Not that I think anyone can fault him, but Devon Travis had no choice but to choose free agency over a Triple-A assignment, and we should all wish him well.
It wasn’t terribly surprising news that the Blue Jays outrighted Devon Travis to Triple-A Buffalo the other day, giving the 5-year Blue Jay veteran the choice whether to accept the assignment or to see what free agency might have in store.
It also comes as no surprise that he chose the latter, bidding farewell to Blue Jays fans on social media on Thursday.
He’s the type player that’s impossible not to like, with the exception of the frustration that comes with his inability to stay healthy enough to use his talents. He’s always been well known as a hard worker, an outstanding teammate, and a fan favourite throughout his time in Toronto. If you don’t believe me, do a google search for his name right now and read all of the tributes coming in from around the Toronto media circles.
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He was well liked and we all wanted to see him succeed in Toronto, but unfortunately the 28-year-old had no choice but to see if he can continue his career elsewhere.
I’m willing to bet the Blue Jays would have kept him around in Triple-A in 2020, at least long enough to let him have a chance to get healthy and stay on the field regularly. That opportunity likely wouldn’t have come at the big league level unless there were a rash of injuries, but he could have served as a great veteran leader in Buffalo, and hopefully had the chance to get his career back on track.
But realistically, even if Travis had been healthy at the end of the 2019 season, he would be facing an uphill battle to fit in to the future core of this team. The Blue Jays seemingly have an established option at second base in Cavan Biggio going forward, and there are a lot of talented options in the minor league system that would have made it very difficult to get his job back. That roster crunch would have made it very difficult for Travis to get back on the 25 and 40-man rosters.
Beyond the competition at second base, moving away from the Rogers Centre might be one the best things that Travis can do for the future of his career. He’s dealt with shoulder issues as well, but the primary source of his injury woes have been with his knees, and moving to a natural grass field should help. We’ve heard other veterans like Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki complain about the artificial turf in Toronto and embrace the change when the left, and it’ll be interesting to see if the same happens for Travis. That said, he was dealing with knee problems last spring before the regular season even began, so we can’t blame the Rogers Centre turf directly in that case.
I’m sure it won’t be easy for Travis to leave the only organization he’s known as a big leaguer, but I’m sure things are a lot different for him these days when he’s around the team instead of rehabbing. His old manager is gone, the front office that acquired him in the first place, and literally all of his teammates from those 2015 and 2016 squads have moved on or retired. He and Ryan Tepera were the last of the bunch, and Tepera was designated for assignment on the same day Travis was outrighted to Triple-A. The era is officially over.
All it up and the Florida native had no choice but to seek a fresh start elsewhere, even if it’s a shame to see such a classy player leave the organization. The greater shame would be if his career never got back on track, so here’s hoping he can do just that, even if it happens elsewhere. Just please, stay away from Boston and New York.