So… there’s still a whole lot of hostility out there for what went down last night, with the Jays moving Eric Thames to the Mariners for Steve Delabar… oh, and Travis Snider to the Pirates.

There are a lot of reasons why I get that– though I’m somewhat surprised that Snider’s “contending organization” comment about the Pirates didn’t spark much backlash, but I suppose that’s because lot of embittered Jays fans were probably nodding and “fuckin’ eh-ing” in agreement at the time.

Certainly there’s good reason relievers aren’t sexy pick-ups, and that’s because they just don’t pitch often enough to provide the kind of value that we all once dreamed Travis Snider would be capable of producing– and which, as a 24-year-old, he still may be able to. But Lincoln has been excellent in the role this year and remains under team control for a long time– the latter of which probably couldn’t be said of Snider, which is really what fans are having trouble processing today.

Very obviously, the Jays didn’t see Snider as part of their future, and feared hanging on too long to a diminishing asset.

“The Pirates get to roll the dice on a flawed hitter who’s young enough to retain some upside,” writes Keith Law at ESPN.com, “while the Blue Jays get a reliever who can help the team immediately and doesn’t have the washout risk of the guy they gave up.”

“The upside here,” he adds, “while remote, is a corner outfielder who’s average on defense and has 25-homer power with some patience, but that can’t happen until he makes more contact, which can’t happen unless he can alter his swing and maintain the changes he makes.”

“Snider is young enough that an impressive prime could still be ahead of him. On the most basic level, giving up a 24-year-old everyday player for a 27-year-old pitcher (albeit one with significantly less service time) seems like an irrational risk,” writes Kevin Goldstein and Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus. “But if this trade tells us anything, it’s that the Jays didn’t think a breakout was imminent, and no one knows Snider better than they do.”

Mop Up Duty is on board as well, calling Snider “at best a platoon player,” referring to a piece of theirs from earlier in the year, and liking the fact that, as it stands, the Jays have just $6.5-million committed to their seventh-, eighth- and ninth-inning guys next season, in Lincoln, Janssen and Santos, which should free up some money for them to be aggressive elsewhere.

On the flip side, Jon Hale of the Mockingbird encapsulates all the kind of fears that– even though I’m OK with it– I can’t help but have about this deal, writing that “27-year old middle relievers who have only looked good for their last 40 innings in the ‘pen are easy to replace and not worth much. The Jays clearly haven’t thought so for some time, but 24-year-olds with Snider’s pop and potential simply do not exist. This also seems to signal that the Jays envision either Rasmus or Gose as a corner outfielder in the long-term, which is just as troubling.”

 

Image via Dilip Vishwanat/Getty.

Comments (123)

  1. The most hilarious thing about this is Steve F’N Delabar has 1159 pageviews on fangraphs and is the 3rd most searched player today.

  2. Don’t understnad why the “jays envisioning either Rasmus or Gose as their futue corner outfielder” is troubling? Sounds pretty good to me.

    • because they don’t project to have enough bat. It would be nice to have an ops over .800 coming from LF.

      • We could get proper LF production from Bautista… Gose has 2X the arm of Bautista and if we use Rasmus and Gose in CF/RF then Bautista could have zero range and it might still be one of the best outfield defenses in the AL.

        Also, while Rasmus’ MLB-average offensive output and Gose’s ~75ish OPS+ would not look great in CF/RF if they gave average defense, keep in mind that Gose and Rasmus could each be worth a win above average on defense (with Gose in CF and Rasmus in RF but, for the team, you can switch them around and it does not matter).

      • Agreed. Their bats don’t play in left. Rasmus is a lot closer than Gose though; I think he does have the potential to OPS over .800 – good plate discipline, power stroke, ability to go opposite field.

    • Because Rasmus’ bat and glove makes him an awesome CF… but in LF he’s only average-ish, maybe above average.

    • This is just complete speculation though. The Jays could just as easily trade either Rasmus or Gose for a masher LF or in their pursuit of pitching while signing a LF through free agency.

      Trading Snider (and Thames) is a sign that AA doesn’t think either can be the impact players he needs to compete in the ALE. It is not necessarily a ringing endorsement for Anthony Gose.

  3. With Gose and Marisnick coming up, didn’t we figure on Rasmus moving to a corner spot at some point anyway? His bat and defense would seem to profile well.

  4. What is bothering me is not losing Snider (or Wojiechowski, Musgrove etc), but the notion that swing guys (Happ) or middle relievers were the best we could do. You can only trade these guys once, and now I feel we have about 15 RPs or 5th starter guys, without havin upgraded our starting staff. In AA we trust…but he’s testing me…

    • Those guys don’t get you top to middle rotation guys. You have to give up the Gose, D’Aarnoud, Marsineck, Sanchez type guys to get good starters.

    • Just because those positions are highly undervalued by fans does not mean that a professional baseball team can afford to do so. You start your “swingman” in 40 % of your games. One of your middle releivers must pitch in at least 60% of your games. When you consider that even winning 5% more of their games would likely get the jays into the playoffs (roughly 8 extra wins) it goes to show that these positions are extremely undervalued.

      I would even say that star players and top of the rotation guys are over valued. Not that you don’t want to get as many of them as possible, but you must consider the oppertunity cost of aquiring them, the negative value of nearly all of their contracts etc. Compare the records of the Tigers and the Jays and then adjust to make up for injuries and you see that the Jays know this and the Tigers don’t.

      • You’re probably right that fans place too little value on never-heard-of-them relievers, but the flip side of that is that because they have very few innings pitched per season, they can be victims (or beneficiaries) of small sample size issues. Therefore, assessing talent in this undervalued area is more challenging, so spending big money on relievers is a questionable strategy.

        I’m glad to see that AA has not opted to do that and has chosen instead to lock up arms who are inexpensive but reasonably effective, which, as has been noted, will free up cash for other expenditures for more-easily-valued-accurately assets.

    • + 1 Zilllion! You hit the nail on th head.

  5. exactly trade oliver

  6. hey wut, you posted that already. enough.

  7. So what’s the DJF record for most comments on a post, and how close did that last thread get?

  8. I think Rasmus bat is probably good enough to be a corner outfielder. I’m thinking long- term his bat is somewhere between 2010 and this year.

    He’ll probably hit .260/.325/.475.

    • The idea that certain positions require certain levels of stats kinda goes out the window with a little critical thought. For example, Lawrie, Bautista, Arencibia, Escobar, Johnson and Encarnation all hit above average at their respective positions therefore you could concievably field a left fielder whose “bat doesnt play in left” with no set back in the overall hitting of your team.

      Also, the idea that left fielders do not need to be good at defence, or that a good defensive left fielder doesnt make up for an underwhelming bat is excruciatingly stupid.

      • “the idea that left fielders do not need to be good at defence, or that a good defensive left fielder doesnt make up for an underwhelming bat is excruciatingly stupid.”

        You are wrong in general, it’s just that people go overboard. The idea comes from proper research into the potential range of contributions fielders can make. People say “you need a better fielder in LF than CF because LF is easier to play”. Whether LF is easier to play or not is truly irrelevant. What matters is that the best fielder in the world would have far less opportunity to impact the game from LF than CF, SS or C. That is just a basic realty if the way baseball works.

        In practice: you can find 2 dWAR SS and CF every now and then, but the best damn 1B in baseball will struggle to consistently play 1 half-win above average.

        • Well, since defensive metrics are about as accurate as the Chinese statistics bureau, that’s not really informative. Though I do agree with your point; defense up the middle, power along the sides.

          • Defensive metrics are highly accurate… if you match the frequency with the signal properly. For baseball fans, the player-season is the natural sample so we call metrics that are not stable at that level: unreliable.

            Defensive metrics are as accurate as offensive ones for: teams & leagues over full-season samples (the metrics accurately capture how much better or worse team defenses are over the course of a season) and they are accurate for sequential 3+ season samples (after a few years, no inaccuracy in metrics can hide whether a defender is good or not, but within 1 month anybody can be Ozzie Smith).

    • If he hits like that line and saves 10 RAA in RF for 4 or 5 years he will make 1 or 2 all-star games. That has got to be the best-case scenario.

  9. I hope more deals go down today so jays fans dont go insane over trading travis snider

    • To late. It’s Travis Snider… for some they could have traded him for the island of Manhattan and it wouldn’t have been enough.

      That’s just how overrated Snider is… what they see is the Jays trading Travis Snider: Phenom, Lunchbox SuperHero, Das Wunderkind. Remove the name and tell them that the Jays are trading a MILB/MLB Tweener .248/.306/.429 corner outfielder with averagish defense and they probably don’t give a shit even though it’s the exact same guy.

  10. Considering that the only way to rationally and critically view baseball is in the aggregate, I am suprised that relievers are so undervalued. Consider youre entire bullpen staff as one player. That one player basically decides how many games you win each year. Granted Lincoln has only been good for “40 innings” you have to think that PROFESSIONAL SCOUTS like his stuff, at least enough to part with a good player. Now, if you consider that the Jays could reasonably field a bullpen that has Lincoln, Janson and Santoes as their set 7-8-9 inning guys and that they could have Perez as a lefty specialist and maybe even Cecil and a couple of their surplus mediocre starters back there next year, what is ther biggest weakness right now could become their biggest strength.

  11. Yeah I noticed the ‘traded to a contender’ thing as well. Was it Snider’s mask of niceness slipping, or a reflection of the real feeling in the clubhouse, or both. Either way (or both ways), it was actually an extremely damning comment, and worthy of some journalistic time.

    It’s even more damning, because the feeling behind the trade is that it’s the Jays who are paying over the odds to pursue a remote chance of a playoff spot this year, not the Pirates. It’s a replay of the Rasmus trade in every way, with the only difference being that the Pirates (last years Jays) are aiming for the playoffs, while the Jays (last year’s Cardinals) are pursuing at best a very marginal chance.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad trade – what the hell do I know – but are we seeing AA overrating his own talent?

    • What Snider said is true. Pittsburgh has a real chance of making the playoffs, while Jays have a marginal chance. Pitts could go .500 the rest of the way and make it, Jays need to go something like 40 – 20 to have a shot.

      • Agree. This is al there is to it, it’s as simple as that.

        And that’s also why people aren’t that bothered by ti.

  12. I think part of the Hub-bub is how it went down.

    Snider left the game, hugged his teammates in an emotional goodbye. Jays saw a visual that will stick in their minds.

    • Yes, because porofessional athletes are naturally SHOCKED *GASP!* when this sort of thing happens. I can see it now, in free agent negotiations this winter:

      AA: “We’d like to sign you, Player. We value your skill set and think you’d be a fine addition to our base-ball club.”
      Player: “Heavens to Betsy, I saw how distraught some of your players were, having to say goodbye to one of their comrades during the middle of a game. That must have scarred them for life. I’m surprised they could compose themselves and move on with their lives after seeing something so crushing. Lordy lordy, how could you ever think I’d sign with an organization that is so clearly cold and callous?”

      ~End Scene~

  13. I think Rasmus as a LF bat is good enough by baseball standards, but it’s not elite. we’re the AL East! we need massive power out of there, especially if Gose is in center and Hech is an infield option (I would honestly want something like Lawrie-Upton-Bautista-EE-Ortiz-Rasmus-Escobar to make up for that Gose/Hech offense at a playoff contender level.)

  14. I was shocked and disappointed at first.

    But in the end, the Jays are at the top end of the league in runs scored, even with the big hole in left-field all season. On the other hand, they are near the bottom end of the league in runs allowed and need pitching (and perhaps upgraded defence) more than anything.

    So Snider, while always tantalizing on offense, was not part of the current run producing Jay-ggernaut. So, his role was largely superfluous to the offensive needs of the team.

    Gose/Davis platoon in the OF has some weaknesses for sure, but still an upgrade over what we had starting in LF (Thames) at the beginning of the year.

  15. Wonder how Blue Jays players are hating on the organization today? Player morale must of taken a hit last night, cept maybe Rajai…

    • Why is that? Because they traded 2 average players for 2 guys that help them immidiatley?

      • Cause a good number of them grew up together in the system and they just saw there brother get the final of many fuck you’s from their boss. I’d be pissed if my teamate was treated that way…

        • They’re professional athletes and understand the business side of the game. They’ve dealt with their friends getting cut, traded, demoted, promoted all throughout their short careers from the time they were playing little league, so this is nothing new.

          • Professional athletes usually don’t get jerked around like Snider was.

          • @Ron Dale

            Um… yes, yes they do. Snider is not unique. Players fall out of favour all the time. And this perception that he’s been jerked around is just that: perception. We don’t know if he or his teammates feel he has been jerked around.

            But anyways, I really think you’re underestimating just how normal these issues are in professional sports.

        • It’s not like they traded Snider to Houston.

        • Did they? Grow up together in the system I mean…

          Lawrie: No
          Escobar: No
          Johnson: No
          EE: No
          Arencibia: I guess they were together a bit in Vegas
          Bautista: No
          Rasmus: No
          Gose: A bit in Vegas just this year so No, not really
          Davis: No
          Gomes: A bit in Vegas just this year so No not really

          Pitchers: Maybe Cecil, Perez, and Romero but that would be it I think.

    • Why would morale be bad in the clubhouse? Even if Snider was a well-liked guy, this trade and Thames are trades where AA is saying “I think we’re still in the race this year.”

      I’d expect this bolsters confidence, if anything.

    • Based on all the speculation, I’m sure no one shed a tear over Thames being traded. Although I wonder if any of the hard feelings we seem to think exist were there because Thames took Snider’s spot at the beginning of the year. So mixed feelings maybe?

  16. I love how everyone repeats as gospel that bullpen arms are cheap, readily available and easy to find. I have the Jays’ 2010-2012 bullpens on the phone. They think that contention is full of shit.

    • No shit.

    • tampa finds these guys for nothing every offseason… in fairness, the blue jays join a long list of teams that seem to be unable to duplicate this feat.

      • And even tampa misses big time a fair chunk of the time.

        • when you pay nothing you can afford to miss alot of the time… when you pay mike napoli or travis snider you can not.

      • The only way building a bullpen can be ‘easy’ is if you have a large number of mid level prospect arms sitting in AAA. Thanks to JPR we have… none? That can’t be right… Yep, its none. Thanks JPR!

        • Let me tell you where these relievers come from. They are failed starters. The jays have two of them in former first rounders McGuire and Jenkins down in AA.

          Those guys get put in the pen, and some pan out. I feel that where the jays are weakest as an organization is in this conversion. They stick with guys as starters for far too long when it seems as though they might be worth much more and more effective in the pen. You are seeing it now with Cecil (despite his recent mirage) and you will see it with those two in New Hampshire.

  17. Honestly, I think AA probably just wanted to wash his hands of Snider. Fans and media griping about him being in AAA most of the season has to get tiresome and you can only wait around for him to show his promise for so long. I would have thought he would have been part of a bigger package than just a reliever, though.

    • Like, I think a lot of the fans complaining about trading him would be in the “spend money, contend right now” camp and if you really want to contend, its hard to go into the season with an unproven bat in LF.

  18. Does this mean I get to stay in Majors? Think of all the T-Bones I could afford!

  19. I remember the halcyon days of spring 2012 when Thames and Snider were locked in an existential duel to be the Jays LF. Now, both are gone, but AA’s plan and Rogers’ penurious ways endure.

    • What the fuck does this possibly have to do with Rogers being cheap?

      • Come on, they must have saved at least 15k on that deal! Damn pennypinchers.

      • I refer only to the notion, written above, that the Jays have only 6.5 million committed to innings 7 through 9 next year and that this represents a golden opportunity to spend elsewhere. That’s a joke. Corporate ownership sucks in sports. You want to win, get some old, hyper competitive tycoon.

      • Did he really just use penurious??!
        He so s-m-r-t!!!
        Us dumb bumkins’ ain’t got nothing on Mister Big University Words up there!

    • Also a misuse of the words ‘existential’ and ‘penurious’.

  20. To me the only way this makes sense- trading Snider and Thames for pieces- is if it is part of a larger deal. If, for example, AA was in the process of acquiring Justin Upton or Logan Morrison and needed to clear the decks then it would sit better with me.

    • It could be less involved than that. If both Rasmus and Gose are expected to play with the Jays in 2013, then Bautista might be the LF. Either way, the biggest hole in the lineup (note: lineup means pitching exlcuded) becomes a 1B/LF/DH which even we might be able to acquire as an FA.

      So AA can keep his bullets for paying the stratospheric prices that healthy MLB-proven pitching now seems to command :-(

      • So Gose’s bat in LF/RF isn’t considered a hole?

        • Gose value is in him playing CF. His defense in CF will be significantly better than even Rasmus. Move fucking Rasmus to LF when gose is ready…which is certainly not now.

          • Gose’s defensive value doesn’t even come close to his black hole of offense. He would isntantly be one of the worst CFers in baseball unless he improves a fuck ton in 8 months

          • never mind. I read that as “which is certainly now”. Disregard

          • Gose belongs in CF when he’s ready. Otherwise, he’s occupying a corner position that should belong to a +800 OPS player.

            Rasmus’ bat is good enough to slide to LF and if Bautista isn’t moved to 1B or DH, he’s gotta be in RF. Guys like Rajai or Sierra project to be nothing more than bench or role players on a first division team.

        • It’s hard to say. As AA pointed out in an interview earlier this year, computing minor league equivalencies for various stats is a huge problem right now. If his defense really does wind up being worth 20 RAA in CF, he will be worth a few million a year (he makes half a million) immediately…

          As for Rasmus in CF Gose in RF or the opposite, keep in mind that the metrics place hard lines between positions whereas in reality defensive alignments are more continuous. (in other words, the metrics ignore the impact on your play of who plays next to you, even though that impact is real).

  21. When do the new guys get added to the roster? Is it today? Do they have to make a roster move to fit Delabar and Lincoln in?

    • Acquired players are designated for assignment meaning the team has 10 days to put them somewhere so no rush at all.

      • Lincoln is already on the team depth chart on the website. Delabar isn’t, but likely will be soon.

        The Jays will need to make a move for a 4th OF though. Unless you count EE or Gomes as the 4th OF….

      • no – acquired players are not DFA’d

        • They are by default if they were on their old team`s 40-man roster because the transaction has removed them from their previous roster (as opposed to being removed by option, or by clearing waivers). The new team gets the MLB contracts (the ones from 40-man rosters) added to its DFA list and has the same delay (10 days) to deal with them as any other DFA’d player. The MLB rules do not allow a registered player to be on NO roster lists – this is the just an administrative arrangement.

          • doesn’t lincoln simply go from the bucs 40 man to the jays 40 man and vice versa for snider?

          • Not directly to the new 40-man roster. So if a team wanted to put a guy they acquired through waivers, they could do that directly (leaving him off their 40-man). If they could not do that, place would have to be cleared on the 40-man rosters BEFORE trades were made. This way the adjustments can be made post mortem.

    • Snider had a spot, so only one roster move is necessary.

      The obvious roster move is to DFA Carpenter.

  22. Snider needs playing time to see if he can reach his once lofty potential, and the Pirates will be able to provide that to him that with a fresh start.

    I think I have heard the same thing with Aaron Hill… whatever his potential, he certainly was never going to achieve it with the Jays. Too much baggage and history.

    I’m happy we got what we did, as Law points out, if he struggled again, we would have a diminishing asset… which he already was…. hence a “reliever”

  23. Well, regardless of the timing of the roster moves for Lincoln and Delabar, the Jays have to do something today to avoid going with a 2 man bench, right?

    • Yup. One might also wonder if this means they now plan to keep Gose up when Bautista returns… he does not look totally ready.

      • It seems to me that they would have made the roster move by now unless they have something cooking.

        • They could have made some calls and bought some plane tickets already so folks might be moving but they won`t announce anything until 4PM today just in case a trade opportunity come to fruition and those moves become moot. Many roster moves cannot be reversed for a minimum time.

  24. one can only hope this means justin upton is coming to toronto. gose is clearly overmatched at the plate.

  25. “The Jays clearly haven’t thought so for some time, but 24-year-olds with Snider’s pop and potential simply do not exist.”

    So Travis Snider doesn’t exist?

  26. It’s kind of curious that Thames was traded like 15 minutes after Snider.

    Doesn’t that make you think that perhaps another OF is coming…or perhaps the Jays are comfortable with a Gose/Davis platoon in LF for the rest of the year.

    • I don’t know if I’m just getting swept up in the broadcaster’s boners for speed, but I have to admit that having Gose on the base path adds an element to the Jays that is nice to have. You can see the other team does alter their positions, and he is a distraction.

      It’s like having Rickey Henderson on the team…. when you want a run, just let him steal two bags, and sac fly…

      Now only if his bat had as much pop as Ricky!

  27. K so I know Bautista pretty much gets to write his own ticket and I’m cool with that because, well, all the HRs… But I think we can all agree his bat plays in LF and Gose’s arm is more valuable in RF than left, as is Rasmus’ overall defense. I just don’t see anyone considering the possibility of Jose in LF where his bat plays and would ensure spectacular OF defense. People talk about him moving to first all the time, but let Edwin stay there and move Jose to LF and you get all the offense with none of the defensive liability that you sometimes get from offense first LFers.

    • Bautista’s arm is not far behing Gose’s. Not enough to cause Gose to move to RF, where his defensive value would be marginal. Gose’s value is in CF with his range and speed. Plus, he has nowhere near the bat to belong in a corner outfield position.

  28. Given what we gave up to get Santos, doesn’t it seem like we gave up a lot for Lincoln?

    If there are no more deals today, we’ve given up a fair lot of prospects for our bullpen going forward, I hope the bullpen proves worthy over the next several years.

    • Molina was ranked our no. 2 prospect by Sickels. Granted it’s only one source, but if the Sox particularly like Sickels, it might have been enough.

    • Also, the new market inefficiency is “controllable players.”

      Seriously, how often was the term “controllable players” used three seasons ago?

      Baseball seems to have caught on fairly quickly, I think. Not entirely sure.

  29. Yet another JP guy bites the dust. AA is going to trade all of those players from JP era. Lind is next.(although he tried and nobody picked him up) When Darno is MJ ready he’ll trade Aaron Cibia too.

  30. What the hell?

    Eric Thames ‏@EThames14
    Sitting on the flight, next to Moises Sierra #sameflightdifferentdugouts http://pic.twitter.com/cF9ozohs

    Thames to Tacoma. Sierra to Safeco to join the Jays?

  31. Thames just tweeted that he’s on a flight to Seattle with Moises Sierra. Looks like it’s Sierra coming up.

  32. Apparently we get to see Moises Sierra. So says Dirk Hayhurst on Baseball Central.

  33. Betcha he goes on a all-you-can-eat nacho bender in downtown pitts tonite

  34. And how did they get a picture of Lincoln in a Jay’s hat so quickly?

    http://bluejays.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=453184

  35. I haven’t seen the Jays’ fanbase get so worked up over losing a player since Reed Johnson….remember him?

    Also, in a way I’m glad that Snider got shipped. People spent too much time speculating over his talent, potential and current assignment. I wish him well, but having a little bit of closure is nice

    • I wouldn’t say I feel that way, but this is far from closure. The Travis Snider Experiment continues, just in Pittsburgh. I feel emotionally vested to following how his career unfolds. I’m in the camp that he will never come around to the potential he had, but, not that it matters, certainly wish him the best.

  36. Anybody else kind of want to see Thames in LF for the Mariners today or tomorrow. The game plan – hit the ball to left. Anywhere to left, just hit to left.

  37. Bringing the two relievers in would make trading Oliver in a package for a big piece a little more palatable to the current pen.

  38. The more I think about last night’s trades, the more pissed off I get. The trade of Snider was spineless, as AA waited until the club was out of town, so as to deter any potential fan reaction at the ballpark. Snider also had family in for the series and that was particularly strange as well. I know that “business is business”, but holy crap, dumping people for marginal pitchers, is at best pointless and futile. AA woke up a genius yesterday morning and went to bed an idiot.

    I’m interested to see Wilner’s spin on this as he was heralding the outfield of Gose, Rasmus and Snider “the dest defensive outfield the Jays have ever had” and it didn’t even last 10 days. Two things have become apparent to me, the club is desperate and some people are hurt much worse than they are letting on.

    • This is absolutely ridiculous. And that outfield was never going to last, y’know, on account of Jose Bautista.

      • I know that, but really, this was all they could do for Snider? You can’t deny my point about dumping these guys for marginal pitchers. The least they could have done was packaged them for somebody decent

        • You really need to read a Pirates fan forum. There is a lot of post asking if they couldn’t have gotten Snyder for less, saying they gave up too much for Snyder and hope he lives up to his potential. Lincoln was a 4th overall pick.

  39. I like the deal

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