Shi Davidi has the third installment of his Travis Snider retrospective up at Sportsnet, and it’s far less relevatory than the previous two pieces, though it remains interesting in that it’s extremely forthright for an interview with an active player, and largely because of that, continues to paint Snider in a less-than-flattering light.

I mean, I had folks bitching at me to no end yesterday on Twitter, apoplectic in their insistence that turning the path of a simple failed prospect into a “saga” was grotesque overkill by fanboys who just need to fucking get over it already– and that might even be true, if it weren’t so illuminating of the way the Jays operate, or so instructive a case study in how to kill off all kinds of asset value in an elite prospect. Or if all the dirt and inside information wasn’t coming openly to the media from a young, active player who presumably hopes to maintain job prospects in the game for many years still to come.

That last bit alone makes this a story worth considering, because frankly, I can’t imagine what the hell Snider hopes to gain here, or why he’d make it a matter of public record that he’s willing to identify managers and coaches he’s thought failed him, or a front office that didn’t treat him the way he wanted to be treated. It’s commendable that Snider is able to recognize his own, not unsubstantial role in his struggles, but this stuff strikes me as something that’s not going to go over well around the league. Nor is the way that he’s allowing himself to be portrayed as having been so incredibly mentally fragile and unable to function in the face of common distractions in this business.

“I started to slip mentally,” he says of the time last year when Eric Thames was demoted and Rajai Davis found himself starting in what Snider thought was his deserved left field spot for the Jays, “saying, ‘What more do I have to do? The guy I lost my job to is in triple-A now, there’s not really a guy there now who in my mind is competing for that job and what are we waiting for?’ It took me five, seven days of feeling sorry for myself again to say I can’t play like this.”

Those kinds of lengthy bouts of unfocus appear throughout Davidi’s pieces, and while I don’t want to skewer Snider for being honest– it’s refreshing, and interesting to have such an elucidation of the mental aspects of the game, especially from someone who is so obviously affected by them– I cannot understand why he’d actually bother saying anything. Pittsburgh hasn’t extended him, he remains out of options, and he’s struggled badly– over his last 35 games he’s put up an OPS of just .579, with absolutely no power, slugging just .277, and in nine of his last fourteen games (including today) he’s come in for just a single pinch hit at-bat.

Pittsburgh’s thin outfield depth probably lets him slide onto the Opening Day roster next year, but it’s no slam dunk, especially if the Bucs can find some more help out there for Andrew McCutchen. That means there’s a decent chance Snider ends up in yet another organization in the not too distant future, and while the fading promise of what was, legitimately, otherworldly talent– relative to his peer group at the time, at least– should keep him employed long enough to continue trying to get his damn swing straight, you really have to wonder if participating in this might one day itself be discussed as part of a litany of regrets and mistakes made.

Nice catch today, though.

Comments (76)

  1. hahah, nice catch. wow

  2. Being sent down is going to affect a guys confidence especially when it happens so quickly and often. I do agree that I’m not sure why Snider was so honest and agreed to this segment, doesn’t seem like he has anything to gain

    none the less, we’ll have brad fucking lincoln in our 7th innings and probably someone not that good in LF and the Pirates maybe got a former top prospect. maybe

    • The jays will regret trading lunchbox for many years.

      Today’s catch shows his potential as a an excellent of.

      Hopefully bat will improve.

      Nice summary of article Stoeten’s.

      • They won’t regret it, because look at how he’s played since joining Pittsburgh– not well enough to warrant a roster spot, I don’t think, especially given that he still needs to play every day in the hopes of getting his swing right. It would have been a waste to keep him as a fourth outfielder– and they have Rajai for that– but he hasn’t warranted being handed a starting spot, and being out of options means that they would have had to try to send him to Buffalo, which would have meant putting him through waivers and inevitably losing him anyway.

        It seems highly likely that they waited until the last possible second and then dealt him before his trade value went further into the tank– which it appears to have.

        Even if he turns it around somewhere, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to allow him to do so here, I strongly suspect, so in that sense you can’t really have a lot of regret for the deal. Regret for burning up all of his options so fast? That’s a different story.

        • But can you honestly say that in 2013, Snider will be worse than Sierra, Rasmus, Gose or Davis?

          I can’t… since the trade Snider has been hurt and awful and still has accumulated more fWAR than sierra, davis, rasmus and gose combined.

          If they bring in a LF, then yes it doesn’t matter, but internally, when you factor in defense and bat, Snider was far from the worst option going in to 2013

          • I think the intention is to bring somewhere from outside the organization, keeping Snider would limit that option.

          • I think there’s a very good chance Snider will be worse than Rasmus, Gose and Davis in 2013.

            He’s been pretty terrible since joining Pittsburgh. He may put it together of course.

          • The fundamental problem, even more than his hitting problems, is that Snider is *always* hurt. IMO, that’s held back his development more than anything the Jays have done.

        • OK.

          Could AA have offered Snider a contract extension with 1 guaranteed year for 2013 & a couple of option years to see what he could do?

          The jays are experts at locking up backup catchers like Mathis, career rehab pitchers like McGowan etc.

          Let’s say they gave Snider 3-4 milion of guaranteed money over 3 years. Wouldn’t it be worth it rather than letting Rajai Davis patrol the oF? A free agent LF would cost much more.

          I listened to the podcast & am baffled how AA could allow the top hitting prospect in the organization to be so mishandled.

          Cito & Gino not knowing Snider’s hitting profile was to be expected since they got the Jays jobs in June 2008. Snider showed up in August 2008.

      • na, they will just pick him up on waivers.
        Plus he’s not the only guy in the world who can hit a baseball.

    • I mean they did get a former top prospect. That is not in question. What is in question is whether that will prove at all useful for them.

  3. He might have spoke to soon when he said he was excited to go to a winning organization. It wouldn’t surprise me if he requested a trade

  4. from the Bluejays not the Pirates

  5. If you can’t beat out Eric Thames for a job, maybe it’s time to hang ‘em up.

  6. Snider saying “what more do I have to do?” is comical. Even his inflated Vegas numbers included poor BB/K ratios. Bottomline, he hadn’t earned a spot.

    Please tell me Davidi doesn’t have a part 4 so we can all move on?

    • I doubt players look at their BB/K ratios. Most probably just look at the baseball card stats AVG HRs RBIs. It would be up to the Jays org to set goals for Snider on that front, e.g., explain to him that he isn’t being called up because they would like to see him improve his plate discipline. We saw them do this with Lawrie.

    • That’s the bigest problem with Vegas. Inflated hitting numbers encourage the Jays to bring up players before they are ready.

      i can’t wait to see how the AAA Buffalo Jays hitting next year. Numbers should come down, so they won’yt be as promotedas quickly.

      Conversely pitchers won’t be sent from NH to Toronto with no experience.

  7. The Jays mishandling of Snider’s minor league options is the reason AA traded him for a reliever, albeit, one who was having a phenomenal year with the Pirates.

    Fact is that Snider is now out of minor league options as of 2013. So unless he finds work on the 25 man roster with the Pirates, either as a platoon guy or getting a regular gig in the outfield, look for Snider to be on the move again.

  8. Shit I hate to see him do something as potentially damaging as that to himself. I get that he was badly-used here and even though I’ve never been a real fan of his I’ve posted against how they were treating him on many occasions. But this series of articles will follow the poor guy around like a bad smell.

    That having been said, Snider’s treatment, the Darvish debacle and what’s happened recently with Escobar have me really questioning a front office that I thought was solid at last. AA isn’t a rookie GM any more and Beeston has been around since Babe Ruth. There are no excuses for the mis-steps they’ve made.

    • What does Escobar or Darvish have to do with the front office?

      • Clearly AA should be checking everyone’s equipment before the game.

      • It’s how the front office handled both those situations. I assume the front office would have had input into how to handle the Darvish circus and the Escobar mess.

        • That comment was aimed at Stoeten’s way above.
          God this is a horrible board. I can’t believe The Score can’t higher better site designers than this.

          • Agreed. The darvish debacle had Rogers sportsnet hyping the Jays chances of getting darvish with a special hour long show before the bidding winner was announced.

            Jays wouldn’t confirm weaher or not a bid was made.

            Yet a month after the announcement AA said there was never a serious bid for Darvish.

            SinceRogers owns the Jays, couldn’t they have warned them to downplay any stories about them bidding for Darvish?

            As for Escobar, Farrell was aware that he was writing “inspirational messages ” on his eye patch througout the season.

            Why didn’t any Latinos tell farrell what hewas writing was offensive on game day?

          • How was the Darvish thing a “debacle” or even poorly-handled? I think Anthopoulos has better things to do than coddle whining fans.

          • @ oakville69

            because I gather the latinos don’t find it particularly offensive.

            or everybody thinks escobar is a clown and they hung the guy out to dry, is my guess

    • Snider’s treatment? His stats at every level are almost exactly matching Eric Thames. But he’s way more injury prone. He has 8 strikeouts and 0 walks in his last 21 at bats with PIT. AA may have made mistakes, but geez read the articles or something.

      Darvish? What us NOT paying 100M+ for a guy with zero major league experience is 100% bad? It’s some binary equation with a right and a wrong answer? Do you understand how a silent bid works? Even a billion dollars would not be a guarantee of winning.

      Escobar and the front office? What the fuck do they have to do with each other? Why the fuck would a GM of a major league baseball team, prior to a week ago, worry about what words players write on their eyes. Should AA stand in the washroom all year in case Jose forgets to wipe himself?

      Maybe it’s AA’s fault that idiots like you are allowed to even go to the park.

      • snider was 2-3 years younger putting up the numbers thames did. I find it ironic that you would use that as a point but then call other people idiots.

        • Do you get extra runs awarded because you scored them with younger players?

          And anyway, I’m not denying the hype factor of Snider doing so well so young. But I am saying it is beyond idiotic to lay this all on AA (ignoring JPR, Cito, Gene, etc) and to lump it with Darvish and Yunel as being some big conclusive statement on AA.

          WAY WAY WAY WAY bigger than all 3 idiotic examples are AA’s handling of: (1) Doc trade, (2) Vernon trade, (3) Bautista, (4) Marcum/Lawrie.

          And in all 4 I am satisfied he handled them well, as well as one could ask.

          Honestly what a bunch of TMZ wankers. Yunel’s fucking eye tape reflects on AA’s GM performance? And I’m an idiot?

    • You can criticize the front office for quite a few things (sticking with Adam Lind for three terrible consecutive years, going into a season with a bunch of young question marks for a starting rotation, etc.), but I don’t see what they did wrong in either the Darvish or Escobar situations (well…I guess the weird press conference could have been better done, but that’s on the PR team).

  9. the thing about killing asset value is very interesting. snider was arguably the best asset in the organization for a good chunk of his time with the blue jays. if the jays didn’t think he was capable of ‘getting it’ or if they were unwilling (unable?) to provide him the support he needed why didn’t they trade him when his value was sky high?

    everyone, snider included, failed here… but the part that is most concerning going forward is that the organization failed horribly at every turn with an incredibly important asset. we can only hope that the current administration learned a very costly lesson.

    • This.

      • because they Jays are the only team with prospects who bust?

        • Are you a Blue Jays fan? Ya, so you should probably give a shit what the TOR Org does with it’s assets, unless you enjoying being a .500 perpetually.

    • @ ryan

      As far as the organization failing horribly at every turn.
      Respectfully disagree.

      • based on?

        The criticisms and coaching style is what it is. but the fact that the jays had this coveted asset and never gave him the opportunity to swing through his troubles at the major league level was a huge failure.

        Splitting time with fred lewis, being platooned, being sent back down we’re all huge failures for a team that didn’t need wins.

        you have a star prospect, you let him play, you can’t send him down when he struggles, that fucks with the guys mind too much.

        • I like your point – especially about “..a team that didn’t need wins.”

          What did the Jays have to lose by playing Snider over Lewis, Davis, etc.?

          It’s not like they were even close to a playoff spot.

    • well said.

      but he was offered an extension, which is conflicting with the ‘he won’t get it’ theory.

      but you’re 100% right, at some point of his young career, Snider was probably the biggest piece of a trade that never happened for an ace or justin upton, instead they were forced to move him for a reliever

    • The fact is that if the Pirates had treated Snider like the Jays did, AA would bcalling the Pittsburg GM every day to try & get him from pittsburgh.

      AA allowed the team to mishadle it’s top prospect when the team believes it has a competitive advantage in targetting formely hyped prospects who haven’t done well with their existing teams.

      Morrow,Escobar,Rasmus Edwin are all examples of this.

  10. I blogged about the Davidi article on my website. In the end, I conclude that the team has to do what’s right for the team, not for the player. At some point, Anthopoulos had to look at Snider and think to himself “we’ve invested enough in this kid, and he hasn’t proven himself”.

    And let’s face it, Snider was a great propsect. At age 20, he was one of four people to hit over .300 that year. He was compared (rightly so) to Jay Bruce who had his own meteoric rise in 2007.

    When Snider came up through the minor league system, he was coddled and shielded, especially in the time around his mother’s sudden death just after the season ended in Lansing. When he finally made it to the majors, he was greeted by the seriously rookie-challenged Cito Gaston and Gene Tenace, who didn’t understand how attached Snider’s ego and success was tied to baseball.

    Snider admits it himself — hs game suffered with what was going on inside his head, which is just emotional immaturty. Yet, when given opportunity to learn his lessons over and over again, be it his demotion in 2009, his 2010 demotion and injuries, his 2011 lackluster season, and his failure to miss the starting lineup in 2012, he hasn’t really learned. He has told the media now that he had to take time to refocus on the game, and frankly, managers don’t have time to let him make these adjustments on the field, especially to someone who hasn’t proved himself at the MLB level.

    And even with Pittsburgh after the trade he started off great, batting .300 up until August 28. Then, after that, he bat .111 with no extra base hits, and hurt his hamstring. Taking a month to to adjust and get his head in shape just doesn’t cut it in the majors.

    Snider indeed will be a great player if he can just get through his failures much quicker and be more consistent on the field. He is capable of greatness — he just has to execute.

    • What is the evidence that Snider is ‘capable of greatness’? I would call that hypberbole of the first order. All he’s shown at the MLB level is that he’s capable of being pretty good for a couple of weeks whenever he gets called up or otherwise changes scenery (traded).

  11. More than anything, these three articles have reaffirmed for me how important the mental side of sports is for athletes. If you’re struggling with that (as Snider clearly was), it’s hard to even begin to reach your potential. Success starts with an immense internal belief in yourself and your ability to overcome any obstacle. Snider didn’t appear to have that quality (and he may still not). He may have been his own worst enemy here.

    It’s also quite clear that Snider is very different than your average professional baseball player. Not in thinking these thoughts (and I’m sure many do privately), but few would ever agree to this kind of interview and admit how much self-doubt and uncertainty they had about their career. And as Stoeten said, this may actually hurt his reputation around baseball more than anything else. When Dirk Hayhurst admitted many of the same things in his books, he essentially became an outcast to the baseball establishment and his baseball career now appears to be over (although it might have been heading that way, anyway). Unlike Hayhurst, though, he’s still young and talented enough that he should get many more shots with MLB teams, but I don’t see how it will help anything.

    None of this is to say that mistakes weren’t made with Travis, though. From Gaston to Anthopoulos, there were a lot of things that could have been done better. To end up reducing his value to that point and then selling low for a middle reliever has to be considered a huge failure on management’s part.

  12. ^^^^ This has nothing to do with the thread, well, it does. He’s at least good for a great catch or two…haha.

  13. Everyone keeps wondering why Snider was so candid. My impression was that he wants to tell his story to help out other young players deal with the stresses of being a prospect and trying to make it. He points out his own hubris, his ego and his mistakes and how he’s tried to change his approach to adversity. I think reading this could be immensely helpful to others going through the process if nothing else than to help them realize that they’re not the only ones to go through those feelings and emotions.

  14. remember sring of 2010 when KC wanted Drabek and Snider for Greinke? yeah, I betcha AA remembers. You really only get skewered for some deals you make -here is one we didn’t, and admittedly, in hindsight, it was a horrible mistake.

  15. Will Snider be in Japan in 2013?

  16. Can’t believe that Snider’s career is going to end up a lot like a player I once though had potential – Rich Becker… Bounce around – start for some stretches, platoon a little – never amount to anything… Looks like it will be the case…

  17. This article made me angry about the trade all over again. Why the fuck did we trade Travis for a fucking low-leverage reliever when everyone – AA, Wilner, Stoeten, the GB guys – spent pretty much the last 3 years harping on how EASY it is to build a bullpen compared to the rest of the team?

    Because god forbid we actually have a left fielder who’s capable of providing even a glimmer of hope in his competence.

    Fuck we’d better get a left fielder this offseason. Its just such a joke that we keep running Davis out there like he’s not fucking terrible. AA dug this massive caterous hole in the lineup on purpose. If I hear him give one single interview where he talks about the ‘great things they’ve seen in Sierra’s swing over the winter’ I’m gonna pop a blood vessel because then all the relentlessly negative idiots will have been right the whole time.

    Also love that they were all eating steaks at Travis’ house. Classic.

    • What part of we were going to lose him anyways don’t you people understand? He doid not want to sign an extension, he was out of options, he was seemingly always injured, he was inconsistent, and as we now can see he was a bit of a mental basket case. If AA was offered Mike Trout for him, he would have done it but as things go Brad Lincoln was the best they got. Deal with.

      • the belief that for opening day in 2013 he wasnt currently our best LF option is shocking to me.

        what from sierra, Gose, Davis fuck even rasmus, gives any one the confidence to say that all of those guys will be better than snider in 2013.

        because as shitty as snider has been since the trade, rasmus, gose, davis and sierra have all been SHITTIER

      • At the simplest level, I think the fact that Travis did not sign the offered extension is the key pivot in the “case” He admits it distracted him for far too long, worrying about whether he had made the wrong choice. He had. Maybe the team got lucky. Too soon to tell. (see below)

    • +1.

      It will be funny to see if anyone in the media challenges AA this offeseason does not get anything done.

      Best one liners from AA was when they said cecil could pitch better because he lost 30 pounds & last year, when they said he lost weght so he could throw better to 1B.

      Both cases ended up as a disaster.

  18. In part 10 of shi davidi’s intsallment, snider talks about the day his mother stopped breast feeding him and how he’d thought he’d never get milk again. Then he fell off his bike and got a booboo and nobody kissed it for him. These were tremendous learning experiences for snider that made him mentally stronger as a man.

  19. this way and that way … but where is the middle? Baseball teaches us that at any moment we do not KNOW anything. Anything can happen. Will this be good or bad for Travis? Hard to say; maybe a new-time manager like Joe Madden can make something of him BECAUSE he knows this stuff. Baseball is changing very rapidly as the enormous data streams flood over the banks of old-time baseball “truths” … the cycle of the necessity of adjusting to adjustments is down to days, if not innings and individual failures of stars, unexpected, are increasing. Tim L. who up until now was one of the wiliest characters at adjusting as necessary has fallen out of sync with whatever his environment is at present … not to say he might make an amazing comeback. It’s way too soon to tell whether Jays won that trade. If Baltimore is showing anything this year, it is that a solid pen is a necessary asset and we are going in that direction, at least. Whether Mr. Lincoln is a key to that pen remains to be seen. I hope Travis’ honesty will help others; Jim Leyland said in an interview that managing can no longer be done as it was in the past and he would be the best to know that that shift has taken place. An “inefficiency” that will always exist is human nature and the team that learns how to be most skillful with its collection of humans has an advantage. Again, at this point, we do not yet know if PB, AA, JF and the coaches have the necessary skills. Now that we don’t have Travis as a test, Ricky will have to do and I submit that he represents what I have been trying to write about. When Dirk said he was embarrassed, not an embarrassment, some idiot media guy went and asked Ricky what he thought of Dirk call him an embarrassment, when Dirk’s point on the noon show was that they should get Ricky out of the glare of the main stage, so that he could work out whatever he needs to. That said, illustrates how complex this all is with so many layers that the simplistic binary stuff making up a lot of the discussion, misses what can be the deep enjoyment of the game. When I say that AA is a ninja-juggler-on-a-tightrope, that is less a complement, than a description of the challenges he faces in a constantly shifting landscape of gray areas.

  20. I don’t think that the Jays are going to regret dealing Snider, even if Lincoln ends up throwing his arm half way to home plate. The reason I say that is that, the Jays have some guys coming through the system now that have a potential to be great, like Travis, and if they do realize it, bam superstar, and if not well they have more guys coming through the system. Plus, if AA is feeling super frisky this winter, I am sure he could find someone to play LF for him. The amount of relief pitching the Jays have… well we seen them all this summer and holy fuck what a sorry lot.

  21. I wonder if Davidi gets the cold shoulder from the Jays front office for putting this little peel & reveal together. Love it when one foot steps on the other in the mighty Rogers empire.

    • Huh? If anything, one should wonder about the integrity of the piece precisely BECAUSE Davidi is a Rogers employee.

      I’m sure the FO loved the article. It disparges a piece they traded away (controversially), and makes the FO look better (not that they looked bad at all, IMO) on the trade.

      If Davidi had done a PRO-Snider article, then it would be worth wondering if the team would give him the cold shoulder.

      These piece could very well have been commisioned by the team.

      • Davidi did get Cito & AA’s input to Snider’s comments.

        It wsn’t a hatchet job on AA.

        Jays front office does look weaker as a result of the interview, but since Cito, & gene & Riccardi aren’t active it doesn’t matter.

        AA looks smart at having offering Snider a contract extension, despite not uch performance from Snider.

        But, its puzzling that there was no follow up after the end of 2011.

  22. some facts re. jays treatment/mistreatment of snider that i don’t think have been mentioned above:
    1) he is an above average fielder. the jays (and most teams) do not seem to know how to value fielding.
    2) he is a lefty hitting outfielder. the jays have been righty dominated for years.
    3) he has decent to above average speed.
    4) he never received the chance to hit in the prizes number 2 spot ahead of bautista (and encarnacion) unlike patterson, johnson, rasmus etc,

    Combined with the dearth of left field (and arguably center field ) players in the Jays org, it would have paid for the jays to play him even if he was hitting at a .230 ba and a .700 ops.

  23. He’s a bitch. lol

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