Tuesday, July 17, 2012

They Don't Really Love Travis, They Just Keep Him Hangin' On

The Toronto Blue Jays have royally messed it up beyond all salvation with Travis Snider, and it's time to stop the charade. They should really just let him go.

That isn't to say: "The Jays should use him as an asset and attempt to make a deal to get something reasonable in return." No. They shouldn't even feel as though they have that opportunity.  They've morally lost all purchase over the right to determine the future of his career.

Yes, your blogging pal is arguing out of spite to make the team weaker. He's probably lost his mind.

But seriously, just let him go. Let him walk away, and go find another organization, and get the hell away from this one. Because the relationship that the Blue Jays' front office has with this particular player is a step short of abusive and a step beyond insulting.

At every opportunity throughout his professional career, the Blue Jays have made the wrong choices when dealing with the 14th pick in the 2006 draft. Move him through several levels in one year? Sure. You know they did that.

Call him up to the majors at the age of 20 because of a lack of depth in even marginally passable talent? Oh yeah, for sure.  They were all over that gambit

Park him on the end of the bench to let him rot and mess up his head when he should have either been playing every day or developing his game in the minors? Thank you very much, Saint Cito.

Give him a few hundred at bats here or there, then send him back for more Pacific Coast League batting practice? They liked this joke so much, they kept repeating it.

Send him back for another cleansing season in the desert while choosing a lesser player ahead of him in a fictional left field battle? A player who could barely hang for a month and change in his "starting left field" role? Why, of course they did.

And now, when the Blue Jays are about to go into several weeks (and who knows how much longer) without the centrepiece of their offense, the brain trust chooses to promote a 21 year-old kid ahead of him. A kid who is probably getting his first shot at The Bigs at least a season too soon, but hey...what could go wrong?

Is the Anthony Gose promotion analogous to Snider's back in 2008? If you're suggesting that the general manager of the day might have demonstrated a level of overanxious zeal in moving the prospect that he acquired to the front of the line when there was an opening for an extra outfielder in a lost season so as to demonstrate that he knows what he's doing and his selection of players is better than the collection of duds left around by his predecessor, then...sorry, what was the question again?

Over the past two years, either Alex Anthopoulos or John Farrell or some combination thereof have decided that Rajai Davis, Eric Thames, Ben Francisco, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, Dewayne Wise, Adam Loewen and Mike McCoy were all better options than Travis Snider. And now, they've moved Anthony Gose ahead of him, presumably because Morgan Ensberg isn't picking up his picking up his phone today.

Oh, sure, they'll say how much they like Snider. They'll roll out hoary Hallmark Card platitudes about what a great player and great person he is. But when it comes right down to it, this team can always find a reason or rationale for keeping Travis Snider away, and out of their sight.

What has he done to deserve this? He allegedly failed as a major leaguer, posting a .730 OPS in 232 games, despite the fact that he was probably too young to be playing at the level. He posts a .767 OPS as a 22 year-old in 82 games in 2010, but that wasn't good enough to save his roster spot. If you tally up his last two seasons, he trudged along for a .709 OPS in 521 plate appearances. You know what Rajai Davis has posted since he's been in Toronto? A .647 OPS. In 550 plate appearances.

Does that make any sense at all to you?

Even if Snider occasionally shows signs of success in Las Vegas - .959 OPS in 787 plate appearances - it's dismissed by virtue of the fact that it's Vegas. Effectively, the Blue Jays have set up a scenario where Snider can't possibly succeed. All he can do is toil and wait. And wait. And wait.

Maybe people will be too thrilled by the appearance of the new guy to cast a thought towards Travis Snider in the next few days. Maybe this is Gose's time, and Jays fans should feel some excitement at seeing the future of the franchise today. That's one way of looking at it.

There's also a pretty bright future that's worth considering for the player this blog once named the Great Big Giant Pasty White Hope. It's clear that it won't be as a Blue Jay.

So let him go.


AC said...

Or, you know, they're trying to do the exact opposite of what you're accusing them of. Keeping him at one level for an entire year, for once. Just a thought.

AC said...

Or, you know, they're trying to do the exact opposite of what you're accusing them of. Keeping him at one level for an entire year, for once. Just a thought.

Jacob said...

Or, you know, they're trying to do the exact opposite of what you're accusing them of. Keeping him at one level for an entire year, for once. Just a thought.

Tao of Stieb said...

I think I got your point.

Zach said...


This was the perfect opportunity to call him up for the rest of the year, give him a two month lead in to take the job next spring and hold it for good, ala what they said/wanted Thames to do. Fuck.

MK said...

I saw a comment at DJF that made a ton of sense. It was suggested that Gose thinks he's ready and this is to show him just how much more he needs to learn. The glove is ready so we're taking an offensive hit but we were going to anyway.

It's also a vote of confidence in Jose that his injury isn't serious. I think AA really doesn't want to jerk Travis around any more and a quick recovery would do just that.

Now, if Francisco gets moved and he's still not called up, then I'll join you on this train.

James Dailey said...

I think Tao is being too emotional here - understanable. Jose on 15 day DL makes this likely a platoon sort of fill in role for two weeks, which is a good looksie for Gose considering he can't hit lefties...at least so far.

i think the real gauge will be the trade deadline and whether they are buyers or sellers. Personally, I'd like to see them sell Johnson, Davis and/or Francisco...and maybe Frasor and/or Oliver if they can secure decent value in return. the moves would not eliminate them from contending if they get some starting pitching back via trade and Morrow returning. A playoff chase with Snyder and Gose would give the core unit valuable experience together and possibly add some needed energy as Lawrie did last year during the dog days of summer.

Zach said...

MK and James Dailey, IF Jose is only out 15 days, wouldn't it be easy to shift Snider to his position at left and finally get Davis back to his bench role? Davis started hot, but is not an everyday player in left and now is the time to see if Snider can do that. Not Gose, who if he somehow can hit would only be able to play centre with the line he would have...

James Dailey said...

Hello Zach, I think you are conflating two separate issues. Jose's injury requires a short term replacement, which I think giving Gose a taste makes sense.

Whether or not Snyder should replace Davis in left is a separate issue. I think he should, but I think part of Davis playing is to showcase him in order to deal him. He could be an attractive piece for contending teams looking for speed off the bench - especially national league teams. Given the close proximity to the trade deadline, it makes sense to me not to bench Davis as your GM is trying to trade him.

Of course, if they don't deal Davis then I will be 100% in favor of Snyder being inserted as LF for the rest of the season the day after the trade deadline.

Anonymous said...

While Snider's last 10 games prior to the Gose call-up (July 2-14) have seen 11 walks drawn, he has only managed 3 extra base hits in his 49 plate appearances. OBP is nice, but he isn't really swinging it.

Consistant with all that AA has said all season, they want to bring him up to STAY, and would love to call him up when he's HOT, which his bat hasn't been over the last 10 games prior to the call up.

I love the kid, but there are tons of forces at play (too much up and down traffic in his pro career, showcasing Gose perhaps, sheltering Snider from MLB pitchers until his bat heats, ect.) which don't lead me believe that they have given up on him.

I feel your heartache in the writing though. I still think he'll be a great MLBer one day.

Zach said...

I'll be shocked if Bautista is back in 15 days, wrist things for power hitters are scary. If they do trade Rajai and thats what this next few weeks are about awesome, but I don't think he has been helping that trade value his last couple weeks in left.

Anonymous said...

I kind of agree. I'm just sick of the whole Travis Snider saga, tbh. Bring him up and leave him, or deal him.

For what it's worth, before the Chisox game on the Sunday before the ASB, Zaun said he thinks the Jays are "done with Snider", in those exact words.

Steve02 said...

Disagree mightily. This year is all about Snider finding himself at AAA. And I don't read into PCL numbers very much. If he's a great major leaguer, it very well might have been this year, at AAA, where he learned how to do it. Why let him walk now? He's out of options next year so that's when the decision has to be made. Next year is when he gets his major league shot or else he's traded or yes, allowed to walk.

The Ack said...

I'm so flummoxed by the Travis Snider situation that I really don't know what to say.

Gose being recalled a mere days after AA insisted he would spend the year in Vegas (and maybe next) is... peculiar?

Fuck me, I'm lost on this one.

Dar said...

I couldn't agree more. I'm becoming quite frustrated in this organization and the way they treat their young players. AA keeps trying to compare the organization to the way Tampa Bay is run, but Tampa Bay actually gave their players a chance to play and grow over the course of several seasons, which included years of struggling.

Instead, as Farrell has said, the Jays bring up players who are "hot" right then, even though they know their groove won't last. They've done this with every replacement picture they used so far. Whoever is getting into a groove, is the best choice. Farrell has said they want pitchers who will put up 0s on the board. This would be nice of course, but it's not going to come from Double A players who are on a hot streak.

So, it's not just limited to Snider. It's organization wide.

Letthebigdogeat said...

An over-reaction? Perhaps. But there are hints of truth throughout. Giving AA the benefit of the doubt, I feel this move is not as damning as it looks. The one thing Snider has missed out on is continuity. He's bounced around, up, and down. It was clear in the previous two year that he had developmental gaps and AA wanted him to work closely and for a significant amount of time with Mottola in Las Vegas.

As such, this is not the opportunity to promote him. Gose is getting a small taste as are many many many others. Snider has had that taste and it is not important to his progress. A two week (or so) call-up to replace Bautista does nothing for him. It does a lot for Gose who, when Bautista returns, will go back to Vegas and likely get called up in September again. Gose will likely not make the team out of Spring Training in 2013 barring any spot opening up via a trade.

I was upset, too, at this recent move of selecting Gose over Snider but AA is doing the smart thing. When Snider gets the call, he will not be dicked around anymore. AA is trying to undo the mess as best as he can.

Free Range Steve said...

I'm with MK and James, mostly. I think it makes sense to bring up Gose for a taste of the Majors for the short term until Bautista returns. It would be deja vu all over again to bring Snider up for a few weeks then (likely) send him back down again. And I'm not disputing that they really mishandled him the last few years. But I actually give them credit for trying to rectify the situation.

The Jays have consistently said they wanted to let Snider work on his game in AAA this year, and I actually applaud them for sticking with it.

I fully anticipate that Snider will be the starting LF next year, and he'll have the opportunity to show if he belongs or not. An outfield of Snider-Rasmus-Bautista is pretty enticing.*

*Barring a trade for, say, Upton. Then by all means, it would be time to #freeSnider and trade him.

Just a wee bit more patience!

Love the passion. Go Jays!

Ace Pinball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ace Pinball said...

This is a revolting blog post. I'd expect something like this out of a childhood friend of Snider's, but not a professional blogger who aspires to write good content on the Blue Jays.

He's been wronged? Really? The kid who was drafted in the first round and made a very rich man. Fast tracked to the big leagues and paid a major leaguers wage at age 20, when most of his peers are held back to preserve options and avoid super two status. And you suggest that Cito Gaston was picking on him.

The same kid who at age 20 told coaches not to talk to him during games. despite early struggles. The same kid who struck out again and again. Breaking bats over knees and wearing his frustration on his sleeve. Major indicators that Snider had some major growing up to do. In a non-professional athlete role, you get fired for telling your boss to beat it.

The majority of Snider fanboys suggest giving him 600 PA regardless of outcome for his development sake. Ignoring that his teammates badly want good results for the Jays, and a struggling Snider will keep them from those.

Snider has greatly improved his attitude, and a very poorly timed injury set back what could have been his big chance. But you have to realize, he just hasn't been very good since returning from his wrist injury. Calling him up now, when he's striking out 1 or 2 times every game in AAA is a death wish.

Snider can keep waiting, keep improving his game at AAA, and when he finally shows he's ready to stay in the big leagues, he will. His inability to stick in the show is not because the Jays have wronged him, but because he hasn't hit well enough to justify a full-time job. Go hit, Travis. Hit so well they can't possibly keep you down.

Oshawa Ollie said...

Would love to see the Sniderman back in the majors! Dude needs another chance, but fun to see what Gose can do for awhile. Man's like the Flash out there!

Roberto said...

The thing is, we don't know what the story is behind the scenes. On the surface, there's no reason for Snider to sit in Vegas while Gose is called up.

I'd like to believe that sometime in the spring, AA sat down with Snider and explained "look, we know we messed up in the past. We're going to let you spend a year in AAA with no distractions. Just hit. Don't worry about making the team." That would explain why Snider hasn't been called up, and it would also explain why Snider has been so sanguine about others (Thames, Gose) getting promoted ahead of him.

That's pure guesswork on my part, of course. But the point is, we don't know why Snider is stuck in AAA, and that's as good a reason as any. If nothing else, it makes more sense than the idea that the normally pretty sharp AA has suddenly decided to ignore his most advanced AAA hitter.

Anonymous said...

I hope Snider turns into Mike Trout with another organization.

CoolHead said...

I believe Travis Snider has made peace with where he is. That's all that he needs. He will succeed wherever he ends up, whenever it happens. That's why he's been successful in Vegas this year.

I don't think that Tao is at peace with it though, which makes it seem worse than it is. Brandon Belt rides the pine in SF, and those fans wonder what it is all about, too.

Sometimes, you are Mike Trout. Sometimes you are Travis Snider. There is no crime here, only a little hiccup in an imperfect world.

Anonymous said...

Jays Trade Away Francisco and Call up Travis Snider.

Anonymous said...

He may be young, but Gose has 500 minor league games, including over 200 at AA and AAA with 1,000 PA. Probably not a bad time right now to evaluate how far away he still is.

Taylor F.

Gjamison said...

I do believe this article was written a day too soon ;). Go Travis!! Show us what you got pasty white hope!!

Russell said...

As I understand it, there are rules in baseball and those decree that if you bring Travis up even once this year, next year you can't send him down without exposing him to waivers. So you'd best be certain he really is ready. Apparently the brass is sure now.

The only reasonable rant here would be against the rule, not against blue jay management which has sanely responding to this stricture. And the rule is probably sensible enough.

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