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.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.