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.