It’s official, folks. Thames has secured the starting Left Field position for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
It was reported Sunday that 24 year old Travis Snider had been optioned to AAA Las Vegas, officially closing the book on the “Battle for Left Field” that has been a key point of interest surrounding the Blue Jays camp this spring.
Snider did everything he could to state his case for a position with the big league club by compiling a 271/.340/.625 slash line to go with a team leading 16 RBI in 17 Spring Training game’s this March.
The decision to go with Thames at this point in the spring leads one to believe that Snider never really had a shot of breaking camp with the big league team regardless of the kind of numbers he put up down in Florida.
After all, the job was Thames to lose and the 25 year old did nothing to imply that he was ready to give up his position north of the border.
In 16 Grapefruit League games this spring, Thames has posted a .333/.380/.511 line, driving in 7 runs in the process while going toe to toe with Snider in the Box Scores.
Going with Thames, the Blue Jays are willing to sacrifice defense in hopes of securing steady offense out of the Left Field position . Steady offense that Snider has not been able to provide the team during parts of 4 years in the Majors.
It has been a personal opinion of mine that Snider’s struggles as a MLB regular is a direct byproduct of his former GM (JP Ricciardi) rushing him through the system in a meek attempt to silence his critics.
It’s unfortunate that Snider has been subject to such an up and down experience with the Blue Jays in the early stages of his career. Yogi Berra once said that this game is 90 % mental and the other half is physical. Call it what you will but the truth of the matter is that Baseball is a mental game that can reek havoc on a young impressionable mind like Snider’s.
The sad reality is that Snider’s window with the Blue Jays may be coming to a close faster than most fans want to think. A demotion, despite his numbers (albeit sampled sized), may prove to be the last straw for the young outfielder as he may not be strong enough mentally to handle the situation after all of the work he has done to better himself as a baseball player in the past few years.
Of course, the future is yet to be seen and Snider could still pan out as the Blue Jays cornerstone Left Fielder however the the journey back to the Blue Jays lineup will continue to get harder for the young prospect if Thames continues to progress as an everyday MLB Left Fielder.
The Final numbers from the Battle for Left Field:
Tuesday, March 20th vs Boston
Snider – 1 Run, 2B, 1B, 2 RBI, Stolen Base
Thames– 2 Runs, 2 Base on Balls, 2 1B’s
Thames 24 – Snider 41.5
Wednesday, March 21st vs Baltimore
Snider – 2B, Run
Thames 24 – Snider 43.5
Thursday, March 22nd vs Philadelphia
Snider – Run
Thames 24 – Snider 44
Friday, March 23rd vs Tampa Bay
Snider – Base on Balls
Thames 24.5 – Snider 44.5
Saturday, March 24th vs Atlanta
Snider – Run
Thames– 1B, 2B, RBI
Thames 27 – Snider 45
Sunday, March 25th vs Boston
Snider – 0/2 RBI
Thames – 0/2
Thames 27 – Snider 46