Tao of Stieb: Snider gets the runaround again

July 17, 2012, 11:38 PM

The Toronto Blue Jays have royally messed it up beyond all salvation with Travis Snider, and it’s time to stop the charade. They should really just let him go.

That isn’t to say “the Jays should use him as an asset and attempt to make a deal to get something reasonable in return.” No. They shouldn’t even feel as though they have that opportunity. They’ve morally lost all purchase over the right to determine the future of his career.

Yes, your blogging pal is arguing out of spite to make the team weaker. He’s probably lost his mind.

But seriously, just let him go. Let him walk away, and go find another organization.

At every opportunity throughout his professional career, the Blue Jays have made the wrong choices when dealing with the 14th pick in the 2006 draft. Move him through several levels in one year? Sure. You know they did that.

Call him up to the majors at the age of 20 because of a lack of depth in even marginally passable talent? Oh yeah, for sure. They were all over that gambit.

Park him on the end of the bench to let him rot and mess up his head when he should have either been playing every day or developing his game in the minors? Thank you very much, Saint Cito.

Give him a few hundred at bats here or there, then send him back for more Pacific Coast League batting practice? They liked this joke so much, they kept repeating it.

Send him back for another cleansing season in the desert while choosing a lesser player ahead of him in a fictional left field battle? A player who could barely hang for a month and change in his “starting left field” role? Why, of course they did.

And now, when the Blue Jays are about to go into several weeks (and who knows how much longer) without the centrepiece of their offence, the brain trust chooses to promote a 21-year-old kid ahead of him. A kid who is probably getting his first shot at The Bigs at least a season too soon, but hey…what could go wrong?

Is the Anthony Gose promotion analogous to Snider’s back in 2008? If you’re suggesting that the general manager of the day might have demonstrated a level of overanxious zeal in moving the prospect that he acquired to the front of the line when there was an opening for an extra outfielder in a lost season so as to demonstrate that he knows what he’s doing and his selection of players is better than the collection of duds left around by his predecessor, then…sorry, what was the question again?

Over the past two years, either Alex Anthopoulos or John Farrell or some combination thereof have decided that Rajai Davis, Eric Thames, Ben Francisco, Corey Patterson, Juan Rivera, Dewayne Wise, Adam Loewen and Mike McCoy were all better options than Travis Snider. And now, they’ve moved Anthony Gose ahead of him, presumably because Morgan Ensberg isn’t picking up his phone today.

Oh, sure, they’ll say how much they like Snider. They’ll roll out hoary Hallmark Card platitudes about what a great player and great person he is. But when it comes right down to it, this team can always find a reason or rationale for keeping Travis Snider away, and out of their sight.

What has he done to deserve this? He allegedly failed as a major leaguer, posting a .730 OPS in 232 games, despite the fact that he was probably too young to be playing at the level. He posted a .767 OPS as a 22-year-old in 82 games in 2010, but that wasn’t good enough to save his roster spot. If you tally up his last two seasons, he trudged along for a .709 OPS in 521 plate appearances. You know what Rajai Davis has posted since he’s been in Toronto? A .647 OPS in 550 plate appearances.

Does that make any sense at all to you?

Even if Snider occasionally shows signs of success in Las Vegas — .959 OPS in 787 plate appearances — it’s dismissed by virtue of the fact that it’s Vegas. Effectively, the Blue Jays have set up a scenario where Snider can’t possibly succeed. All he can do is toil and wait. And wait. And wait.

Maybe people will be too thrilled by the appearance of the new guy to cast a thought towards Travis Snider in the next few days. Maybe this is Gose’s time, and Jays fans should feel some excitement at seeing the future of the franchise today. That’s one way of looking at it.

There’s also a pretty bright future that’s worth considering for the player this blog once named the Great Big Giant Pasty White Hope. It’s clear that it won’t be as a Blue Jay.

So let him go.

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