Is Calling up Travis Snider a Smart Move?
Looking at the Travis Snider call-up from two different perspectives. A) his future development and B) his future contract situation.
Going one for three with a double Snider had a positive debut. He did K once in the game and I think that will be the story heading into September. Can Snider control his strikeouts?
One area of concern since Snider joined the Blue Jays organization and clearly made evident this season is his production vs lefties. His OPS is nearly .300 points less vs lefties than righties in AA this season (bulk of his at-bats). He also carries with it a much higher strikeout to plate appearance ratio.
This is where I begin to become concerned with this call-up and even the thought of Snider playing next season in Toronto. If he struggles against left handed pitching will this hurt his overall development? Will the Jays bench him vs lefties if he proves ineffective? With the International League season winding down (and Syracuse not qualifying for the playoffs) the call-up does allow Snider a few more at-bats. Unfortunately this leads into another problem, his arbitration clock.
Around this time last season many were looking for Jay Bruce to receive a call-up to the Reds. Cincinnati declined and let Bruce finish out his season early, even after Bruce massed AAA pitching for close to 50 games.
This continued into spring training. Many fantasy players hoped Bruce would open the season in the bigs. But he was sent back down to AAA Louisville. After a couple of weeks the Reds called Bruce up and inserted him into the starting line-up. One could argue that Bruce was ready to play MLB level baseball in August of last year.
With the Reds having no shot at playoff contention they ended up doing the smart thing by holding Bruce back. Why?
Due to the workings of Arbitration a player has to have three years of MLB experience before he is eligible. By holding Bruce back two weeks the Reds are now able to get one extra MLB season out of Bruce pre-arb. 2008 will count as a partial season, 2009 will be a full year, as will 2010. If Bruce had been called up last September or started the season in Cinncy 2011 would have marked the year Bruce would have been eligible for arbitration, which is more money and a year closer to free agency. But because the Reds held off 2011 will be yet another low salary pre-arbitration season. The Rays also played this game with Evan Longoria, which somewhat forced his hand into a long term contract with the Rays.
Travis Snider’s arbitration clock has now started. With the expected struggles expected from a player that started the season in A ball, is this call-up a savvy move for Snider’s development or the Jays future hopes of retaining his services at a low cost?