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Travis Snider Rumors
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.
Saturday morning links. Not quite as good as cartoons, but we'll do our best…
- Paul Hagen of The Philadelphia Daily News says that Phillies' management "tacitly acknowledged that [Jimmy Rollins' next contract] could turn into a contentious issue." The club picked up J-Roll's 2011 option yesterday
- Orioles' president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he'll probably "let the market percolate" from now on, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. In English, that means he'll let the hot stove play out and see what arises.
- Blue Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos chatted with fans yesterday, discussing everything from the Roy Halladay trade to Travis Snider trade rumors to what it's like being a GM. I highly recommend checking it out.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post Dispatch says that Matt Holliday should learn from Johnny Damon, who essentially priced his way out of New York with his contract demands.
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News writes that Marlon Byrd signing with the Cubs appears "to be the next domino to fall."
- Curious about what the current 2010 draft order currently looks like? Well here it is. There's only three Type-A free agents left unsigned: Holliday, Jason Bay, and Jose Valverde.
- Earlier today we heard that the Nationals are going after Jon Garland. Now, free agent outfielder Randy Winn is on their radar as well, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
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 MLB.com 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.
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?
Updates on a pair of former first round picks…
- The Royals sent Alex Gordon to the minors, according to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. If the demotion lasts for more than 20 days, the Royals will have delayed his free agency by a season. Gordon, who was expected to become a free agent after 2012, may not become a free agent until after the 2013 season.
- It's no surprise to see the Jays call Travis Snider up. As we showed earlier in the month, the Jays had the chance to prevent Snider from reaching Super Two status by keeping him in the minors for a couple extra weeks. They took advantage of the opportunity and Snider will likely be a few days short of Super Two status after 2011.
Certain players come closer to Super Two status with every day they spend in the majors. The more service time they get, the closer they come to securing a fourth year of arbitration and a bigger payday. Cameron Maybin and Travis Snider could set themselves up for Super Two status if they spend enough time in the major leagues before the end of the season. We can assume that the Marlins and Blue Jays are watching the calendar as they decide if and when to call on their respective outfield prospects.
Maybin has a career-low strikeout rate and a lofty .328/.415/.471 line at Triple A. He needs 35 more days of service time this year to have a good chance at Super Two status after 2011. If the Marlins call him up before September, there's a real possibility they'll have to go to arbitration with Maybin four times, which could cost the organization millions.
Unlike the Marlins, the Blue Jays aren't in a pennant race. They can keep the PCL player of the week in Triple A if it's best for the organization's future, since there's no need to win now. Snider, who's hitting .293/.400/.602 at Triple A, needs about 50 more days of service time this year to have a good chance at Super Two status after 2011. If the Blue Jays call him up much before August 20th, they risk letting Snider go to arbitration an extra time.
It's become a trend in baseball to hold top prospects back at the beginning of the season. We've seen the Rays do this with David Price, and the same situation would have occurred with Evan Longoria had it not been for injuries on the big league club. The Orioles finally just called up Matt Wieters this weekend, and the Brewers employed this method with Ryan Braun back in 2007.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has a different outlook on the situation, and says that he has no regrets in making the decision to give Toronto's prized outfield prospect Travis Snider a shot on the big league club to start the season:
"I don't get caught up in the whole, 'Oh, we better hold this guy back, because we control him' [attitude]. I think what you want to do is take your best players and, if they have to go back down, they go back down. You can still get that time back a couple months down the road."
Snider certainly earned his way onto the club, hitting .381 while clubbing four home runs and driving in 10 runs through 22 games this Spring, but has gone into a deep slump after a hot start. In the month of May, Snider had posted a line of .213/.237/.243 and 11 strikeouts with just one walk.
Baltimore's Andy MacPhail commented on his own situation with Wieters, using Snider's struggles to support his decision to keep Wieters in the minors:
"We think Wieters is ready," MacPhail was quoted as saying in the Toronto Sun. "We don't want to be like Toronto with Snider and return the player to the Minors."
Did Ricciardi rush Snider to the Majors? What would the MLBTR readers have done in that situation, given Snider's strong Spring Training performance?
The Blue Jays were hoping for more out of Travis Snider this year, but his poor performance so far might be good for Toronto in the end. Snider was just demoted to Triple A and if he stays there until after the All-Star Break, he could end up under team control for an extra season. A month and a half in the minors could mean the Jays hold onto Snider for his age 27 season in 2015. Here's how it breaks down:
- If Snider had stayed with the Jays all year, he would likely have become arbitration-eligible after 2011, hitting free agency after 2014.
- If Snider has less than a full year's service time after 2009, he'll still become arbitration eligible after 2011, but it will be as a Super Two player.
- This would mean he'd go to arbitration four times instead of three. He'd remain under team control through 2015.
- So what would it take for Snider to get less than a year's service time? He already has 77 days of the required 172 under his belt, but if the Jays call him up after the All Star Break, he'd collect 80 more at most and remain shy of the full year.
The Jays expected a better showing from Snider, but his demotion could be good for the team. Here's the bottom line: If the Jays call Snider up after the All-Star Break he'll be shy of a full year's service time after 2009, become a Super Two player after 2011 and remain under team control for a year more than expceted, through 2015.
Links for Friday afternoon…
- SI.com's Tom Verducci heard one GM argue that the Padres should trade Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez to re-stock the farm system.
- MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo breaks down what will happen after Stephen Strasburg's drafted by the Nationals. He predicts that eight or nine college arms could go in the first 20 picks, if you count redrafts like Aaron Crow and Tanner Scheppers.
- According to Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, Travis Snider was sent to Triple A by the Blue Jays. Snider was hitting .242/.292/.394, with 25 strikeouts in 99 at bats.
- According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, Shingo Takatsu auditioned in front of the D'Backs and Giants. He threw as hard as 86 mph and impressed scouts with his breaking balls. If the name sounds familiar it's because the 40-year-old sidearmer used to close for the White Sox.
- Steve Melewski of MASN wonders if Nolan Reimold has seen the last of the minor leagues. After a slow start, the left fielder is seven for his last 18, including a homer off Mariano Rviera.
- Via Twitter, Keith Law suggests pitcher Sonny Gray would go in the top three picks of this year's draft if he were eligible.
- Live to Play suggests the list of suitors for Miguel Angel Sano will soon "thin out to the very serious contenders" for the 16-year-old shortstop prospect.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes that the ideal trade for the Royals might be Mike Jacobs or Jose Guillen for a "capable shortstop."