According to Chris Cotillo, the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to sign Travis Snider to a minor league deal. That will allow the team to add him without dropping anyone else at this point from the 40-man roster. Snider started off strong this season, but that ended quickly and he hasn’t hit much since mid-April. He was recently released by the Baltimore Orioles, who traded two left-handed pitcher prospects (Stephen Tarpley and Steven Brault) to the Pirates in January. Since it’s a minor league deal, there is no risk adding him at this point and he should be a September call-up when the rosters expand. More on this move when it becomes official.
Source: Pirates are signing Travis Snider to a minor-league deal.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 19, 2015
UPDATE 4:19 PM: Analysis from Tim Williams…
Earlier in the week we heard that the Pirates were interested in Snider. At the time, I wrote the following:
“If the Pirates could get Snider on a minor league deal, and stash him away until September 1st when rosters expand, then it would make sense to bring him back. Otherwise they’d be adding him at a time where he doesn’t look like a significant upgrade to the bench, and at a time when the bench is already facing some upcoming cuts with the returns of Mercer and Harrison.”
The fact that they got him on a minor league deal is great news, as it allows them to call him up on September 1st, giving the team some bench depth at that time. And with Harrison and Mercer returning soon, that bench is about to get stronger.
That said, Snider is probably going to be over-valued by Pirates fans. He had two strong months at the end of the 2014 season, which he would be unlikely to repeat. Then he was traded for prospects, and that sort of created this rose-colored memory of him as a player who was a key part of the team. The reality is that he’s not really much of a better option than the guys they have now, including someone like Travis Ishikawa (who has slightly better career numbers than Snider). That’s why Snider was released from a team that was struggling to make the playoffs and in need of outfield help. It’s also why Snider is now available as a minor league free agent.
Overall, this is a good depth move, but it won’t provide the impact that a lot of Pirates fans would expect from Snider’s 2014 totals, and Snider won’t be able to live up to the post-trade reputation as someone who is a key to the success of the bench.
UPDATE 6:04 PM: Coverage from Pete Ellis at PNC Park…
Clint Hurdle acknowledged that Pirates have the “intent” to sign Snider to a Minor League contract, and that Snider is scheduled to join Triple-A Indianapolis tomorrow in Charlotte. It is unlikely we will see Snider in Pittsburgh before the rosters expand on September 1st, considering the amount of time he’s missed since the Orioles DFA’d him.
“He needs to get some playing time to sharpen his skills”, Hurdle said. “We’ve got history with him, so [we just need to] get him out and get him playing, and see how that bat will show up. It’s an option at two different outfield spots and an option off the bench.”
When Hurdle was asked whether he has received information on what has contributed to Snider’s struggles, he exclaimed that he hadn’t had the opportunity to speak with Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, or even Snider himself.
“I think what I’ll do is reach out to Travis first,” Hurdle explained. “At least you get the player’s perspective, which is always important.”