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.

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.”

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60 COMMENTS

    • Add Lincoln for Snider and then print a T-shirt with Lincoln, Snider, Tarpley and Brault with a diagram.

      • Of course he can’t play 1b as good Ishikawa but he can certainly play left or right field better than him. I think 3 1b is enough, not really keen on carrying 4 so we can hang onto Travis I. I don’t this Srod is going anywhere which gives you 3 options at 1b between him, Morse and Pedro.

        This probably wouldn’t help until September 1 anyway but if Marte is out 8 games after taking one on the hand tonight I sure as hell don’t want to have to watch Ishikawa try to plat defense in PNC Park.

  1. Quickest way to look silly is to have strong opinions on marginal players. All the media outrage after this trade will go down looking about as bright as the indignation after they didn’t tender Jeff Karstens.

      • Assuming nothing.

        The Baltimore Orioles are paying Snider *not* to play baseball for them. No amount of rationalization can justify keeping Snider at that salary with this performance.

        The Pirates were right. Done deal. End of story.

        Actually getting additional value out of the prospects would be the cherry on top.

          • You can be a dick about it, but he has a point. Right now, without assuming anything, Baltimore got little to nothing out of that deal and we at worst got 2 arms that filled depth in the minors.

            You have to be the biggest Snider fanboy in the world to think this trade isnt a win for PGH.

            • My point all along is that the Major League Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club missed what Snider provided last year. I don’t care what he did in Baltimore. Listen to the Hurdle interview…..then go get a room with NMR.

              • You take things a bit too personally.

                Snider has a long career full of “average” so taking 2 months and acting like thats his norm is, well, dumb. PGH would have been still without a good 4th OFer with him this year (unless you fanboy enough to assume he’s magically better here, even though he wasnt for 75% of his time here) and he likely takes starts away from Polanco which would be stupid.

                Snider did great things here for 2 months, we got value for him, and he went back to being average. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with admitting he is a flawed player.

                I did listen to Hurdle, and laughed as i heard him say in a nice way “we are happy to throw him in AAA until Sept 1 so he can be a call up rather than take a roster spot”.

                • Huntington and Hurdle are bringing him back into the organization…not me. Picking out a piece of the interview and ignoring the positive things Hurdle said today and Huntington Sunday is not an honest way to argue your position. They both said he became a productive player here…and now they decided it was in the organization’s best interest to bring him back. You and your buddy NMR like to get personal if anyone challenges your positions with facts, and your posts prove it.

                  • You using the phrase “not an honest way to argue” is ironic. You act, during the entire argument, like Snider is a highly useful player. Which is either A) using 2 months as a large portion of judgement or B) just ignoring his many many years of average.

                    He’s likely an average player going forward. Not bad, not the guy you argue over for many many many posts. I really am “meh” to him, i just dont care for people acting like bringing him back is a big boon to this team. Marginal upgrade if that.

                    • With the Pirates Snider had a second half OPS of .880, and 13 home runs on the year while playing part time. He hit .264 here on the year. He was a useful player for the Pirates last year in 140 games, and no manipulation of the stats or history can refute that. It is obviously why NH signed him and sent him to AAA to get playing time.

                  • Bottom line, the Pirates have the 3rd best record in baseball without him up to this point. So they obviously haven’t missed him. Now they have him back and they have what appears to be 2 solid lefty starting prospects in the minors. Seems like a slam dunk win to me.

                    • Agree that this is a win, but I believe we missed his bat this year. His replacements in the backup role all failed(Decker,Lambo, Tabata,Hart) and I think our record would be better if he had been kept.

                    • Share whatever magical fairy dust you’re smoking that makes you believe the two good months of Travis Snider’s career would be repeated by donning a Pirate jersey this season.

                    • He also started strong with Baltimore this year. Huntington is going to give him a chance as he called him a valuable contributor here last year. Maybe you should change your blend……it might improve your outlook.

      • He wasn’t around for the Reds Brawl I. We missed his clutch pinch hitting. We had to watch Tabata, Hart, Ishikawa, Rodriguez at the plate and in the field. Oh man, I forgot, he would have made Polanco ………nervous.

        • You HAD to watch Sean Rod in the field? If you did…you would have noticed defensively he’s worth about 4Xs that of Snider. One error this yr…and it didn’t happen until the backside of August.

        • That assumes he would have been “a clutch pinch hitter” this year. Which, if his performance this year is an indication, is not a sure thing and in SSS anything can happen.

          • True enough……but he hit 13 out of the park last year for the Bucs. In Hurdle’s pre-game interview he was very complimentary of Snider’s play last year and indicated they want to get him a lot of playing time to get him ready and right for the big club.

    • Go see Brault pitch and then get back to me. He would have been worth it alone, let alone Tarpley included.

        • My sarcasm stinks on this site. I tried to retire it a couple weeks ago but then they got Snider back and I couldn’t help myself. It was like the Pirates gave the Orioles a ten dollar bill for two fives. Then a few months later the Orioles came back and said you can keep your 10 dollar bill. I get the fact that he wasn’t around for some pinch hitting early but……..with Polanco’s recent emergence thanks to full time playing, two good looking lefties, what else is there that needs to be done?

      • Leo, read what I wrote again and tell me how you don’t see I’m being sarcastic. “I still need to see more before I call Snider for Brault, Tarpley and SNIDER” a win”.

  2. He was a good bench player and he used to have fairly good patience at the plate and was good at hitting the fastball when it came. He’s AAA depth, just like Liz. Both will be good add’s to a september roster I suppose, but I have to ask this question. IF the choice in September was Snider or Garcia…. oooooooooh… I think I’d chose Garcia! I think it’s about time to have another Willy on the Bucs Roster and his upside is bigtime and his floor is dusty granted. Good choices to have I guess.

    • Garcia would be a rookie, and that isn’t going to happen in this organization with Clint Hurdle as Manager. When Garcia is ready, he will be there….next season or 2017.

  3. That entire body of work beginning with the trade of Lincoln for Snider is about as genius as you can find in MLB transactions. All four players now in the Pirates orginization ? Maybe Dave Dombrowski can top it ? Certainly not Ben Cherington…

    • I think the Pirates should go a few steps further and bring back Nate McLouth and Gaby Sanchez. We traded McLouth to get Morton, Locke and Gorkys Hernandez. We traded Hernandez to get Gaby. We already got Hernandez back.

    • Tim
      Surprised you are passing judgement on him already. He WAS a more effective bench player and pinch hitter for the Pirates last year than anybody we tried this year to replace him. I am not buying Ishikawa as his equal. Let’s give this “value” pickup a chance. If we can fix pitchers than this guy might find his swing again in familiar surroundings. What a great story it will be if he succeeds.

      • All Ishikawa did was hit a walk-off HR to put the Giants in the World Series. I’m not buying that Snider is his equal. But, it is still not a bad pick-up.

      • I’m considering the career numbers here, and not just the two month stretch from last year. If they get that, outstanding. But odds are they’ll get the version of Snider that they had pre-June 2014, and the same version Baltimore released.

        • Fair enough. I’m hoping they get the man who hit both lefties and righties with a second half OPS of .880 and 13 homers on the year.

  4. I’m thinking he joins the team before the end of August to make him postseason eligible. Bold prediction Gerrit Cole gets optioned on 8/28 to make room for him.

    • That requirement actually doesn’t apply here. Literally anyone in the system (no requirement to be on the 40-man roster) can be added to the playoff roster as long as 1) they’re in the system as of August 31, and 2) the Pirates are carrying at least 1 player on the 60 day DL. Since both conditions would apply for Snider, he would be eligible without having to be brought up.

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