Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tweets some clarification on the reports that we’d heard from Las Vegas about Anthony Gose being removed from tonight’s 51s game…
Source: Blue Jays will call up top prospect Anthony Gose if Jose Bautista needs to be put on disabled list after doctor’s exam tomorrow.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 17, 2012
The suggestion that Gose is next in line to get the call-up has produced a lot of “whither Travis Snider?” reactions, and naturally, more griping from fans insistent on seeing this as further evidence that the club is screwing over its once-elite prospect.
That said, while it’s easy to get caught up in the prospect porn trip, obviously, first and foremost, the concern is for Jose Bautista, and what any time on the DL for him might mean to the Jays’ already-slim chances in 2012.
I saw some folks on Twitter who actively welcomed the news, actually, seriously hoping that the results of tomorrow’s MRI would quickly usher the Jays in to sell- and play-the-kids-mode. Others, somehow even more fucking ludicrous, seemed to feel that this very well may mean the end for Bautista, unless he’s able to find Luke Skywalker’s wrist doctor… or… anamatronic limb-maker… or… whatever the hell that was in that movie people my age know way too much about.
But there’s only so much you can say about that until we find out what the injury is for certain (unless, apparently, you’re Paul O’Neill), and lots of talk has turned to what happens if our MVP does go on the DL. In that regard, obviously, seeing Anthony Gose patrol right field is an exciting prospect when divorced from any thoughts of the reasons that brought him there, but it’s certainly fair game to wonder why he got the call and Travis Snider did not.
Several reasons have been put forth on Twitter that are worth considering:
- Snider has just one extra-base hit and a .781 OPS over his last 10 games, compared to Gose’s three and .927.
- Gose’s OPS for May (.984) and July (.916) are both higher than Snider’s best month since April (the .914 he posted in June), though Snider does have the excuse that he was injured for a long stretch earlier in the season.
- Alex Anthopoulos has stated that he wants Travis Snider to be up for good the next time that he gets the call, and as a temporary fill-in for Bautista, that’s not the assignment here.
- To that exact point, Anthopoulos also recently said, in comments on Jeff Blair’s show, as quoted by Mike Cormack of Sportsnet, that “Travis has been up and down. He had a big home run two nights ago, but he’s been inconsistent and really hasn’t gotten hot. You’d like to get these guys [Snider and Eric Thames] up here when they are hot. If we would make a move with one of those guys the hope would be they are up here to stay.”
The more conspiratorial among us might also point to the possibility of Gose coming up for some kind of trade showcase. If you really wanted to you could take that further– at least until we hear otherwise on Bautista– and wonder if the Jays are simply posturing on Gose, knowing that Jose is probably OK, trying to give a hint to other teams that they think the prospect more ready than he really is.
I don’t think that’s it at all, of course. I just don’t believe a whole lot that clubs would bother to insult the intelligence of their trade partners by conducting business as though a laughably tiny sample size might convince anyone of anything– and seriously, somebody please explain to me what the hell this “trade showcase” is supposed to prove– but you could go there. And it’s definitely the side of this decision that seems most curious on the Jays’ part, especially in light of the fact that Mike Wilner tweets that four days ago, Alex Anthopoulos “insinuated Gose would be in LV all year and maybe next.”
Wilner also notes that Gose has a rather fugly platoon split– just a .564 OPS against PCL lefties– which ought to further cloud the picture.
Then again, he’ll certainly be able to play some fantastic defence, if he does indeed get the call, and can be spelled by Ben Francisco in right field when a left-handed opponent takes the hill– y’know, technically. And it can’t hurt to get him a genuine, hopefully-brief taste of the Majors, with the presumed expectation that he’s going to be a core piece of the club for several years.
As for Snider, one wonders, is a strong message being sent here? Worse yet, is this some kind of final, undignified kick to the curb?
Unequivocally not the latter, I’d say, despite the braying I heard on Twitter from a lot of fans pining to finally see their Lunchboxhero back, and wondering why I’ve suddenly become so flippant about it.
I say that because, I mean… how fucking dumb do we need to be about this?
We heard that “end of his Jays career” stuff on Adam Lind when he was sent down in mid-May. We heard it on Snider last year, when Eric Thames inexplicably manicured his facial hair past him on the depth chart, and we heard it on Thames too, when he was sent down earlier in the season– and by AA’s comments to Blairsy, he’s still obviously hanging around in the picture.
We’ve been told that Snider took his spring demotion like a professional. He said all the right things, as far as we can tell. He worked on the mechanical adjustments that the club wanted to see him make, succeeded with them for a while, but has not quite shown consistency yet since returning from yet another mid-season wrist injury. Yes, he’s been passed over for an opportunity here again, and yes, Rajai Davis continues to be trotted out in left field for the time being, but to act like this is somehow the last opportunity for Snider, with two-and-a-half months still remaining in the season and another year of team control left, is just silly.
True, I’ve long believed that the best thing for Snider, his development, and his standing with the club, would have been a true, extended, healthy run in the Majors. This season it became clear, however, that it was no longer quite as simple a trick to pull off as it would have been two and three years ago, when he was truly being dicked around.
The issue was complicated by the incumbency of Eric Thames, and the fact that the Jays players and their fans truly felt the team was going to be capable of competing. Could Anthopoulos stay strong in the face of internal pressure to put the best team on the field possible if Snider was struggling and Thames was, like everyone, tearing up Las Vegas? I doubt it. And I think the same is true of the situation with Davis looking over his shoulder.
Do I think it’s ideal? Not exactly, but I think the roster politics of it, for lack of a better word, have to be considered before we slay the Jays for yet again overlooking their one-time can’t-miss prospect. Especially when he hasn’t been anything near tearing the cover off the ball the way that Adam Lind was before his recall, which is somewhat disappointing for a guy closing in on 800 plate appearances at the level, dating back to the 18 games he played in 2008 at effing Syracuse.
Am I calling him a disappointment in the broader sense? Of course not. I think Snider absolutely should get a lot of opportunity at the Major League level in the second half of this season, and I’m not yet particularly worried that he won’t. If they didn’t think that he was the right guy for right now; if they wanted to keep him down to continue working on his new swing, or maybe just to finally spend one entire season on the same team, save a rehab assignment, since he spent all of 2007 at Lansing; if they were afraid of throwing a guy scuffling a little in the PCL straight back into the Major League fire and wanted to wait until he could be brought up at the apex of his confidence, that’s all totally OK.
This really doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything just yet, so can we maybe spare ourselves the going nuts about it?
Image via Jamie Squire/Getty.