Okay, let’s get this overused metaphor out of the way, so that I can carry on with the rest of the post: Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays were awaiting super prospect Brett Lawrie’s promotion from Triple A like a child attempting to fall asleep on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Following a disastrously maddening conclusion to the Blue Jays series in Tampa Bay, the team announced that Lawrie would be joining the big club in time for its weekend series with the Baltimore Orioles beginning Friday night. He will take the roster place of the oft moved Travis Snider who once again will be sent on an odyssey to Triple A Las Vegas in the hope that he can finally find himself.

It’s expected that Lawrie will slot in at third base, allowing Jose Bautista to move back to right field, a position that the slugger prefers playing, and one that I, personally, prefer watching him play. Here’s some of the fancy footwork and natural defensive ability that we have to look forward to at the hot corner.

While his defensive pedigree may be up for some criticism, it’s difficult to find any negatives to his offensive approach. In 324 plate appearances at Triple A this season, Lawrie has accumulated an astounding weighted on base average of .460 in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. He’s hit 18 home runs and gotten on base more than 36% of the time while slugging an ominous .666.

As previously mentioned, the move comes at Travis Snider’s expense.

In an ongoing narrative of mishandling, the once highly touted prospect is again being sent down after struggling during his limited action since being promoted back to the big leagues at the beginning of July. Snider, who has yet to spend a full season receiving consistent at bats at the Major League level, has now been demoted twice this season, each time after only a hundred plate appearances.

I don’t necessarily agree with calling Lawrie up at this point in the season and starting the clock on his service time, but I understand the thinking behind it, and I don’t think it’s a horribly atrocious move by any means. What I don’t understand is the motivation or rationale behind sending Snider back down once again.

Doesn’t it come across as a bit of a contradiction or at least a mixed message that the Blue Jays organization prides itself on the way that it gave Jose Bautista playing time when no one else would, along with enough breathing room to grow into the player that he has become? Or how about the team’s transaction history which is riddled with multiple examples of the team acquiring problem players at a discounted price and giving them the room to grow and succeed? Why is it so easy to do this for other teams’ troubled players but Travis Snider isn’t given enough rope to last longer than a month on this team, despite showing the type of elite potential that general manager Alex Anthopoulos claims to desire.

In many ways, I think Travis Snider is exactly the type of player that the Blue Jays would make a well-praised deal for if he weren’t already on this team.

In other roster moves, the Jays have placed reliever turned starter Carlos Villanueva on the Disabled List and called up starter turned reliever Luis Perez.

Comments (34)

  1. MAPLE BONERS UNITE!

  2. Because Marcus Thames is KILLING the ball, older, and slower than Snider, this move is obvious.

  3. Greg: Did you mean Eric Thames?

  4. You mean Eric Thames, who has gone 0 for his last 19 at-bats? That is the guy killing the ball?

    But Snider does need to go down, and actually change his swing this time. Stop swinging one-handed, go to a two-handed swing.

  5. Travis Snider may not be a good, consistent major league hitter after all, but there’s no way to really know that based on how much this organization has dicked him around in his short career.

    The Jays now have a huge hole in LF in 2012 and no way to know whether Travis Snider can actually fill it. He would seem to be a superior option to Thames, but if he’s never proven he can hit consistently at the major league level, you obviously can’t hand him that kind of a job in a contending year.

    So disappointing.

  6. Parkes – I agree that Snider is the type of player they’d target, but sending him down when he is struggling this badly is hardly inconsistent.

    The only two guys we can really compare to are Bautista and Escobar. Bautista came here under a different regime, but wasn’t given an everyday spot until September 09 – more than a year after he’d been acquired. And even then, he was only given the spot because they had just dumped Rios and there was nobody better, plus he started crushing the ball, plus he was out of options.

    Escobar was also a different situation, as he had a pretty hot start to his Jays tenure, and although he cooled off some, he wasn’t playing badly towards the end of last year. And again, they had nobody better to play at shortstop.

    Snider has been sent down each time because his performance has been terrible. It makes sense because he still has options so they don’t risk losing him, and they feel like they have someone better who also deserves the playing time.

    Rasmus might be a good a comp, but obviously, he hasn’t been here long enough to say he is struggling terribly, albeit he had a really slow start to his Jays career. But he’s stinging the ball now, and they are starting to drop in.

    Where is the inconsistency?

    • Escobar was not an immediate success for the Jays last year. His OPS was below .700, and yet he was given the time to turn into what he is now. You say his performance has been terrible, but maybe, just maybe, 100 plate appearances staggered like that isn’t enough to tell. I guarantee that if Rasmus hit a slump similar to Snider’s they wouldn’t even consider sending him down.

  7. I disagree that Snider is exactly the type of player that AA would go for.

    Yunel – 3.7 and 4.5 WAR years before the Jays picked him up

    Rasmus – 4.3 WAR before the Jays picked him up

    Snider was on pack for a below 3 WAR year last year and has not looked good AT ALL, this year.

    AA, by and large, picks up young players who have performed in the past. In the case of Lawrie, he was trusting his scouts, the same scouts that are likely telling him that sumin ain’t right with Snider.

  8. Snider has looked terrible at the plate, when was the last time he hit the ball hard? I’m thinking they’re seeing some of the same problems they saw before with him and I’d rather he work it out in AAA than against some of the pitchers here in the majors.

    As for Thames, he’s been struggling but I don’t think much has changed in his swing or approach. Lately he seems to be getting out on a lot of change ups or all offspeed pitches, which is probably easier to work on than an overhaul of your swing mechanics.

  9. Escobar and Rasmus are completely different because they’ve had past success and have shown the can hit at this level. Snider has shown spurts, but nothing has been sustained. His approach has been awful and I don’t think letting him continue to play is going to help him any. You could just see the frustration on his face after he reached base on a fielder’s choice today.

  10. Parkes,

    I agree with Michael. Although Yunel wasn’t lighting it up with the Jays when he got here, he was successful in Atlanta.

    Also, I’m no scout but I Snider has just been looking brutal. Throw the man a decent curve and he has NO CHANCE.

    That has to be fixed.

  11. I think they should bring Chad Mottola up to Toronto. He did wonders with Snyder’s swing during the stint in Las Vegas (although it only lasted for a couple of weeks) and a different approach certainly wouldn’t hurt Aaron Hill. Just a thought.

  12. Dustin, re: Lawrie’s fielding, Allen Iverson would just like you to know that “We’re talking ’bout practice”. Wash, rinse, repeat…etc etc etc…ad infinitum.

    Re: Snider’s demotion rather than Thames, heading into today’s game from July 16th (7-1 thrashing of Yankees leading Joe Girardi to squeal about sign stealing on the heels of Russell Martin squealing about it after a 16-7 thrashing the night before – I don’t know could it be that Colon and Garcia were throwing fat, sloppy meatballs in their two starts? Hmm) through last night (viewer discretion is advised, as some viewers may be…well frankly horrified by their awfulness):

    Snider: 58 PA, 57 AB, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 0 (count ‘em zero) BB, 21 K, 1 SF, 2 SB, 1 CS; .175/.172/.263/.436

    Thames: 62 PA, 56 AB, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 15 K, 2 SF, 1 GDP; .179/.226/.304/.529

    That. Is. Fugly. Small sample size yaddah, yaddah, yaddah, but if you tack Snider’s start to the season onto this, it suggests that he hasn’t progressed much since being sent down the first time around. Particularly galling is the 21/0 K/BB ratio. That’s not good. The other thing (from a subjective perspective) is the letting go with the top hand, one handed swings that he’s been taking more and more frequently as he gets further and further away from his July promotion. That just isn’t going to cut it up here. I hope he can get it together, as the potential is there and he’s only 23, but he will be out of options in 2012, so he better get a move on. Thames swing still looks OK (to this untrained eye), but it may be that pitchers have found a hole in it, and now it’s time for him to adjust back to them.

  13. I don’t absolutely hate the sending down Snider part. I think there’s a very real possibility the Jays trade Thames in the off season and I think giving him time to play in the majors through August and possibly September is the best way to build his value. Snider isn’t going anywhere so retaining his trade value isn’t a consideration. He’ll be back in September and in 2012 so can we all just be happy about getting to see Lawrie play tomorrow night?

  14. Parkes, the X-mas comparison you use in the first paragraph isn’t a metaphor. It’s a simile.

    Just sayin’

  15. “Doesn’t it come across as a bit of a contradiction or at least a mixed message that the Blue Jays organization prides itself on the way that it gave Jose Bautista playing time when no one else would, along with enough breathing room to grow into the player that he has become? ”

    Not necessarily. At least not without knowing how the team felt internally about both players. Maybe they privately saw something in Bautista, and felt they could bring it out of him? And maybe they don’t see the same kind of thing in Snider?

    By that logic, we should let all players stay up all the time, because it worked for Bautista.

    I know this may be heresy, but has anybody given any thought to the fact that Snider just may not be any good? I understand he’s got the raw talent (but so did thousands of others highly talented, but ultimately crappy, baseball players). Some kids just can’t hack it at the ML level, and honestly, Snider has not done anything impressive in the Majors. Ever.

    So not saying he’s a bust, but it is entirely possible that he’s just not a good Big League Player.

  16. Brendan, why isn’t Snider going anywhere? There is no way in hell their going to trade Thames with the massive question marks surrounding Snider.

    IMO Snider is a much more likely candidate to be traded. Probably at his request, as well.

  17. Doesn’t it come across as a bit of a contradiction or at least a mixed message that the Blue Jays organization prides itself on the way that it gave Jose Bautista playing time when no one else would, along with enough breathing room to grow into the player that he has become? Or how about the team’s transaction history which is riddled with multiple examples of the team acquiring problem players at a discounted price and giving them the room to grow and succeed? Why is it so easy to do this for other teams’ troubled players but Travis Snider isn’t given enough rope to last longer than a month on this team, despite showing the type of elite potential that general manager Alex Anthopoulos claims to desire.

    simply put… fuckin nailed it.

    The only thing this season has done has put doubts in Sniders head with no real way of getting them out.. He struggles and goes down, he hits and he comes up..to a 23 year all your doing is fucking with his mind, he’s now trying to do too much.

    you cant put your best foot forward when you’re consistently looking over your shoulder..

  18. “In an ongoing narrative of mishandling…”
    Elegant phrasing, fellas. Well done.

  19. Dude, he didn’t “nail it” at all with that comment. Rasmus and Yunel were troubled, sure, but they’ve also proven they could perform at a high level at the ML level, something that is not the case for Snider. Their troubles were more off field, personality stuff, that AA thought would be wise to take a gamble on.

    Snider has fundamentally different problems. He’s a nice kid. Not a problem in the clubhouse or anything. His problems are that he can’t recognize a breaking ball if it kicked him in the nuts, and that is getting exploited to sweet shit by major league pitching.

  20. The Jays pick up problem players who have proven themselves at the major league level. They don’t pick up former highly touted prospects that have never been able to figure things out at the Majors.

    Sure, only 100 AB this time around, but 800 MLB at bats, is enough to expect some results. I’m only surprised that they called him up. He still isn’t hitting for power, or being selective with his pitches as his lack of walks would indicate.

    Yes, he put together 200 good at bats at AAA when he was 20 years old. That was three years ago. He’s a liability out there right now. If he had nothing left to prove at AAA that would be different, but the fact is he isn’t exactly tearing the ball off of the cover at AAA either. 2 HR in 230 plate appearances suggests that he isn’t as good as when he was 20.. Let him regain that form before he gets called up. Cooper and Loewen both deserve to get called up before he does.

  21. the jays need to trade aaron hill, move brett lawrie back to second base ok, bautisa is more valuable to the team at third base with his leadership qualities, they need to leave thames and snider in the OF to see what they have in these guys, i mean than you would have davis coming of the bench EE would DH, your infield would be
    1B Lind
    2B Lawrie
    SS escobar
    3B bautista
    and rasmus, snider, thames, and davis for the OF
    i dont know about you guys but that is pretty solid

  22. so, is this guy the next Longoria, or the next Gamel/P.Alvarez?

  23. i think we should see if he can stick before anointing him canadian jesus.

  24. As much as it pains me to say it, I think I have to agree with sending Snider down. The swing looks awful. Go back and look at his swing from his rookie call up. Nowhere near the same.

    Ive been a huge Snider fan from the beginning, now for the first time, doubts are starting to creep in. When he first came up, I thought ‘can’t miss superstar’. Now there’s a possibility he joins the ranks of Laurence Maroney ( another athlete [football] I judged as can’t miss from the first time I saw him).

    Yeah, he’s still young and I’ve far, far from written him off, but there are now doubts.

  25. I think it’s funny that they pride themselves so much on giving Bautista a chance when we all know, deep down, that if they had something they perceived as a better player to fill his spot last year, he never would’ve been given the chance.

  26. @Rob… I see the point, but I think most people will agree Snider has the higher ceiling – especially at only 23 years old. I think most people will also agree trading Snider now would be selling low. It’s possible but not something I’d want to or expect to see AA do.

  27. “The only thing this season has done has put doubts in Sniders head with no real way of getting them out.. He struggles and goes down, he hits and he comes up..to a 23 year all your doing is fucking with his mind, he’s now trying to do too much.

    you cant put your best foot forward when you’re consistently looking over your shoulder..”

    I would suggest this may be one of the measures of a true Big Leaguer. Can you handle the pressure?

    Snider rocks it in the minors because he knows he owns it and can relax. No need to rush at the plate. In the bigs he seems to be rushing everything. The one handed swing is simply an effort to keep his bat in the swing plane longer as he arrives there way to early. This need of his to ‘jump on’ pitches is either a result of ‘power hunger’ or ‘miss anxiety’. Either way he needs to get over it.

    Farrell is right that Snider is better with both hands on the bat. If he can’t do that regularly he shouldn’t be up. Reaching once in a while is one thing…..that swing is starting to be his trademark.

  28. How many times do we get it drilled into us by good baseball writers that players don’t reach their peak until 25-27. Snider is at least two more years away from peak. Give him some time. Would have preferred Snider just stayed at the Majors to work it out and give Lawrie a spot next year, which a September call up this year. But since he is up here and Snider is down, I sure as hell hope both succeed. They are both crucial components of this team. EE will be gone by this year or next so over crowding won’t be that big of a deal.

  29. I’m just a fifteen year old kid, and probably don’t know jack shit about proper swing mechanics, but Snider’s front shoulder is usually WAAAAY out in front by the time he hits the ball. Why he can’t work on that in the majors though, baffles me. At least he can play D. Thames is painful to watch in the outfield.

  30. I think the organization’s commitment to players like Escobar, Morrow, Rasmus and Lawrie goes well beyond giving them prime and consistent playing time since each was acquired. They’ve also offered the world in terms of coaching and encouragement to all of these players, but not to Snider.

  31. “The Jays pick up problem players who have proven themselves at the major league level. They don’t pick up former highly touted prospects that have never been able to figure things out at the Majors.”

    They did pick up Matt Bush and never gave him a chance at the majors. I think there’s a bunch of high school lacrosse players up in Brooklin that would’ve loved to have him in town for a full season.

  32. I don’t understand the comments claiming the Jays are proud of themselves for giving Jose a shot when no-one else would and thus are being hypocritical with Snider. I have not seen any evidence of that being that case and in fact have observed only the opposite, that being the Jays thought Bautista had the potential to be a useful utility player with some unrealized potential in his bat. Never have they claimed that they traded and then afforded playing time to a player they thought would become arguably the best in baseball.

  33. @Hodgie

    Also does anyone remember the team we were fielding back in 2008-2009 When we got Joey Bats? It wasn’t hard to give him AB’s when we had Overpay and other crap on our team.

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