In an almost wholly unbelievable piece of news for a team that has no intention of competing this season, the Toronto Blue Jays sent down their admittedly struggling prospect Travis Snider to Triple A Las Vegas.

The last time Snider was in Triple A, it was in 2009, and his OPS was 1.094 after 204 plate appearances. In other words, he has absolutely nothing to prove.

I can’t even begin to fathom the thinking behind not giving Snider, whose upside is as large as his appetite, every opportunity to succeed at the Major League level in an otherwise meaningless season. The only reasoning I can come up with is as bizzare as it is berserk.

Rajai Davis is expected to come off the Disabled List tomorrow and it frightens me to think that Snider being sent down was done so with the purpose of giving Corey Patterson more at bats. Yes, he’s had some good games for the Toronto Blue Jays in his 70 or so plate appearances this season, but Patterson has a sub .300 career OBP. More than 70% of his times at the plate end in outs.

Another option is that the move is designed to give Juan Rivera more playing time to hopefully boost his trade value. Fine. But expectations for anything other than salary relief is probably misguided no matter how well he’s played for the last week.

Another, even worse option, would see Scott Podsednik come off the Disabled List along with Davis. In addition to Snider being demoted, Chris Woodward was outrighted to Las Vegas. That’s two holes in the active roster that the Blue Jays will be filling in the near future. Giving playing time to Podsednik at the cost of Snider has even less logic behind it than doing the same thing with Patterson.

In summation, there’s nothing to be gained by demoting Snider. He knows he can hit there, so there’s not going to be a magical increase in confidence that will somehow be the key to all his struggles. Those replacing him, who will be given his at bats in Toronto, will, as a best case scenario, be traded before the July 31st deadline for returns that no one would place much faith in.

I’m really looking forward to finding out the corresponding roster moves because right now, I can’t explain why this demotion has taken place.

Update:

Shi Davidi is reporting that in addition to Rajai Davis coming off the DL, former first base prospect David Cooper will be called up. I guess that’s because between Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion and Juan Rivera the Blue Jays don’t have enough players who can DH or play first base. Seriously though, I’m not sure how less than 100 PAs at the MLB level for one left hander speak to his need for improvement while less than 100 PAs at the AAA level speak to a need for promotion. And also, where is Cooper going to play?

Thoughts On Service Time

Snider entered this seasonwith one year and 126 days of service time. A full year in a Blue Jays uniform would’ve meant two years and 126 days of service. Last season, the Super Two cut off was two years and 122 days, but experts say that 2011 will have a much later cut off, somewhere around two years and 144 days. Snider is still expected to miss that number by eighteen days. Aside from that and for what it’s worth, Alex Anthopoulos has stressed in the past that he wouldn’t let financial matters dictate roster moves. So, I don’t see that being the case, unless something has drastically changed in last couple weeks to lower the cut off date.

Video

Our instant analysis, as soon as we learn of the demotion:

Comments (70)

  1. Nice webcast today. I hope patterson isn’t taking Snider’s job.

  2. Still trying to make sense of this.

    Are they brining up Thames maybe? (long shot)

    Give Rivera or Patterson more playtime to make them more attractive trade baits?

    Something wrong with Snider that we don’t know?

    JP Riccardi is back?!

  3. I just can’t understand why they’d spend the entire offseason talking about giving him a chance to play every day and then send him down in APRIL. To a level he’s already dominated, no less. Wow.

  4. Maybe Lawrie is lonely and needs a friend.

  5. Dunno how much stock to out into this but Davidi says he hears they’ll bring up Cooper. Which makes even less sense.

  6. My thoughts: http://bit.ly/ikrv1N

  7. I usually don’t get too emotional over these things, but this one is the exception. I’m livid right now.

    This is how promising teams mess things up. The Jays seem to put way too much stock in small smaple sizes. It’s April. One month doesn’t change Patterson’s careeer stats or Snider’s real potential.

  8. Cooper? At first or DH? so confusing.

  9. Not to get all “every move AA makes is to set up a trade”, but there’s no way Cooper makes any sense unless someone’s leaving the org. for good.

  10. For serious. This is a million kinds of fucked.

  11. utter lunacy. AA please stop letting Cito fill out the roster movement forms for fun…not funny

  12. Brandon….Wood. That is all.

  13. This move by AA is completely unacceptable.

    The jays want to be seen as a team that is building for the future.

    Snider is struggling, but he is part of the CORE. He is contributing with clutch RBI’s

    It makes no sense in a rebuilding year, to send him to AAA
    while giving at bats to Patterson, Rivera, McCoy etc

  14. This move by AA is completely unacceptable.

    The jays want to be seen as a team that is building for the future.

    Snider is struggling, but he is part of the CORE. He is contributing with clutch RBI’s

    It makes no sense in a rebuilding year, to send him to AAA
    while giving at bats to Patterson, Rivera, McCoy etc

  15. Anyone watch, or listen to the Primetime Sports segment with Greg Zaun.

    The words “AAAA player” were mentioned.

    I am scared.

  16. Confidence? Mechanics? Attitude?

    Lot’s of things we’re not privy to, but yeah — this is odd.

  17. At the beginning of the season I was excited to see my Jays back on the field. One month later and it looks like my Jays are gone and the Idiots from Rodgers Baseball Operations are back. April’s not even over and Rodgers is already shitting the bed.

  18. Could it just be that they want to play Juan Rivera and E5, but they really don’t want E5 in the field?

  19. So we’re all clear:

    - Snider’s wRC+ is currently 60. 60!
    - His wOBA is a mere .257.
    - He’s popping up on almost a quarter of his fly balls (22.7% IFFB).
    - His HR/FB is down to 4.5% (career 14.5%).
    - He’s posting the highest GB rate he’s ever had (49.2%, career 42.5%).
    - His ISO is a pitiful .084.

    (All numbers as of last night’s Fangraphs updates.)

    Now, his K rate isn’t far off his (short) career norms, and his walk rate’s improved, but Jesus, something’s fucked up with his swing right now.

  20. This makes zero sense, from any perspective. Seriously – AA has built up a lot of good faith with the way he’s run this team, but a huge chunk of it just went flying out the window. Absolutely NO reason for this.

  21. Unless there is another move coming.. Which seems unlikely, it is actually simple..

    Cooper to DH
    Encarnacion to 3B
    Rivera to LF

  22. I’ve agreed with the vast majority of AA’s moves but not this one at all. Snider will go to Vegas and rake but he should be learning at the major league level, not at triple A. My biggest fear now is seeing a game an outfield of Davis-Patterson-Podsednik, which might be the worst OF in recent Jays history.

    As for Cooper, does it mean Rivera plays some left field? Lind and Rivera are two of the better hitters lately so it seems as though Cooper will be on the bench only?

  23. I just don’t understand. Snider to AAA based on a three week slump? Cooper to the DH role in the majors based on a good month of April in Vegas?

    Who the hell makes a decision like this?

  24. This is completely ridiculous.

    There’s no way Patterson, Podsednik or Rivera will draw any additional interest from a team because they’re playing every day.

    What a disaster.

  25. Also, shouldn’t Cecil be in double A? If you’re trying to get a pitcher’s confidence back, I’m not sure the PCL is the place to do it.

  26. Hey, lets look on the bright side here: That Las Vegas line-up is going to rake!

  27. I mean, wasn’t this the point of the 2011 season, anyway? To find out what Snider and Arencibia are capable of in the majors? Isn’t that what management was saying only last month.

    Fuck, man, I can’t help but think that Scott Podsednik is going to find his way into that starting LF position in May.

  28. This move makes about as much sense as this: http://bit.ly/fQ1R8E

  29. What I’m worried the most about is how this will mess up Snider’s mind, self-confidence and trust in the organization.

    We don’t need another Accardo-type case!

  30. Raymond, just so we’re all clear, you’re referring to numbers accumulated over 87 fucking AB over three and a half weeks.

  31. We all suspected that AA was never really high on Snider and now here’s the proof. Sending him down in April is insane.

  32. Snider is on the all star ballot. Vote him in.

  33. @Fullmer Fan:

    95 PA (plus today’s). Swing % stabilizes by 50 PA, contact % by 100, K%, LD%, P/PA by 150 (as per Pizza Cutter’s research, referenced at http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/when-samples-become-reliable/).

  34. Raymond, so you’re just going to ignore all those plate appearances that Snider had in 2009 and 2010 when he was moderately successful? All because he had a bad 3.5 weeks in April?

    Insanity.

  35. Of course, I don’t even know why I’m debating numbers. They don’t matter.

    The Jays are replacing 23 year-old Travis Snider in April in LF with Juan Rivera/Corey Patterson in a rebuilding year. The craziness speaks for itself.

  36. Can’t wait for Wilner’s apologia for this crap decision.

  37. This is fuckin’ stupid.

  38. Yeah, he raked in 47 PA in May last year. August and September, he was kinda league average (wRC+ of 76 in Aug, 119 in Sep) and took a grand total of 7 walks in 188 PA those last two months.

    Maybe, just maybe, he’s not the beast we’re hoping for.

  39. I don’t agree with demoting him but there is something seriously wrong with his swing. It is is way to loopey. Maybe they figure he can better fix it in AAA But they should give him more time to work on it up here.

  40. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s a 23 year-old in a one month slump and should be allowed a full season to prove what he is either way.

    You know, it might be a better plan than giving proven mediocrity like Juan Rivera and Corey Patterson more AB.

  41. Raymond, he might not be the beast, but he is a far better option than Rivera, Patterson, and eventually Podsednick.

  42. Fullmer, spot on.

  43. There is only one good aspect of this move for me.

    I live in Calgary.

    It’s easier for me to see Snider in a ballpark now.

    As if it matters.

    Jays fans can be very patient as long as they know that there is a plan. Looking forward to hear from AA how this move is in line with The Plan.

  44. I’m just saying his swing’s fucked up (at least right now), and there are indications something else may be going on.

  45. From DJF:

    “Last year through April 27, Snider was hitting .127/.257/.254/.511, albeit in 20 fewer plate appearances. This year it’s .181/.277/.265/.542.”

    In May, of course, last year Snider started dominating. It was just a fucking one month slump, just as it would have likely been this year had the Jays not done something colossally stupid.

  46. Why send down a utility infielder and a LF/RF for a DH/1B and an OF?
    Another move coming? Lind being traded?

  47. This is the epitome of short sighted.

  48. Snider’s swing is in shambles right now. You send him down for the exact same reasons you sent Cecil down. To get it back.

    No one was complaining when Cecil was sent down. This is the same situation. He will get it fixed playing every day in triple A, he will come back up, he will rake. You aren’t giving up on him, you are fixing a problem somewhere where it can be fixed more adequately. If you could do this with Hill last year, you would have.

    So everybody take a deep breath. Snider will be back, and he still has a good chance to be awesome.

  49. We don’t know if this is short-sighted or not.

    Wait for an explanation first.

    I can’t believe I used an apostrophe in “Lots” in my previous post. Embarrassing.

  50. Other Scott:

    “Snider’s swing is in shambles right now.”

    “No one was complaining when Cecil was sent down.”

    Exactly.

  51. No one was complaining when Cecil went down because that move actually made sense and had a baseball justification. This doesn’t…Snider was putting up the same numbers at the same time last year, and was allowed to play and succeed.

  52. Cecil had confidence/mental issues on the mound, that wasn’t some kind of regular slump he was dealing with. The guy truly stopped believing in his own ability to get major league hitters out.

    Where is the evidence that Snider’s poor start is anything more than just a slump like it was in 2010?

  53. During the Cito’s 2nd stint in Toronto, wasn’t it alluded that Snider’s attitude was a big reason he was not getting the playing time many of us expected? Maybe this young buck has a big mouth and they simply refuse to have any more Shea Hillenbrand around this team again. We all laugh at the idea of team chemistry and all that supposed bullshit, but perhaps the players and coaches care more than we are led to believe… or maybe they just care when you cant back it all up with numbers.

  54. The fact that he was weakly waving at pitches instead of taking his swings at them. The fact he showed enough frustration that he broke a baseball bat over his leg. That doesn’t sound like confidence/ mental issues to you?

    You can put up bad numbers because you’ve been eaten by the luck dragon, or you aren’t seeing the ball well, or you can put up bad numbers because there’s an issue with the swing/ approach. With Snider this year, you can see it is the second. Sometimes numbers don’t tell you the whole story.

  55. If you were watching the games, you’d have seen that Snider’s been hitting the ball hard for about a week now (even today, too). There is nothing to indicate in his overall numbers that this is anything more than a regular slump like he had last year.

    Not that any of this should even matter, though, it’s insane to be sending the guy down in a development year when it’s not even in May.

  56. This franchise is a joke.

  57. Fucking hate this move. But whatever, he’ll be back in a week or two.

  58. Really? This is apocalyptic? The OF will be Bautista, Davis and Rivera for now. Hardly the end of the world giving Rivera some AB’s. He’s had a rough start, but he is perfectly capable of helping out. Lind plays first… E5 at third (god I wish he could learn to catch OR throw…) and Cooper gets a taste of the majors at DH. Snider just gets a few weeks working on his swing in a less stressful environment, while Cooper gets the reverse. I can’t see how a month in AAA will crush Snider, nor how it is so awful to see a month of Cooper.

  59. AA: “What’s the deal with that Snider kid?”

    Farrell: “Kid needs to learn how to hit breaking balls”

    AA: “He needs someone to break his balls? We’ll send him down to Vegas”

    Fans: “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKK!!!!1!”

  60. In a related matter… Brett Wallace is absolutely ripping it up.

    • “Ripping it up” with a small R. Lots of singles and a very high in-play average. It does appear that concerns he’d “never hit” were overblown.

      That’s a whole lot of singles hitter though.

  61. We’ve got a hell of a team in Vegas.

  62. I think with Cecil being sent down with almost the same service time, this screams of making sure that both are protected from Super Two status. I have a feeling they’ll both be back up in less than two weeks. Cecil needs to work out some mechanical issues so that makes sense. I still have no fucking idea what in the b’jesus they’re thinking with Snider outside of the Super Two thing, and even then I thought AA wasn’t going to play those games.

  63. Maybe they’re bringing Cooper up to give a bit of a shot in the bigs, let other teams see a bit of him, and if does well then use him as trade bait? Realistically, if players on the current roster progress the way they should, Cooper is likely going to be blocked at 1B and DH, so they might as well pawn him off to someone.

  64. Personally I would have sent Snider to AAA right after the season opener to work on that sorry moustache he was sporting…

  65. I don’t want to be “that guy”, but AA has made some pretty questionable moves over the last year. I don’t want to call for his head, but I don’t think he is completely untouchable either.

    1. Brett Wallace for Anthony Gose (Wallace, in MLB = .373 AVG; Gose, in AA = .205 AVG)
    2. Mike Napoli for Frank Fransisco (Napoli is raking, while Fransisco is in an overcrowded bullpen, and hasn’t really shown anything amazing yet)
    3. Snider to AAA. (Inexplicable)

    Then again, this is the guy that traded away Vernon Wells’ contract… does that give him a carte blanche for the rest of his career??

    • At the risk of being “that guy” also (though I’m pretty clearly “that guy” on a full time basis) judging the Gose/Wallace trade on the strength of their 2011 batting averages misses the point of the trade – and Anthony Gose in general – completely.

  66. I don’t want to be “that guy” either but, how about Brandon League, for Brandon Morrow,
    picking up Drabek, Gose*, and d’Arnaud for a pitcher who only wanted to go to one team. Escobar for Gonzalez, Villanueva for ??. Pretty hard to judge Fransico on 4.1 innings coming off a minor injury.

    Its funny there is no more talk around here how bad the Bautista contract is? Whats up with that.

    To me Anthopolous has been pretty good so far, I’m willing to give him the benifit of the doubt he sees something with Snider that needs to be worked on away from the ML. He is only 23, still younger than Cooper who was struggling in AA at the same age. How quickly things can change…

  67. Napoli would help the Jays this year as a backup 1B, C & DH.

    Francisco is a luxury to a team with plenty of bullpen depth.

    Rivera in LF is not a good idea.

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