All it took for Travis Snider to get another chance in Toronto was a 10-player trade.
Following their big swap with the Astros this morning the Blue Jays have recalled Snider from Triple-A, where he hit .335 with 13 homers, 16 doubles, and a 1.021 OPS in 56 games.
It’s worth noting that Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment, so Snider’s numbers there aren’t as impressive as they first appear, but he’s consistently had huge production in the minors and despite not yet establishing himself in the big leagues the former first-round pick is still just 24 years old.
Snider failed to win a spot on the Opening Day roster despite a strong spring training, as the Blue Jays chose to go with Eric Thames as their primary left fielder. That didn’t work very well, as Thames hit poorly in 46 games before being demoted to Triple-A himself. Since then Toronto has filled the position with Rajai Davis, but the combination of Jose Bautista’s wrist injury and Ben Francisco being traded to Houston clears the way for Snider to see regular action.
Snider hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he also hasn’t been a total disaster. He’s hit .248 with 28 homers, 54 doubles, and a .730 OPS in 232 games as a big leaguer, which is actually decent for someone so young. His big strikeout totals and regression last season led to his heading back to Triple-A, but the Blue Jays are absolutely making the right move in giving him an opportunity to help replace Bautista’s power and Snider still has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order fixture.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.