Tag: Travis Snider

Why the Pittsburgh Pirates Should Consider Trading Outfielder Travis Snider

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently are in a situation that a lot of teams would like to be in: They have a surplus of reliable and productive outfielders.  

The most well-known outfielder on Pittsburgh’s depth chart is obviously 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen, who has become the face of the franchise in his six-year career.  

Then there is left fielder Starling Marte, who has made a huge impact on the club’s performance through his first three big-league seasons, owning a career .282 batting average and a career-high 56 runs batted in in 2014.  

Marte is poised for a breakout season in 2015, as his numbers have steadily increased season by season. 

The problem (if you can call it that) is in right field, where Travis Snider is currently listed as the Pirates starter on the team’s website.

Snider had the best season of his seven-year career in 2014, batting .264 and blasting 13 home runs in 140 games played for the Pirates.  At the same time, however, the Pirates have an ever-so-promising young player in Gregory Polanco, who may be ready to patrol right field on a daily basis in 2015.  

According to a report from Baseball America, Polanco was rated the No. 1 prospect in the Pirates’ farm system entering the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season.  In 89 games with the Pirates, he hit .235 with seven home runs.  

On paper, an outfield consisting of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco could match up with just about any team in the National League.  So where would that leave Snider?

Of course, the Pirates performed just fine with Snider and Polanco platooning in right field throughout the second half of last season.  At the same time, however, with the Pirates’ needs for other position players and starting pitchers, it may be beneficial for the team to include Snider in a trade package, especially if the organization fails to sign any stellar pitchers during this free-agency period.

As former Pirates starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Francisco Liriano listen to offers from teams interested around the league in free agency, the Pirates organization ought to be out looking for potential replacements, as there is a very real chance that at least one of those two starters will not return.  

The future pitching staff of the Pirates is shining brighter than ever with hope, as both Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon should make their major league debuts within the next couple of seasons.  Taillon, who missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, may even break through sometime in 2015.  

Still, the Pirates will need to acquire at least one more proven starting pitcher before the regular season starts, as a rotation currently consisting of Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Jeff Locke and Vance Worley likely will not yield a division-best record.  

The Pirates could go out and trade for a starting pitcher in exchange for a proven veteran such as Snider and perhaps a less proven minor league player.  

One potential move that could make sense for both sides is a trade for Mat Latos of the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for Snider and, as stated above, a minor league player.  

Latos is coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season in which he pitched in only 16 games for the Reds. However, he has pitched tremendously throughout his career, owning a 3.34 ERA and a 60-45 record in six seasons.  

Given the fact that Latos had elbow problems in 2014, this would be a risky trade for the Pirates, but it could also offer huge rewards.  More importantly, Latos is set to become a free agent after the 2015 season comes to a close, which is a reason for the Reds to consider taking something they can get in exchange for him instead of possibly losing his services in exchange for nothing in free agency next offseason.  

The move would also make sense for the Reds because the team does not exactly have a complete outfield right now, as their starting left fielder currently is Skip Schumaker, who averages about four home runs over a 162-game span.  

Platooning Snider with Schumaker would make a lot more sense for the Reds than it would for the Pirates, who have their future right fielder in Polanco.  So that is a move that certainly has to be considered a possibility for the Pirates.  

The Pirates are in great shape as far as their lineup goes.  Without a quality pitching rotation, however, winning enough games to make it back to the playoffs seems unlikely.  

While there are still months to go in free agency, the possibility does exist that the Pirates may not reel in any solid starting pitchers.  In that case, offering a player like Snider in a trade package for a starter may be the way to go.  


Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Trades Will Keep Pittsburgh Pirates in Playoff Hunt

The Pittsburgh Pirates didn’t land any of this year’s most coveted trade chips, but they approached the July 31 deadline with a level head and the necessary poise.

Pittsburgh added four players either at, or prior, to this year’s trade deadline. Check out NBC Sports’ Matthew Pouliot‘s overview of the Pirates new acquisitions:

They certainly got more interesting with Travis Snider in right field and Sanchez replacing Casey McGehee in the first base platoon. Snider hasn’t been quite as much of a disappointment as everyone thinks—he has a .248/.306/.429 line and 31 homers in 835 at-bats—and he’s just 24 years old. Sanchez is a career .298/.390/.488 hitter against lefties. He’s been way off this year, but if the Pirates can get him straightened out, he’ll be a nice part-timer. Again, I’m not sold on the moves—Brad Lincoln was looking pretty good since a switch to the pen—but factor in the Wandy Rodriguez pickup last week and they belong in the winners category.

The only move he doesn’t touch on involves the Pirates flipping McGehee to the Yankees for Chad Qualls. Qualls has been designated for assignment once this year, and he probably would have fallen victim to the same fate in New York. He is carrying a 4.89 ERA into PNC Park, but his career ERA (3.84) suggests a possible turnaround. 

None of these moves jump off of the page and shake you. None of these players are “star” players, and the Pirates didn’t improve exponentially, but each player provides stability to the Pirate roster.

Adding Snider allows Pittsburgh to move Alex Presley to a permanent bench role. This makes the Pirates’ lineup more versatile and adds more power to their home run-happy batting order.

Snider hasn’t proven himself this year. He’s hitting .250 with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 major-league games this season, but the potential is definitely there. His Triple-A numbers are excellent (.335, 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 61 games), and he gives the Pirates another piece for their future nucleus (under team control until 2016).

Sanchez doesn’t provide the same potential, but he is coming off two very solid seasons. He has the potential to hit 20 home runs, and he could flourish in a platoon role with Garrett Jones at first base. They only had to give up speed merchant and defensive outfielder Gorkys Hernandez who was no longer a valuable piece on the bench.

Qualls and Rodriguez both add stability to the stable of Pittsburgh’s overachieving arms. I mentioned Qualls’ struggles this season, but he’s a solid middle-innings option on a young squad. Rodriguez is an above-average lefty, and those don’t grow on trees.

Some Pittsburgh fans may groan at the thought of these moves. The Pirates didn’t make the big splash that everyone was hoping for, but they got the job done without sacrificing anything important for the future.

For this particular organization, that’s what’s important. They’ve worked too hard to get their farm system back to respectable status, and they’ve spent too much time developing their current nucleus, to blow it up in one year.

Small market clubs can’t throw dollars and prospects around like it’s nothing. Each move has to be calculated, and the future always has to be considered. 

Pittsburgh did an excellent job of making the moves necessary to continue their playoff run this year without diminishing their future plans. In Snider’s case, they actually added a potentially valuable piece.

Expect Pittsburgh’s new players to keep them in the thick of this year’s pennant race. They got stronger in important areas, and the added energy will give them the momentum they need down the stretch.

Neil Huntingdon was in unprecedented territory for any Pirate general manager in recent memory, but he showed an acuity that comes with experience.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez, Take a Step Forward

Neal Huntington was active at the trade deadline, making two key moves to update the Pirates‘ offense as this team chases its first playoff berth in 20 years. He was able to improve the Bucs both in 2012 and down the road without parting with any key assets (via ESPN).

Many are criticizing Huntington for failing to acquire a big name bat like Hunter Pence or Shin-Soo Choo but, given the high prospect costs associated with those players, the Pirates’ decision to pursue younger, cheaper players was the right one.

In acquiring Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez without giving up any major pieces, the Pirates immediately get somewhat better while potentially improving the team substantially in the short-term future.


The Pirates Add Another Young Power Bat

The Pirates’ more noteworthy trade saw them acquire outfielder Travis Snider from the Blue Jays in exchange for relief pitcher Brad Lincoln.

Both Snider and Lincoln have substantial pedigree, and neither has yet lived up to his lofty expectations. Yet, Snider is a 24-year-old power hitter, whereas Lincoln is a 27-year-old relief pitcher. Snider’s short- and long-term potential far exceeds Lincoln’s for that simple reason.

Snider will become an everyday player for the Pirates immediately. He is batting second tonight.

In Snider, Pedro Alvarez, and Garrett Jones, the Bucs suddenly have a substantial stable of left-handed power behind table setters Starling Marte and Neil Walker. Throw in National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, and this can be one of the best offenses in the league.

This offense has the potential to stick together for a long time, too.

Aside from Jones, all of the Pirates’ core offensive pieces have several years of team control remaining. Alvarez is starting to show his superstar potential, and Snider and Marte have just as much capability. McCutchen obviously is what he is at this point. Suddenly, the Pirates have the look of a future offensive juggernaut.

Losing Lincoln does sting a bit, as he was an important part of the current bullpen and has done a great job of reinventing himself as a late-inning reliever. But, he is already 27 and the Pirates have shown a knack for developing a good bullpen on the cheap—year after year. Trading Lincoln for a player like Snider is a no-brainer.


The Bucs Increase Their Offensive Depth

Travis Snider was not the only piece the Pirates added to their offense Tuesday. The Bucs also acquired Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins in exchange for Gorkys Hernandez and their competitive balance pick.

No offense to Hernandez, but the competitive balance pick was by far the more valuable piece here. Hernandez is an amazing defensive player, but his bat simply does not play in the outfield.

It is interesting to see the Pirates already utilizing the ability to trade picks and, while the draft pick certainly has some value, a player with recent success like Sanchez is more valuable than a sandwich pick.

While Sanchez will likely begin his Pittsburgh career as the odd man out of the lineup, he provides important insurance if any of Snider, Marte and Jones falters. Sanchez was an above-average hitter in his previous three seasons, so there is reason to believe he can overcome his 2012 struggles and provide the Pirates with no worse than a valuable bat off the bench.

Like Snider, Sanchez’ value is not confined to 2012. Though he is already 28, Sanchez can still contribute to this team for two to three incremental years. It seems likely that the Pirates would trade Victor Black or Barrett Barnes for this production, so trading their compensation pick makes perfect sense as well.

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Guide to the Toronto Blue Jays Stealing the AL East Title

One thing that the Toronto Blue Jays have shown this season is that they are consistently inconsistent.  On occasion they have looked like a team equipped to raise their play to a new level—only to follow it up with disappointing stretches against teams they should beat (teams worse than .500) or fall short against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. 

They also haven’t been able to get on a roll.  As of May 23, they have gone on five winning streaks of two or more games followed by losing streaks of two or more games.

They began their season alternating wins and losses two at a time—splitting their first 12 games. They then swept the Kansas City Royals (April 20-24) but then lost their next four—bringing them back to .500 (10-10) after 20 games. 

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MLB Spring Training 2012: Why Travis Snider Will Earn the Job in Left Field

Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Travis Snider showed up for the 2012 spring training with a new attitude and a new energy. He is playing the game from his heart, trying to earn his way into a full-time spot.

In a game last week, he produced, performed and delivered, leading the Blue Jays to a win over the Pirates, sweeping them on a two-game series in the Grapefruit League.

The Blue Jays and the Pirates were tied at three in the fourth inning, and Snider hit an RBI single. In the sixth inning he drove in two runs, giving the Jays an 8-3 lead.

Snider had a difficult 2011 season, being demoted to the minor leagues twice. While back in the minors, he worked with hitting coaches and made changes in his batting mechanics to make him more effective and consistent at the plate.

Clearly, it is too early to claim that he will have a breakout season because of one great game in spring training, but it is a good indication that the changes that he made have been effective for his hitting and for him mentally.

He said that batting practice can get monotonous, but he works hard and performs the necessary drills to be capable of making good decisions, getting himself back into game shape.

Snider is competing during this spring training against Eric Thames for the full-time position in left field. If he continues to perform and produce consistently, and if he continues to deliver for the Blue Jays producing RBI and getting on base, he will probably win the position that he covets.

He has worked incredibly hard putting in extra practice time, and has changed his attitude dramatically during this offseason. His drive and determination are producing strong results.

Unless there are some drastic changes, his 2012 season looks to be solid.

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Toronto Blue Jays Travis Snider Suffers Another Setback

Earlier this week, it was reported that Travis Snider has sustained a rib-cage injury which has prevented him from participating in baseball-related activities.   

Blue Jays fans have been left wondering if he will be ready for the start of the season, especially as he often seems to be taking two steps forward but then one step back.

However, anyone questioning Snider’s fighting spirit and ability to overcome the growing list of setbacks he has suffered so far in his major-league career should not be too concerned. This is a young man who overcame losing two grandparents, a close friend and a coach in a two-year span during his teens. 

Worst of all, his mother died in a car accident during 2007 after previously suffering major liver problems.

Although no consolation, matters at least improved on the baseball front soon after as Snider earned his first call-up to the majors in August, 2008. He made a promising start as he appeared in 24 games and finished the season with an impressive .301 batting average, together with two home runs and 13 RBI. 

This resulted in Baseball America ranking him as baseballs sixth best prospect.

The following season, he started like a house on fire with a home run and a double on opening day. However, after a productive April, which included becoming the youngest player in Blue Jays history to hit two home runs in one game, Snider suffered a prolonged hitting slump. 

This resulted in his being sent back to Triple-A in May.

Showing his penchant to battle back, Snider was recalled to the majors in August and the left-handed batter finished the season with nine home runs and 29 RBI in 77 games.

The 2010 season saw Snider endure an injury-riddled campaign, including a two month spell on the DL with a wrist injury. On the plus side, he went on to set career-highs for games played (82), home-runs (14) and RBI (32.)

This is a big year for the Washington State native, who is slated by manager John Farrell to be a full-time starter in the outfield. As such, the last thing Snider needed was another setback as he prepares for the forthcoming season. 

However, Farrell is cautiously optimistic that the 23 year old will be ready for the season-opener as he explained to the Associated Press: “Snider’s shown steady improvement, there’s some resistance testing that he’s going through and [he] is responding well to that.

“We haven’t turned him loose yet as far as beginning a hitting progression, but the fact that he’s making progress is certainly encouraging.”

Snider sustained the injury while playing golf last week and wasn’t immediately sure how serious it was: “It didn’t explode on me or anything. It just progressively got worse in 24 hours and we decided to take a cautious approach to it,” Snider told the Associated Press.

“It’s unfortunate but right now time is on my side and hopefully this thing is short term and we can get it under control and comfortable, back out there doing what I need to do to prepare myself for the season.”

Overall, Snider should have no problems overcoming his latest setback after continually proving that he can cope with any adversity in his life. 

It is this mental aptitude that separates him from the field, as he looks to finally fulfil his promise and elevate his game to the next level.    

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Toronto Blue Jays Predictions: 10 Reasons They Can Make the Playoffs This Year

The Toronto Blue Jays have been going in the right direction ever since Alex Anthopolous took over as General Manager.  Alex Anthopolous has put great emphasis on developing young talent and has invested time and money into ensuring that the future is bright.  At the same time, AA has managed to put a fantastic product on the field that has remained competitive even in the toughest division in baseball.  

The Toronto Blue Jays have had a phenomenal offseason as they have made a ton of wonderful signings and acquisitions that have significantly improved the team.  Players like Rajai Davis and Octavio Dotel come to mind.  

The Blue Jays have a very bright future and the present isn’t too bleak either.  The Jays have a good team and have strong and talented youth ready to make the Jays a contender for years to come. 

In my mind, I believe the Jays can make the playoffs this year.  The following is ten reasons why I believe that to be true.

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Toronto Blue Jays Depth Chart: Outfield For 2011 Features More Speed

Right Field

Travis Snider, in his third year in the majors, is looking for more consistency and a clean bill of health; 2011 could be the year that he achieves both.  Snider hasn’t had a smooth path to the majors, but has shown at different times that he is more than capable of excelling at the highest level.  

Snider should take over starting duties in right field, with the occasional start by Jose Bautista to give him a day off.  Bautista will get most of his starts at third base unless the Jays acquire another player between now and spring training, and will back up Snider in right.

Snider batted .378 in May with a .711 Slugging Percentage before the injury that took him out for all of June and July, then rebounded with a .304 average in September and October.  A full year of at-bats should see an impressive increase in production with a batting average likely around .290.


Center Field

The longest serving member of the Blue Jays, Vernon Wells, will again return to his position in center field.  The veteran outfielder will work to unite the young Snider and new Rajai Davis into a defensive unit with his responsible play and experience.  Wells has had over 500 at-bats over the last eight seasons, remaining relatively injury free, despite struggles with his wrist last year.  His resurgence in power saw him post his best home run and RBI totals since 2006, at 31 and 88 respectively.

Davis will cover for him on his off days, creating a chain effect that will see Snider move to left field and Bautista to right, or Corey Patterson filling in where needed.


Left field 

The speedy new acquisition Rajai Davis will be taking over left field for the Toronto Blue Jays.  They will try to have him in the line-up as much as possible so they have a legitimate base stealing threat in the leadoff position.  Davis has stolen 142 bases over the last four seasons, including 50 last season alone—far more than even the next closest Jay.

Corey Patterson is slotted to be the fourth outfielder right now, another base stealing threat with 21 last season.

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Zack Greinke Still High on Toronto Blue Jays Offseason Wishlist

With the Winter Meetings set to run December 6th to 9th in Orlando, Florida, talk is spreading like wildfire among baseball people that the Jays are pushing hard to try and acquire former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals.

The Jays may be one or two players away from making a run for an AL East pennant this year, and executives believe the Boston Red Sox, with the loss of Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre, and the Tampa Bay Rays, with the potential losses of Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford, may be in line for a decline in wins this season.

The Yankees, if they do not acquire Cliff Lee, may also be on the decline, as many of their aging superstars are starting to show their age. Derek Jeter’s numbers are down, Jorge Posada may eventually get passed by blue-chip prospect Jesus Montero and Yankees pitching staff, which includes the 38-year-old Andy Pettitte, is certainly not getting any better unless Lee is added.

The Jays, though, are really making some noise right now in Florida, and news and rumors are expected to pick up as the meetings actually begin tomorrow.

The Royals are said to be very high on Jays prospects Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider as possible returns for Greinke. Greinke, who recently turned 27, would solidify the Jays rotation, which includes Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and the club leader in wins, Brett Cecil.

Greinke has a partial no-trade clause, so he will have to give his seal of approval on deals to a list of 15 teams, but it appears he’s very open to getting out of Kansas City as fast as possible. Toronto is apparently on his list of no-trade teams, but so was Toronto on Troy Glaus’ list and he ended up getting dealt to Toronto, so who knows what happens.

Last season in 220 innings, Greinke went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA, 181 strikeouts and 55 walks, to go along with three complete games—not even close to the numbers he put up the season previous, when he was the best pitcher in the American League.

This would be a risky trade, nonetheless, if the Jays do in fact pull the trigger. But adding Greinke, if he returns to his 2009 form, would make Toronto‘s rotation nearly unmatched to any in the American League, apart from Tampa Bay.

Earlier last month, I reported that the Jays were also looking to acquire Alex Gordon in the deal with Greinke. Gordon, who can play third base and outfield, would easily help fill the void left by Edwin Encarnacion last season—if you could even call that a void.

That rumor could resurface in the next few days, as well, so don’t sleep on that.


Feel free to add your thoughts on the Jays’ continued interest in Zack Greinke. Is it worth trading your two best prospects for him? Does he really improve the Jays that much? Should the Jays look elsewhere?

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Blue Jays Rumors: Jays Believed To Have Strong Interest In D’Backs Justin Upton

According Ken Rosenthal, one of my faithful sources for Jays Rumors of Fox Sports, has reported the Jays also have strong interest in outfielder Justin Upton. Rosenthal confirmed that the Blue Jays were the one “mystery” team that

The D’Backs are believed to have a very high price tag for this 23-year-old all-star asking for as many as five major league ready talents off of a roster. Depending on the talent level of the players involved, that number should go down.

An example I’ll give you is the Bartolo Colon deal in 2002 with the Cleveland Indians in which they dealt Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens in exchange for Colon and Tim Drew. The Indians dealt their staff ace just entering his prime at 29 and received the Indians top two prospects and their starting first basemanalthough Lee Stevens ended up being the third wheel in the deal.

The Blue Jays, lucky enough, have the depth in the minors to trade some pretty great prospects and not really affect their long term future. However, The Jays with outfield prospects such as Anthony Gose, Jacob Marisnick, Eric Thames and you could even say Travis Snider, as a result, they are fairly loaded when it comes to outfield talent for the future. Some of them are ready now for everyday major league play such as Snider and possibly at some point this year Thames.

Upton right nowif traded forwould assume the role of right fielder and it would shift Jose Bautista to third base.

A relatively easy to see deal with the Diamondbacks would have to include Travis Snider, at least two good to great pitching prospects and possibly at least one more good prospect.

A deal that makes sense for both sides could be Travis Snider, Marc Rzepcynski, Zack Stewart and Eric Thames for Justin Upton. The Jays give up their outfielder of the future, one of their starting pitchers from last year and two top 15 prospects from their roster for Upton.

Rzepcynski, who is currently pitching the of all places, the Arizona Fall League, is pitching very close to the Diamondbacks who I’m sure are keeping close tabs on him. “Led Rzepplin” is currently 4-0 with 1.16 ERA in six games with the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.

A steep price to pay, but one that could put the Jays over the top if they do indeed sign Manny Ramirez to be the teams DH.

The Jays however will not be the only team in hot pursuit of Upton, and not the only team in the AL East, as the Red Sox are believed to be willing to offer some pretty great players for Upton, as I’ve heard Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard and even Jonathon Papelbon’s names bandied about. I’ll add the Yankees are said to be interested, but what fun is that when the $200 million dollar payroll big wigs want in on a trade such as this.

Now, I’m trying to be realistic here, and when the likes of Upton, and even Colby Rasmus become available, at their age and skill level, the price is going to be high.

From an outsider point of view, and looking at the Diamondbacks roster, I would hazard to believe that they would ask for an elite level prospect, a pitching prospect with closing upside (since they really have no closers), another top 15 prospect and a decent starting pitcher, all of which are covered in my proposed deal to the Diamondbacks.

But if the D’Backs opt for the more flashy Red Sox deal where it may include Ellsbury and one of Papelbon or Bard, then the Jays can easily move on and say they at least tried. The Red Sox are believed to be making a very aggressive push to add Upton to their relatively aging outfield that last season included the likes of oft-injured Mike Cameron and JD Drew.

Upton last season in 495 at bats hit .273 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI and adding 17 stolen bases with Arizona last season.

Thoughts on the Jays possibly pursuing Upton and whether the Jays can put together a more attractive trade package over the likes of the Red Sox?

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