Following yesterday afternoon’s 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that Travis Snider would be rejoining the team after completing a three month odyssey at Triple A Las Vegas. In order to make room for the left fielder on the active roster, the Blue Jays designated Juan Rivera for assignment.

It always seemed like a contradiction to me that Snider was sent down to the minors after less than 100 plate appearances with the justification that something was wrong with his swing and the Majors were no place to work on it, while the Blue Jays organization continued to extend Job like patience to Kyle Drabek at the big league level despite his seeming inability to hit the strike zone with anything resembling consistency. That comparison makes me assume that there was more to the story of Snider getting sent down than what has been revealed.

Nonetheless, he’s back after almost 50 games in the Minor Leagues, and I look forward to the inevitable comparison in his swing mechanics between the last time he played in a Blue Jays uniform and this time. While in Las Vegas, Snider compiled a .399 wOBA and an .891 OPS, which tells us absolutely nothing, given that a) it’s Triple A, b) it’s the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, and c) the numbers he put up in his first month of the season aren’t that dissimilar from the numbers he put up in the first month of last season, which were followed by an outstanding May (before he got injured).

With Jose Bautista on an odyssey of his own at third base, it’s expected that Snider will get as much playing time in the outfield as he wants. One brief note: if Snider has continued to throw as well at Las Vegas as he was in Toronto during the first month of the year, there is no question in my mind that he should be playing in right field, with Eric Thames in left. Thames most glaring weakness, other than an inability to take a pitch (no one’s complaining now, but wait), is his arm, which could be hidden in left field more than in right. I also wouldn’t be against Snider continuing his experiments in center field from time to time, which he started while in Triple A.

As for the Death From Above for Juan Rivera, meh. Rivera’s contributions to the team have been infrequent at best, and his awful play in left field over the weekend combined with a complete inability to hit right handed pitching likely sealed the deal for him.

When he was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Vernon Wells trade, it was assumed to be a case of, “If you want us to take Wells off your hands, then you’ve gotta take Rivera off ours.” And his play since coming over indicates that the assumption was correct. The Blue Jays will pay Rivera the remainder of the $5.25 million he’s owed for this year, minus the league minimum if he’s picked up by another team from waivers, and assuming he’s not traded while designated for assignment (a very safe bet).

While Snider’s demotion may have been unexpected, I think that most Blue Jays fans believed that as the season progressed the team would begin to look more and more like the squad that the organization hopes will compete in the American League East. The recent roster moves involving Rivera and Jayson Nix are mere examples of the paring down that’s bound to happen in the next few months.

Comments (20)

  1. Snider is out of options, so it’s time for him to get serious. The team won’t have the luxury of playing ping pong with him again in 2012.

  2. I saw this last night and I couldn’t believe it. Travis Snider tweeted about something that isn’t food!

  3. Apple Cheeks is back! Any chance we can play him at second?

  4. I don’t think Snider has ever not been serious about the game, anyone can go through a slump in 100 PAs. Snider had nothing left to prove at AAA, should have been in the big leagues the whole time.

  5. Well, here we go! Time to start getting a look at the kids. Something will happen with Rivera… and… excuse me if I’m wrong, but… if the Jays tell Rivera to go to AAA and he doesn’t, he waives his monies, doesn’t he?

  6. @Linz1 Maybe he can play CF and 2B at the same time! Who needs Davis and Hill? #beastmode

  7. Why the Jays thought they had something in Nix that they didn’t already have in McCoy continues to be a mystery. I’m glad that the team has finally realized that still having options was not enough of a justification for keeping McCoy behind Nix on the depth chart.

  8. It still is mystifying to me that Nix’s playing time couldn’t have gone to emaus.

  9. He can refuse and still get paid. Think B.J. Ryan.

  10. I found Snider’s previous tweet quoting LL Cool J to be extremely interesting. The tweet demonstrates that far from losing confidence after being sent to Vegas, in his mind, he never left the majors (“don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years”). Even so, he is now motivated to get back to “rockin [his] peers and puttin suckas in fear”.
    I appreciate Snider’s analogy between his early major league career and the early discography of LL Cool J but do find the comparison somewhat troubling. Snider has generally played well in his three years in the Jays, and has for brief periods, looked like a star. However, for him to compare his .322 career wOBA to a classic album like Radio either overestimates his past value as a major leaguer or underestimates the legacy of LL Cool J. For these reasons, I remain unconvinced Snider will ever be a great player.

  11. OF will be crowded when Lawrie comes up. Especially if Thames and Snider hit. Do we see Davis as the #4 OF and Patterson joing the DFA list?

  12. … as a further note, how can he quote LL Cool Jay without making reference to his skills as a producer and actor?

  13. @JRock Stick JohnnyMac at second and leave him there when Escobar gets back! I know they’d like to give Aaron “AlreadyOverThe” Hill some exposure before the trade deadline but I’m not sure I can stand much more of the pop-up King. Sorry. I know this is supposed to be about Snider’s return. Let’s get back to discussing the other can’t-miss cornerstone-of-the-future .210 hittin’ young superstar…

  14. I think LL should play centre.

  15. When you say that there is “more to the story of Snider getting sent down than what has been revealed”, what do you suspect might be the reason? Service time issues?

  16. dustin, remember travis has a history of not listening, think last year with cito. do you really think they sent him down without first trying to get him to change his swing? he obviously wouldn’t or couldn’t adjust so the only remedy was to force him to by doing it in the minors.

    there’s also the hidden agenda of trying to boost rivera’s trade value by playing him more. I think the only reason he got called up was because farrell must have blown a gasket over the weekend with rivera’s two blown balls over his head.

  17. I have to disagree with the small sample size as an argument for sending him down. Sure, his numbers weren’t great, but the coaches didn’t need another month to see that his swing needed work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *