Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Blue Jays recall Travis SniderPosted by Evan Brunell
Travis Snider was recalled by the Toronto Blue Jays today after scorching Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .337/.431/.662 line in 175 at-bats.
As has been clear for a while now, Snider was recalled once his potential eligibility for Super Two arbitration status expired, ensuring that the Jays get him for one additional year at or near the major league minimum.
21, Snider has the ability to become a franchise-changing hitter for a team that could desperately use one. He'll see ample time in right field with Alex Rios off to Chicago. He had a poor .242/.292/.394 line earlier in the year for the Jays, but that clearly looks like the aberration given his dominance in Triple-A and handling of big league pitching last year (.803 OPS).
Prior to this recent promotion, Snider was limited to facing mainly right-handers as the club wanted to ease him into a big-league role. Not anymore. He'll be playing against both right- and left-handed pitchers as the Jays start looking ahead towards their 2010 team.
Whether this 2010 team will be designed to compete is anyone's guess. With J.P. Ricciardi's insistence on a high-profile deal for Roy Halladay, Halladay could very well open the year in a Toronto uniform. While Edwin Encarnacion shouldn't go anywhere near third base, he could serve as the Jays' left-fielder or designated hitter this coming year as Josh Roenicke emerges as a late-inning reliever. (Encarnacion, Roenicke and top prospect Zach Stewart were acquired for Scott Rolen at the trading deadline.) If Ricciardi looks to add, Snider becomes crucial to their ability to field a playoff-caliber team with the humongous Vernon Wells contract sucking up center field. While the team has done well in purging themselves of Rolen and Rios' deals, they still can't walk out and start tossing money out left and right.
Snider's success the rest of the way in 2009 could be a large factor into the decision on how to approach next year as they simply can't hope to compete without him.
Evan Brunell is currently editor of Fire Brand of the American League, a Red Sox blog he began in 2003. He also scores games at Fenway Park for MLB. He was the co-founder and president of MVN, an independent sports media web site.