What about the learning how to practice safe reach-around-with-shaving-cream-pie.

wes said...

Speaking of the Cito-Millar love-in, Joe Posnanski's latest offers a lot of insight:

"10. Cito Gaston, Toronto Blue Jays
The amazing thing about Cito Gaston’s career is that he kept getting at-bats for a long, long time after his one good season. His one good season was legitimately terrific, that was 1970, he hit hit 29 homers and had a 144 OPS+.

The rest of his career, his OPS+ was 88, and his WAR was minus-7. He is one of 67 players in baseball history to get at least 3,000 plate appearances in the big leagues and post a negative career WAR."

Psychology is fascinating, no?

Darren Priest said...

That is pretty damning, Wes.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Cito admitted he hasn't done a very good job of getting Snider into the lineup. Which means absolutely nothing. One more month, yo.

Decks83 said...

I looked into PDCs after your post yesterday, and we're pretty screwed as far as getting back into the IL. Every IL team but Pawtucket and Charlotte have renewed already, and we can assume that Pawtucket will stay with Boston. so we'll have to fight it out with the White Sox to take over the Knights, who have arguably the worst stadium in the minor leagues.

There should be several PCL teams available (Nashville being a good option as the brewers are likely to take over the Redbirds) but the trouble will still be trying to develop pitchers in that league.

Peter DeMarco said...

This has nothing to do with any of the above, more just about being board on a Friday afternoon.

That being said, I think I'm going to take up the campaign to promote an acquisition of Yonder Alonso to be the Jays 2011 starting 1B. The guy is a stud 1B prospect and is currently blocked by Joey Votto, since I don't foresee a change, there should be a way the Jays can get him.

Gil Fisher said...

Well people have poo-poo'd my Adrian Gonzalez idea, so how 'bout Rzep for Alonso straight up?

KURSK said...

When I think of Paul Weller, I think of Bruce Eaton of Upper Canada Brewery in the 80's!

Btw, I bought that first Jam album in 1977; God I feel old.

Darren Priest said...

You are definitely older than me, kursk -- either that or infinitely cooler than me. I love the Jam but they were long broken up -- for that matter, so was the Style Council -- before I'd heard of them. Still love the bass playing of Bruce Foxton.

NoisyFlowers said...

I think you might want to revise your assessment of Alonso. His minor league numbers are well below what you would hope for from a stud 1B prospect.

If the Jays feel its important to replace Wallace with another 1B prospect that's close to the major leagues they could swing a deal for Alonso who as you said should be available. I'm not saying it's a bad idea but let's not call this guy a stud. For perspective, Eric Hosmer is putting up a 1.010 OPS in AA as a 20 year old. Now THAT's a stud.

Peter DeMarco said...

Minor league numbers don't say it all because of the variance of hitters parks, the stage of development for players an many other factors.

I could make a similar argument regarding Alonso in that his numbers are very similar to Joey Votto's in Triple A at the same age, and that would be a player in the same surroundings. Additionally when Alonso was drafted he came with a high pedigree and some scouts identified that he had the most power of any player in his draft year. His minor league number while they may not be great are far off from disproving his status as a very good 1B prospect.

I believe that Rzep alone would not be enough to get a deal done. I'm thinking the Jays would have to give up something that might hurt, which I'm okay with if it is from a position of depth/strength.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Reds would reconsider Stewart/Roenicke for Alonso?