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.”