Travis Snider

Blue Jays designate Juan Rivera, call up Travis Snider

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When the Blue Jays took back Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli as the price for shedding Vernon Wells’ deal in a trade with the Angels, it was with the idea of sending both elsewhere before the season started.  It worked out fine with Napoli, who was moved on to Texas for Frank Francisco, but the Jays never could find a taker for Rivera and they designated him for assignment following Sunday’s game.

With a .243/.305/.360 line, six homers and 28 RBI in 248 at-bats this season, Rivera hadn’t done anything since Opening Day to enhance his trade value.  He was hitting .327 in 55 at-bats against lefties, but versus righties, he came in at .219.  Considering that he’s making $5.25 million and he has no defensive value at all, no team was too interested in adding him to its bench.  Perhaps that will change if he gets his release and a club will only have to pay him the minimum.

Getting another chance in Toronto is 23-year-old Travis Snider.  Snider was sent down after hitting .184/.276/.264 with one homer in 87 at-bats to begin the season, but he had come in at .333/.403/.488 in 201 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.  There is a huge caveat there: Las Vegas is a premier offensive environment in the already hitter friendly PCL.  However, Snider hit .380/.449/.570 in his 19 road games while playing with the 51s.

What isn’t so impressive was that Snider had just two homers.  He did have 21 doubles and two triples, but for the year now, he has just three homers in 288 at-bats between the majors and minors.  That’s a far cry from what was expected from the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Snider is still plenty young, but he really needs to seize this latest chance the Blue Jays are giving him.  He’ll likely be pretty much an everyday outfielder with Jose Bautista back at third.  If he fails again, he might turn into offseason trade bait for the club.

The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle’s number this June

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox waves to the crowd after being tasken out of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field on September 27, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Mark Buehrle last pitched in 2015, for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was still pretty effective and toyed with the idea of pitching last season, but he never signed anywhere and is, for all intents and purposes, retired.

Now at least his number will be retired officially. It will be done by the club for which he had the most success and with which he is, obviously, most associated:

Buehrle pitched for the White Sox for 12 years. He was the model of consistency and durability in Chicago, logging over 200 innings a season in every single season but his rookie year, when he was primarily a reliever. He was a solid defender, a multi-time All-Star, tossed a perfect game in 2009 and helped the Chisox to their first World Series title in 88 years in 2005.

He was also one of baseball’s fastest workers, so I’m going to assume that, in his honor, the number retirement ceremony will last, like, a minute 20, after which everyone can get on with their dang day.

Terry Francona isn’t sure how long his health will allow him to manage

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.

He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:

“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.

“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”

Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.

With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.