Something truly remarkable happened yesterday…
Something I didn’t think would ever happen again…
Something so many of us had been quietly hoping we’d never have to deal with again…
Parkes actually wrote a goddamn post.
The news of the Jays demotion of Travis Snider to minor league camp, on the other hand? Not terribly surprising.
Nor is it, in my view, another instance of the Jays dicking around a once-extraordinary prospect, as many have been real effing quick to want to shout.
Much like Snider, Eric Thames is probably too good to be toiling in Las Vegas all season. And as much as the idea of giving Snider 600 MLB at-bats, come what may, sounds like the ideal plan for his development, it’s a quaint notion that would have been very difficult for the club to pull off if Snider slumped, Thames raked in Vegas, and the club– thanks especially to the lure of the AL’s extra Wild Card spot– needed production from its left fielder.
Almost certainly there would have, at some point, been pressures– both internal and external– to help the club by replacing a slumping Snider with Thames. Astutely, by being firm about Thames’ advantages in a position battle that Alex Anthopoulos acknowledges will likely go on all year, the club has ensured that they’ll avoid a potentially much more damaging scenario down the road.
The club has said that the next time Snider gets called up, they want it to be for good. Now they’ve almost ensured that, burning his final option year in order to send him down. And frankly, it’s fair.
Yes, this spring he’s showed that the power some feel was sapped last year by a lingering wrist injury is back in his bat, and he appears to have had success with his new, lower-handed stance. But he still striking out too much, and had cooled since tearing up the start of camp like a raging motherfucker.
He’s made “strides” as Anthopoulos also says, in audio provided by Mike Wilner at Miked Up, “and I expect him to continue making strides.”
The GM adds that he’s “excited about the changes that he’s made,” noting that he’s hit velocity, and that while he wasn’t sure if the on-base percentage was improved this spring, Snider has worked himself into deep counts, which is precisely what the club wants to see from their hitters. Anthopoulos says his approach and his swings have been better, that “the power’s back, to me– the ball’s coming off his bat so much better than it did last year,” and that “we still believe he’s got a chance to be a great player.”
But there’s no question that Snider could use continued work refining this new approach. And even though we already know he can destroy triple-A, asking him to do that work while in the big leagues, with a talent like Thames champing at the bit for an opportunity behind him would have potentially created a more developmentally-damaging situation later in the year– i.e. another mid-season demotion.
“This is not permanent,” Anthopoulos adds. “Eric is still competing all year.”
That’s right in line with what Jon Morosi of Fox Sports hears from executives who have been sniffing around.
On Travis Snider: I spoke with a couple executives following the outfield market, and they believe #BlueJays are inclined to keep him.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 26, 2012
So… it’s not exactly the death knell of Snider’s career as a Blue Jay that a lot of people seem ready to believe it is. Nor should it be! In fact, I think in a lot of ways Snider is better setup for success than he would have been under the added pressure of being the Opening Day starter, with Thames waiting to come in and take the job from him.