Travis Snider had a huge game for Las Vegas last night, going 4-for-5 with a double and two home runs, and intensifying the calls for him to be promoted, and questions about why it was Anthony Gose and not he who got the call in the wake of Jose Bautista’s injury.
Our old friend the Tao of Stieb is leading the charge in this regard, absolutely losing his mind over the relationship between player and club, which he calls “a step short of abusive and a step beyond insulting.” Gose’s apparent leapfrogging of Snider on the depth chart was, for him, the final straw in a long line of abuses that has, in the past two years, seen the Jays decide “that Rajai Davis, Eric Thames, Ben Francisco, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, Dewayne Wise, Adam Loewen and Mike McCoy were all better options than Travis Snider,” which would sound pretty damning if it were entirely true, or if the situation weren’t a little more complicated than that.
Loewen didn’t suit up for the Jays until September of last year, after Snider had been shut down with wrist tendinitis, for example. Rivera and Snider were both in the lineup most of April of last year, and Snider was hurt for the majority of the time while Rivera was playing the outfield from mid-June until he was dealt to Los Angeles in early July, meaning that Rivera was only technically ahead of him on the left field depth chart for about ten games. McCoy played alongside Snider in the outfield at the start of last year, after Rajai Davis went down Opening Day, and again only for a few games in mid-August before Snider, then in the minors, was shut down. Dewayne Wise also only patrolled the Jays’ outfield after Snider was finished, in late August and for much of September. And this year you can’t really say that Ben Francisco has had a starting gig at all.
But sure, the overall point stands that the Jays have put some terrible players ahead of Snider.
Eric Thames’ 2011 was on par with Snider’s 2010, except that Snider actually provided defensive value and was perceived as having a far higher offensive upside. This year Rajai Davis has sunk into fucking oblivion, posting worse numbers in terms of on-base, OPS, wOBA and wRC+ than even the meagre numbers Snider has posted during his unsuccessful and intermittent big league stints. And Anthony Gose, while extremely talented, is very young, and very green at the plate.
Absent of context, it’s hard to see a reason for Snider to have ever ceded playing time to any of these guys (unless you’re one of those poor souls who asininely believes Snider has already demonstrated more than enough that he can’t succeed at the big league level). But context here is kind of the whole story.
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