Not About Fairness
So the Blue Jays blow saves twice in one game, and naturally the reaction is to send outfielder Travis Snider back to Las Vegas.
Well, of course that's not why Snider was demoted, but from his point-of-view, the disappointing events of the day from a team perspective and from an individual perspective must be frustrating when juxtaposed.
Fair? Maybe, maybe not. Three weeks ago, Snider was so hot Blue Jays management wouldn't have dreamed of demoting him. But some of the old troubling swing habits were appearing again, the production had dropped and the Jays needed room to bring up Brett Lawrie. With options left, Snider was the easy one to move, and the hardest one for whom a case could be made to stay.
That's four times down in two years, and while it's easy and natural to wonder if it's time for Snider to try his luck elsewhere, it's also worth pointing out that's why players have all these options and smart teams are the ones that use them to effectively in order to manipulate their rosters and not lose players for no reason.
It's intriguing that the Jays fancy themselves as a team capable of identifying young players stalled in their development with other clubs - Jose Bautista, Yunel Escobar, Colby Rasmus - and then helping them reach their potential in Toronto. Yet in Snider, they have exactly that kind of player themselves, so they should know giving up on him before they have to, or before they can gain something useful in a trade, isn't smart baseball. If they can provide a better home for Escobar or Rasmus, shouldn't that same environment work for Snider?
It's not a straight curve upwards for every young player. Paul Goldschmidt may look like precious commodity this moment in Arizona, but a year from now he might be working on his swing in the minors again. Imposing first baseman Chris Davis once looked to be a Texas Ranger of the future, so much so the Rangers felt comfortable moving Justin Smoak to Seattle just a year ago in the Cliff Lee deal. Now, Davis is a Baltimore Oriole, unable to break through in Arlington and used in a trade to acquire reliever Koji Uehara.
So it's not over, necessarily, for Snider in Toronto. He may come back having adjusted his approach at the plate again. Still, it's hard to shake the feeling that he's simply being squeezed out of a roster position with the Jays, and that even if he can regroup, there may be no room for him.