Travis Snider was the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft and ranked among Baseball America‘s top 20 prospects in both 2008 and 2009, but the Blue Jays sent him to Triple-A yesterday despite being a 24-year-old with 877 plate appearances in the majors.
And it turns out other teams feel similarly about Snider, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports the Blue Jays “aren’t drawing much trade interest” in the corner outfielder because “rival clubs like Snider, but know the Jays are unlikely to move him when his value is down.”
Snider always crushed the ball in the minors despite being young for every level of competition, hitting .306 with 73 homers and a .901 OPS in 439 games, including .333 with 20 homers and a .957 OPS in 127 games at Triple-A. However, he’s hit just .248 with a .730 OPS in the big leagues while striking out 236 times in 232 games.
For now he’s fallen behind Eric Thames on the depth chart, but Snider is still young enough that the Blue Jays shouldn’t be anxious to sell him for pennies on the dollar just yet. Plenty of teams would be smart to give Toronto a call, though.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.