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.

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.

Comments (48)

  1. Glad I wasn’t the only one with that thought process when Parkes posted here

  2. As a fan of Travis Snider I have to admit that I am disappointed. As a fan of the Jays, however, I have to admit that I am thrilled that the team is finally starting to show an abundance or even an excess of talent at certain positions. Give it another year and we will be gnashing our teeth about Gose, Marisnick, and Hech being blocked and a year after that there will be more quality pitchers than positions available.

  3. So much rationality Andrew. Well put.

  4. It’s difficult to say what the “right” decision is for Snider. Many people say Snider has dominated AAA pitching, when in reality – that’s not exactly true. people don’t seem to apply the PCL rule when talking about Snider’s numbers and the fact that Lawrie, Cooper, Thames, and JPA all had considerably better numbers in AAA in the past two seasons. It has been mentioned here and there but overall I think people forget that Snider only has 128 career games in AAA because of the way the early part of his career was mishandled by Cito and Riccardi. All this said, i still feel the best place for Snider to be working on his weakness to striking out against offspeed pitching is at the MLB level, perhaps these skills will be refined in AAA, I just hope Snider hasn’t soured on the Jays or vica-versa

  5. Jays made the right call here. While Snider has always hit AAA pitching, last year he exhibited a very disturbing lack of power, only 4 HR in 277 PA, with 0.150 ISO. That’s in PCL, too. His power came back this spring, but he really needs more at-bats to make sure that the new approach sticks. In a month or two I suspect that there will be a roster spot for him in the majors, either Thames will have a long enough cold spell to justify demotion or there will be an injury.

  6. Michael Garncarz: Well what the hell…

  7. reality is the truth death of Snider would have been to keep him here, and if he struggles demote him and call up Thames.

    Is it bad now that I’m hoping Thames flops.. or can play 1B?

  8. Well said Andrew.

  9. This is the perfect counterpoint to Parkes’ post.

    Decision: Stoeten.

  10. Why do we have to choose between Snider and Thames when we got some dude named “Lind” getting everyday at bats. They’re all LHB, neither Thames nor Snider can play first but they can DH and EE can man 1B.

    • Why give up on Lind when we aren’t in contention?

      Snider and Thames and Lind all need ABs. Or did you forget what Lind did in 2009? Why sell low?

    • What about EE or E5 or whatever we’re gonna call him this year? Why does he get a spot over these guys? He played awful for 65% of last season and people want to talk about him as if he’s decent cause he had a big August and Sept? Why can’t we have both and one of Thames or Snider DH?

      Did anyone see the Sportsnet peice with Lawrie, JPA, and Snider all as best friends? Why give Snider all the press if you;re just gonna send him down and keep the guy the 2 seasons from now no-one will remember?

      BTW Thames will be given a BIG reality check this season when he bats 8th all year in front of JPA instead of Joey Bats….he won’t be seeing nearly as many fastballs over the plate…..

      • Encarnacion had a big June, July and August, actually.

        He has shown far more with the bat in his career than either of those two at the MLB level.

        From May 29 to September 22 he put up a .296/.368/.523/.891 line. That’s a long, LOOOOOOONG way from being awful for 65% of the year.

        • Didn’t realize the solid offense was also in June, for some reason I remember it being much later. Thanks for pointing that out.

          And when I say awful I’m not just talking about the offense, he was definetly a liability with the glove. Im guessing we shouldn’t have to worry about that too much this year with him in the DH role

      • simple: EE is a consistently above average hitter from year to year, and being relatively young, still has the chance to become an elite one

  11. The decision was not the wrong one. As much as I’d like to see Snider get another opportunity, Eric Thames deserved to make the team after his performance last season. It would have made little sense to send Thames back to a level he’s already dominated. Really, neither player has anything left to prove in AAA. I see no reason that Thames can’t be a Catalanotto type player with more power at the MLB level, if not better than that if he learns how to deal with lefties better.

    The real problem with this roster remains Lind being a full-time starter at 1B.

    • I’m just curious FF. Do you have some evidence to back up the claim “Lind will never hit lefties”? Are there studies that show if a guy hasn’t hit lefties well after X amount of plate appearaces, the chances are virtually non existent that he ever will? I’m genuinely curious. Because I’m quite sure AA is aware of what Lind has done in his career against lefties.

      • As much as I hate to say it, Fulmer_Fan does have the evidence. I’ve read his arguments on this numerous times & unfortunately Lind is pretty awful against the lefties.

      • Oh, I’m quite sure AA is aware of Lind’s failings (in fact, that may partially explain to presence of two RHBs in Francisco and Davis on the bench). It’s hard not to be aware when his career OPS against LHP is an awful .615.

        There is little reason to suddenly expect that trend to change at the stage he’s at in his career.

        • Yes, we know he has sucked. That’s not the issue. The question is whether or not he will continue to suck.

          And a large part of his suckage was a god awful 2010.

          Clearly he shouldn’t hit clean up against lefties and clearly he should be on a short leash against lefties in general.

          But should the Jays be resigned to the fact that he’s a platoon player? Or are there cases where players learn to hit lefties later in their careers…at least to a passable degree like Lind did in 2009.

          • Yes, please platoon Lind with EE at 1st base, as a fan I’m gonna be real pissed if I gotta watch Farrel send Lind out against leftys. Play EE at 1st, DH Ben Francisco and save Lind for a pinch-hit situation against a righty reliever later in the game. I mean, they did sign Ben Francisco to specifically hit against leftys.

  12. Someone please take this photo, photoshop a cigar into his outstretched fingers, insert the captain “Haters gonna hate”, and retain for future use. Thank you.

  13. 1. Very well thought out, Stoeten.

    2. Snider has worked himself into deep counts, which is precisely what the club wants to see from their hitters.

    So at what point does Dwayne Murphy get fired then? Because it’s painfully obvious that he doesn’t give a shit about walks or on-base percentage.

    3. Fuck off Parkes.

    • “Painfully obvious”? Kinda ridiculous, considering the team has been talking explicitly all spring about being more selective, seeing more pitches, etc. Why would you assume the hitting coach does not agree with the team’s stated hitting philosophy? I’m pretty sure that’s something they’d be on top of.

    • Also worth noting that Dwayne Murphy had a career 14.3% walk rate… the idea that he hates walks is just silly.

      • *hates teaching them.

        Obviously the player has to do his share of learning how to take a walk, but Murphy hasn’t been that great either.

        2011 OBP: .317, MLB average was .320 (not bad, but it needs to improve)
        2010 OBP: .312, MLB average was .325 (worse)
        2009 OBP: .333, MLB average was .333 (first full year before Murphy came to the Jays, and doesn’t have Bautista inflating it).

        Take it how you like, but the Jays had way more weak hitters in 2009 than they did in 2010 or 2011, and the number of runs scored reflects it.

        2011 runs scored: 743
        2010 runs scored: 755
        2009 runs scored: 798

        The 40-50 runs lost doesn’t seem like too much, but that could be an extra 15 over/under wins in 2011 and 2010.

        Again, I don’t solely blame Murphy, but he is most certainly a contributing factor.

  14. Re. Parkes,
    Oh, and here I thought that Stoeten was the only cook in this restaurant.
    For the longest time I also thought Stoeten was the drunk bum sitting on the park bench in that picture. .
    After 1 year of following this site, learn something new all the time.

  15. Eric Karabell of ESPN’s baseball today podcast seems to think that Rajai Davis would be the best option for the LF job.

  16. The real issue remains the starting pitching. This team should score enough runs to be successful.

  17. I hope both Thames and Snider tear it up this year so we can trade one of them for a starter. 4th and 5th spots scares the hell outta me.

  18. Snider and a top prospect to ATL for Julio Teheran. pure spec. but i know they need OF help have a plethora of young arms and he would look damn good in a jays uni.

  19. Am I wrong in thinking that E5 is gonna get a fair amount of time at 1B? is there not enough at bats to go around for Thames, Snider, E5 and Lind, between 1B/LF/DH especially if your really starting playing splits?

  20. The real problem I have with it isnt that Thames is such a worse player now, but in my opinion I’d always go with the chance at the high upside player in the future. You can buy another Eric Thames pretty easily, not as easy to buy what Snider could become, emphasis on the could

  21. I also don’t see why they both can’t make the team, I would prefer either of them to any other fourth outfielder option (be francisco) and probably Rsamus unless he steps it up and this is probably the last year that Colby has left before he is untradable for anything good..
    Also, what’s the deal with the anti-Parkes stuff?

  22. If Snider can hit decently at the MLB level they should look at converting him into a first baseman.
    He’s already got a righthanded glove which is an advantage for that position and has very good fielding instincts and awareness of what’s going on around him; so, I think it could work out
    The problem with Anthopoulos is that once he’s got radar lock on some concept it’s almost impossible to move him out of any notion he has. He lacks flexiblity to adapt to what the players are showing him.

  23. [...] actually wrote a goddamn post.http://blogs.thescore.com/djf/2012/03/26/underreacting-to-the-snider-demotion/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

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