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Blue Jays designate Juan Rivera, call up Travis Snider

Jul 3, 2011, 6:37 PM EDT

Travis Snider Reuters

When the Blue Jays took back Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli as the price for shedding Vernon Wells‘ deal in a trade with the Angels, it was with the idea of sending both elsewhere before the season started.  It worked out fine with Napoli, who was moved on to Texas for Frank Francisco, but the Jays never could find a taker for Rivera and they designated him for assignment following Sunday’s game.

With a .243/.305/.360 line, six homers and 28 RBI in 248 at-bats this season, Rivera hadn’t done anything since Opening Day to enhance his trade value.  He was hitting .327 in 55 at-bats against lefties, but versus righties, he came in at .219.  Considering that he’s making $5.25 million and he has no defensive value at all, no team was too interested in adding him to its bench.  Perhaps that will change if he gets his release and a club will only have to pay him the minimum.

Getting another chance in Toronto is 23-year-old Travis Snider.  Snider was sent down after hitting .184/.276/.264 with one homer in 87 at-bats to begin the season, but he had come in at .333/.403/.488 in 201 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas.  There is a huge caveat there: Las Vegas is a premier offensive environment in the already hitter friendly PCL.  However, Snider hit .380/.449/.570 in his 19 road games while playing with the 51s.

What isn’t so impressive was that Snider had just two homers.  He did have 21 doubles and two triples, but for the year now, he has just three homers in 288 at-bats between the majors and minors.  That’s a far cry from what was expected from the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft.

Snider is still plenty young, but he really needs to seize this latest chance the Blue Jays are giving him.  He’ll likely be pretty much an everyday outfielder with Jose Bautista back at third.  If he fails again, he might turn into offseason trade bait for the club.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jul 3, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    As far as I am concerned it is mission accomplished. Napoli had 2 years left on his contract while Rivera only had the 2011 season left on his. Hopefully Francisco will be deemed to be a Type B Free Agent and the Jays can turn him into a sandwich round draft pick. Snider is only 23 and needed time in Triple A to eliminate a big problem with his swing and plate coverage. Hopefully the swing has been revamped sufficiently for him to realize his great potential. In the interim, Eric Thames, another young outfielder recently called up from Vegas has looked very good.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:06 AM

      Snider is in his 4th season and was hitting a whopping .184 this season. Has a .426 life time slg% which is terrible for a power guy but on the bright side he strikes out a ton like most power guys so you get the whiffs just not the homeruns wiht this guy. Yeah im afraid all the time in the world isnt going to help this guy and you seen what those sandwich picks have brought you over the years, not much

  2. jeffhink - Jul 3, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Rivera’s splits against lefties are great. He seems like a logical pickup for the Phillies once he clears waivers. His defense isn’t very good, but if you platoon him with Ibanez the defensive dropoff if negligible.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 3, 2011 at 7:42 PM

      That idea just might work; however, the Phillies saw him botch a ball in the outfield this weekend. Based on a report in a local paper, it appears that the Jays think that they can trade Rivera. They will probably have to take back some of his salary and receive the famous “player to be named later”.

      • jeffhink - Jul 4, 2011 at 1:19 AM

        The Blue Jays think they can trade him. They might be the only team that thinks that. He has enough service time that he can refuse a minor league assignment and become a free agent, and any team that is considering him probably isn’t willing to give up anything for him. He’s a platoon guy at best.

      • purdueman - Jul 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        Service time has nothing to do with whether Rivera accepts a minor league assignment or not. Rivera’s ability to turn down a minor league assignment after being DFA’d is strictly about him being out of minor league assignment options.

        If Rivera can’t be traded, clears waivers and is offered a minor league assignment, if he refuses it he becomes a free agent and the Jays have to pay continue to pay him the rest of season. If another team subsequently signs him, the only thing the Jays are off the hook for is the MLB pro-rated minimum salary that he’d receive elsewhere.

        I’m out in So. Cal and it’s no secret that in order for the Jays to unload Wells, they had to take Rivera’s contract back in return as part of the “bad contract for bad contract” deal. The Jays shopped Rivera, as they did Napoli, immediately after the Wells trade became official, but found no takers then, just as they’ll find no takers now either.

  3. Glenn - Jul 3, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    It happens to be his birthday today. Happy 33rd, Juan.

  4. purdueman - Jul 4, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Hawk Harrelson was being interviewed live on a local Chicago radio station this afternoon after the Sox-Cubs game. When he heard the news of Rivera being DFA’s, he immediately gave a big grin and said: “He Gone!”….

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 4, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      Yeah what he meant was this interview is over and he’s gone to the bar for a couple of cold one’s. Rivera isnt getting traded, end of story

  5. db105 - Jul 4, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    Rivera would make the all the leadfoot team.

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