Travis Snider Rumors

Blue Jays Designate Juan Rivera For Assignment

The Blue Jays have designated Juan Rivera for assignment and will recall Travis Snider for tomorrow's game, tweets's Gregor Chisolm.

Rivera, 32, came to the Jays in the trade that sent Vernon Wells to the Angels back in January. In 271 plate appearances in Toronto, Rivera hit just .246/.310/.365 with six homers. He split his time fairly evenly between left field, first base, and designated hitter, though he did make a handful of appearances in right field as well.

Many were surprised to see the Jays demote Snider, a long-time top prospect who played well when he was healthy in 2010, after just 99 plate appearances this season. Snider hit just .184/.276/.264 but showed significant improvement in the minors, hitting .333/.403/.488 in 226 plate appearances. Snider was rated as the game's sixth-best prospect prior to the 2009 season, and is still just 23 years old despite having 208 Major League games under his belt.

Blue Jays Notes: Lawrie, Super Two, Escobar

Shaun Marcum has been Milwaukee's best starter this year, but Brett Lawrie is doing his best to make Blue Jays fans forget about the pitcher he was traded for. The 21-year-old infield prospect has a .343/.403/.632 line at Triple-A with 12 home runs. GM Alex Anthopoulos and Jeff Blair of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 discussed Lawrie's hot start and a number of other issues pertaining to the Blue Jays this morning. Here are the details:

  • Lawrie has improved his strikeout to walk ratio in Triple-A this month, a development that’s encouraging for the Jays’ front office.
  • Super two status is a moving target at the best of times and Anthopoulos points out that over 80% of players who become eligible for arbitration are optioned to the minor leagues at some point. Players like Travis Snider and Brett Cecil don’t have continuous Major League service, which means projecting whether minor leaguers are on track for super two status is mostly futile.
  • The Blue Jays have a record of not manipulating service according to Anthopoulos. He points to J.P. Arencibia and Kyle Drabek, both of whom got the call late last year.
  • Anthopoulos has been on the phone with a few GMs, but he doesn’t expect trades to kick into high gear until after the draft, which starts June 6th.
  • Anthopoulos saw the rumor linking Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays and though the GM declined to comment on another team’s player, he praised the Jays’ current shortstop, Yunel Escobar. “He’s young, he’s everything we want,” Anthopoulos said of Escobar, who is under team control through 2013. “Shortstop is not an area we need to improve. We think it’s a strength.”

Quick Hits: Minaya, Weaver, Danks, Zimmerman

Emilio "Millito" Navarro, believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player at 105, passed away in Puerto Rico today. The former Negro Leaguer also played in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico during his career. Our condolences go out to his family.

  • Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that former Mets GM Omar Minaya has spent the past two days on a "friendly visit" with Indians GM Chris Antonetti, president Mark Shapiro, and manager Manny Acta. Cleveland interviewed former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes during the offseason, and Hoynes says Antonetti has "made [it] no secret that he'd like to add the right person to the front office."
  • While researching the impending free agency of young stars, SI's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) learned that we can count on Jered Weaver and John Danks filing after 2012.
  • It's been a bad day for star third basemen, writes Justin Sablich of the New York Times.  The Giants lost Pablo Sandoval for 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist and the Nationals announced that Ryan Zimmerman, who has been on the disabled list since April 12, will miss at least an another six weeks.  If both players return within those timeframes, it's unlikely that either squad will look for an out-of-house fill-in.
  • Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs questions the Blue Jays' wisdom in demoting Travis Snider to work on his hitting after just 99 plate appearances in 2011.

Quick Hits: Padres, Snider, Wheeler

Let's take a look at some tidbits from around the majors on this Thursday evening..

  • Be wary when considering radar gun readings.  Former Padres GM (now Diamondbacks GM) Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the club would tinker with the pitch speeds from time to time.  Every time Brad Penny pitched for the Dodgers in San Diego, the club would dial down the radar gun to frustrate him.
  • The Blue Jays caught some off guard by demoting promising outfielder Travis Snider earlier today.'s Todd Wills writes that the club sent him to Triple-A to make adjustments to his swing.
  • Red Sox newcomer Dan Wheeler is still working to carve out a niche for himself in the bullpen, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal.  Last year with the Rays, Wheeler posted a 3.35 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

Blue Jays Have No Intention Of Trading Snider And Drabek For Greinke

The Blue Jays have been connected to Zack Greinke basically all offseason, but they have no intention of trading Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek for him according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter). Obviously, Toronto is not close to completing a deal for the Royals' ace.

Kansas City understandably want a bounty for Greinke, who has two years and $27MM left on his contract. Snider, 23 in February, is a .255/.318/.446 hitter in 675 big league plate appearances, though Baseball America ranked him the sixth best prospect (and third best outfield prospect) in the game prior to the 2009 season. The 23-year-old Drabek was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade, making three very respectable starts for the Jays late in the season. Baseball America said the development of his cutter and changeup "would put him over the top as a frontline starter" when they named him the team's top prospect last month.

Zack Greinke Rumors: Monday

Zack Greinke appears willing to waive his no-trade clause in any deal, but his list of potential suitors appeared to shrink when the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum. Milwaukee tried to pry Greinke away from the Royals, but found that GM Dayton Moore was asking a lot for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner. We'll keep track of all the day's Greinke rumors right here:

  • The Royals appear to be tiring of the Rangers' offers, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. Discussions with Toronto appear to hinge on the Blue Jays' willingness to include Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider in a potential deal. Royals officials say a deal could come together in a hurry if the Blue Jays decide they're willing to part with those two players.
  • The Reds have not talked to the Royals about a potential Greinke deal, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
  • The Braves are not pursuing Greinke and have not been pursuing him, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).

2006 Draft Throwdown

There is little that is more dismaying than looking back at old draft lists, with the benefit of hindsight, and seeing which players your favorite team missed out on while settling for players who either failed to make much of an impact, or who never even reached the major leagues. Think Reggie Jackson and Steve Chilcott, Robin Yount and David Clyde, Dwight Gooden and Bryan Oelkers. Often, this is driven less by player talent, and more by positional need.

But even more fascinating is to look at some recent draft picks and some of their immediate counterparts, to see how teams fared picking players, one over another, who played the same position. In other words, straight-up scouting choices led to these decisions. Let's take a look at how those worked out in 2006.

  • LHP Andrew Miller (Tigers) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): This one is more complicated than it might seem at first. Clearly, Miller, drafted sixth overall, has not been nearly as effective as Kershaw, drafted seventh overall. Miller has a 5.50 ERA in 261 2/3 major league innings, and is currently having trouble throwing strikes in the minor leagues, with an astonishing 30 walks in 28 innings. Kershaw has a 3.28 ERA in 342 major league innings, and shows signs of being a good deal better than that moving forward. But Miller isn't with the Tigers; Detroit dealt him in the move that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Still, advantage has to go to Kershaw on this one, and the Dodgers as well.
  • RHP Tim Lincecum (Giants) vs. Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks): Is this one about to turn? Obviously, as of this date, Lincecum, drafted tenth, has worked out as well as one could hope any draft pick could, while Scherzer, drafted eleventh, is still a work-in-progress who has already been traded once. But Lincecum has had uncharacteristic struggles with his control lately, even though his season ERA (3.14) and strikeout rate (10.4/9 innings) are not far off of his career marks. And Scherzer is coming off of a 14-strikeout performance, though four walks meant that he did so in just 5 2/3 innings. For now, though, a big edge to Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
  • OF Tyler Colvin (Cubs) vs. Travis Snider (Blue Jays): Based on 2010 season line alone, this battle of the lefty-hitting outfielders would have to go to Colvin, drafted thirteenth, over Snider, drafted fourteenth. After all, Colvin has an OPS of .991 in 83 plate appearances this season, while Snider's stands at .806. But overall, it seems clear that the Blue Jays did better here. Snider came out of high school, while Colvin was a collegiate player. Yet Snider posted significantly better offensive numbers than Colvin as each player climbed their respective system ladders- a .916 to .785 edge in minor league OPS. Snider was holding down a regular job at age 22 before he hit the DL, while Colvin is struggling for a regular spot as his 25th birthday approaches. This one is debatable, but the smart money gives Toronto and Snider the edge.

Odds & Ends: Rollins, Orioles, Anthopoulos

Saturday morning links. Not quite as good as cartoons, but we'll do our best…

Blue Jays Rumors: Barajas, Snider, Needs

The only MLB city not celebrating Thanksgiving today has, predictably, been the main source of Thursday's hot stove talk. In a series of Twitter updates, Jordan Bastian of brings us a few more Toronto Blue Jays notes….

  • It doesn't look like Rod Barajas will return to Toronto next year. The club plans to offer him arbitration, but the 34-year-old could have a multi-year deal lined up with another team.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos on Barajas: "We're going to keep the dialogue open. But, right now, I don't see there being good chances of Rod coming back."
  • The Blue Jays have informed Travis Snider that he'll have to earn a spot on the team's Opening Day roster.
  • The upshot of Barajas' likely departure and Snider not being handed a starting role? The Jays' two primary needs are behind the plate and in the outfield, with catcher being the club's top priority.
  • Anthopoulos also cites the leadoff spot as something Toronto would like to address this winter.

Discussion: Jason Bay and Toronto

Dave Perkins has an interesting idea in the Toronto Star: should the Blue Jays go get Jason Bay this offseason?

Perkins points out that Bay's .921 OPS certainly didn't suffer after coming to the American League- it was best in the junior circuit among outfielders. He's also Canadian-born and would make a solid addition to an outfield that also figures to have Travis Snider and Vernon Wells returning in 2010.

Perkins also adds that Bay will be just 31 on Opening Day 2010, and the Jays will not only benefit from having Bay, they will also benefit by taking Bay from the Boston Red Sox.

The reality is that Bay will probably be too rich for Toronto's taste. After all, despite just $63MM committed to next year's players, they spent the run up to the non-waiver trade deadline this summer trying to deal Roy Halladay, rather than sign him long-term.

But if April is a time for every team to dream of how the season will go, shouldn't October be for how the off-season will go?