What Happens to Travis Snider if Eric Thames has Success in Toronto?


Everyone seems to be happy about the promotion of Eric Thames from AAA Las Vegas to the Toronto Blue Jays. The city is buzzing about how he is going to do in Toronto, whether or not he’d do well enough to stick around long-term, and everyone seems to believe that he was the right choice. Well, everyone except Travis Snider, I’m guessing.

Eric Thames had a very sound debut against the Rays and Jeremy Hellickson. He certainly didn’t look out of place, despite a “Jose Bautista effort like” swing on the first pitch he saw. He earned himself a walk and drove in a run on a single, both against Hellickson – much more than most Jays could manage last night. I personally think it was important for him to get that first hit out of the way. Now the pressure is off, and he can concentrate on earning a lineup spot for the long-term.

That brings me back to Travis Snider.

Did Jays fans overlook how Snider may feel about being passed over in preference of Thames? I think so. Most of us do agree that it is the “right” move to give Thames a shot simply because Snider is working on some things and Thames was on fire to begin the 2011 season. But still, when you have playing time seniority over others and were used to being called “The Franchise”, having failed so little while climbing the ranks all of the way to the majors, it has to sting when the phone rings in Las Vegas and they’re looking for the untested LF instead of you.

image courtesy of ducksonthepondkid

There’s a good chance that Snider understands the move and that he’ll work through whatever he has to work through in order to make it back to the majors. But, so many more questions pop up if Eric Thames hammers the ball during his big league stay. How will the Jays handle the situation? Will they look to begin moving some people out? And if so, would it be Thames, or Snider who is dealt? Who has the better trade value, and what could the returns be?  Would Edwin Encarnacion be dealt instead, allowing the DH to be Snider or Thames? After watching how much effort he’s been putting into his play and his lack of a single HR this season, that could very much be the case. And finally, but possibly most importantly, what if Snider never gets hot enough to earn a promotion from AAA (or stays there until at least September)? So many questions….so few answers….

Snider has hit .163/.213/.209 over his last 10 games in AAA, so it’s evident that whatever he’s working through there is seriously affecting his play. It could be a simple cold spell, but until he turns “Eric Thames hot”, he’s probably not going to unseat any of the current Jays OF. Therefore, it could be in the realm of possibility (insert gulp), that Snider spends the bulk of the remainder of the 2011 season in AAA.

I, for one, am certain that Snider will do everything in his power to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I can’t help but allow some uncertainty to set in now that his struggles have extended themselves to AAA. With the current situation playing itself out, it actually seems like a possibility at this point, and who would have thought that could be true when the season began?

The Jays will continue to say that he is an important piece of the team’s future, and that he will make a return – with no date given – at some point in 2011. However, is there a chance that Alex Anthopoulos begins fielding calls about the availability of Snider in trade talks? I have to believe that he would consider doing so, if the price was right.

For example, if a team like the Arizona Diamondbacks was willing to send Justin Upton to Toronto – a player the Jays have sought to acquire in the past – in return for Snider and another piece, is there a chance Anthopoulos would bite? What about the Mets and Jose Reyes? There are a lot of opportunities presenting themselves on the trade market, and for a GM that has already moved fan favorites like Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine his moving a player with such potential as Snider holds.

Let’s remember something about the Jays as we ponder the situation in place for Travis Snider – they have a ton of talented outfielders coming up the ranks, so Snider isn’t exactly the be all and end all of LF for the Jays well into the future. The way I see it, Eric Thames is showing that he could make a case for keeping the LF spot. Moises Sierra is in AA and could come into play very soon. There are 3 players  playing excellent baseball in LoA Lansing in Jake Marisnick, Marcus Knecht, and Michael Crouse, who could and should all be playing in AA at some point in 2012, and could be ready to make appearances in Toronto as early as 2013.  And finally, what if the Jays select a highly skilled OF in this year’s draft with the first pick or a supplemental pick? What if that OF is a college bat that moves quickly in the system?

All I’m saying here is that all of the sudden, Travis Snider is looking like a very movable piece, where as a year ago, most of us may have said the opposite. I’m still very hopeful that Snider will blossom into the 40 HR bat we all know he can be as a Toronto Blue Jays player, but if Eric Thames has success in Toronto, the Jays could very well be tempted to use Snider’s potential as trade bait or be forced to keep Thames around a lot longer than anyone predicted. That would keep Snider in AAA for a much longer time than any of us predicted.

Just some thoughts on the Snider and Thames situation. Do you agree, disagree, or have differing thoughts? Let us know!

-MG

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Tags: Eric Thames Travis Snider

  • hgjrklfsel

    I think the chances of Thames raking at the MLB level are quite low. Even for guys like Hosmer, who absolutely decimated AAA pitching (.400+/.500+/.580/1.107), the major league projections are reasonably modest. Its likely Thames will struggle a fair amount in his debut.
    Snider needs to figure himself out. Until he starts raking like we know he can, he should stay in AAA.

    Upton would take much more than Snider and another prospect. I’m talking Snider/Stewart or Drabek/A.J. Jiminez or something similar. Perhaps a lot of teams wouldn’t put such a high value on Snider anymore given his current struggles.
    Why sell low on Snider anyways. He is still young and we know he can hit, i think he deserves a few more shots to stick at the major league level.

  • Sensa

    I am absolutely shocked at how poor Snider has been hitting in the minors. only singles and a couple of doubles.

    Take out his 73 AB in 2008 and his MLB stats are exactly what he is:

    Utility player.

  • Yoda

    For a long time, Snider was the Jays’ lone hope for a power bat in the outfield, but with the emergence of Batista, it now looks like Snider is expendable. I would package him, along with one of the young pitchers, and one of the guys in the pen for an experience closer and outfielder. Hopefully, he can bat left and hit in the second spot. I am not saying we should abandon the rebuilding process, but instead add to it. We have plenty of young outfielders coming up in the next couple of years and enough young pitchers then we know what to do with. With the emergence of JPA, and soon, Lawrie, along with Hill, we have plenty of pop in the 5 to 7 spot.

  • Duncan

    I would add Brad Glenn into the argument too. Even though he is 24 at HiA, I think his name is starting to creep into the Jay’s OF list.

    • Theo_Adorno

      I read that Bob Elliot piece too! I still don’t believe it though. Given the age differences, it would be similar to a grade 12 student playing in an all grade 9 league.
      Glenn is a classic example of a charcter guy. The organization knows that he isn’t a prospect but likes his influence around the young guys. He is mature, well spoken, a college grad. He is the Kevin Costner in Bull Durham tyoe of player. The organization values him not for his potential as a major leaguer but for the other qualities he brings to the table.

  • nick

    i disagree, you have to hold on to snider and hold he figures it out at some point. like alex gordon, hes got worlds of talent he needs time. just because you have guys in the low minors who may or may not become anything(i hope they do of course) you dont give up on that kind of talent. you have to make sure there ready to handle the pressures of the majors. would you trade romero/morrow/drabek just because we have a ton of high ceiling guys in low A

  • blueboo

    It doesn’t really matter if it’s Thames or Snider. A more important issue is getting EE/Riveria off the field both of whom I would trade in a heartbeat. I think there is room for both Snider and Thames.

    • Keith

      You have hit the nail on the head! Let not talk about trading our future. Let focus on the dead weight we are carrying. You have to feel for Joey Bats and Farrell knowing they have to go into battle every day with EE and Rivera.

  • BBB

    I wholeheartedly agree with blueboo. For the time being there should be room for both if we can move Rivera and EE. That would free up a log jam for promotions in the future.

  • Ryan

    I would have to agree with the comments made by blueboo and BBB about Rivera and E5. It is painful watching Buck and Pat announce these guys in the starting lineup so frequently. But Jaysjournal has voiced that opinion frequently. It is starting to hurt my brain.

    Snider certainly needs to start making some adjustments and judging by his dip in performance he is likely doing just that and working out the kinks. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before turning the corner. We all know Snider is a quality slugger….most importantly he is an elite competitor. That bodes very well for a sooner than most think return to the major leagues. I would be shocked if AA pulled a trigger on any major deal. Certainly not for Upton unless he can literally steal him. Jays are not going to compete the way we had hoped this season and there is a ton of auditioning about to go down in Toronto, whether its Thames, Cooper, Lawrie, Stewart, Deck (later on), Sierra, etc. No chance will AA move high ceiling talent like Snider, not unless the package of players returning is mind boggling. I just hope Snider doesnt take as long as Alex Gordon to develop.

    Now in the mean time. Great pickups in Patterson and Davis, great intensity shown from them, I love watching these guys. I think we have seen that there is not a suitable position for Edwin, his fairy dance is now at 1st base and driving me bonkers. As for Rivera, I would rather put that 3rd base ball boy in the outfield over Juan. You know the one that looks god aweful playing catch with the outfielders. Disgraceful!!

    • Theo_Adorno

      There is absolutely no chance that Deck makes an appearance with the Jays this season. He is currently in A ball. Stewart has a shot at being a Septemeber call up – I think the Jays front office will look to the path they laid out for Drabek last year and follow it exactly this year with Stewart.
      Additionally, I hope AA doesn’t literally steal Upton – this I am sure would be construed as kidnapping by the authorities.
      I can live with Rivera at first base until Lind gets back if he can hit like he did tonight.

  • James

    If both Snider (in AAA) and Thames (in MLB) plays well, it is a great situation for the Jays. I dont mind trading one or both of them as long as their trade value is high, which means the player(s) that we are getting back is a decent one. As for E5 and Rivera, both should be gone by the all-star break if both Snider and Thames play well regardless of where they play. This just create great options for the Jays in any trade scenario

  • Ronald

    Snider will not be traded, because that’s selling low. And I don’t think AA likes selling low.

    Out of Rivera and E5, both are not worth much in the trade market right now. To make roster room, I can see E5 being released or sent down to the minors (if he accepts or can clear waivers). However, Rivera will definitely remain with the club till the end of the year, unless he hits extremely well the rest of the way, and is worth a lot in the trade market. AA will hold on to Rivera till the end of the season, and offer him arbitration so that if someone claims/signs him AA can get back a draft pick.

  • gabriel

    Ronald-

    Rivera is making too much money to be worth offering arbitration to- he’d simply accept, make 6m next season, and we’d be stuck with him again. If he somehow plays well enough that he’d have a robust market for his services, then he’s tradeable.