Travis Snider was released by the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, which is probably significant news to a lot of Pirates fans that were upset when he was traded away this Spring. On his radio show on 93.7 The Fan today, Neal Huntington said that the Pirates have already reached out to Snider, and that there is some interest. Dan Zangrilli and David Todd have the details from Twitter:
Huntington just confirmed on his radio show on @937theFan that they have reached out to Travis Snider's reps and that there is some interest
— Dan Zangrilli (@DanZangrilli) August 16, 2015
"Travis played very well for us, so obviously we'd have some interest." – GM Neal Huntington on Travis Snider, recently DFA'd by Orioles.
— David Todd (@DTonPirates) August 16, 2015
The outrage over the Snider trade was probably too high. He was a bench player who had two strong months at the end of the 2014 season. There was a chance he was finally breaking out and becoming a starter, but there was also a chance that was a fluke, and he’d regress back to being a bench player. The Pirates sold high and got left-handed pitching prospects Stephen Tarpley and Steven Brault. I wrote about Tarpley today, and Sean McCool wrote about Brault earlier this week.
Trading Snider ended up being the right move, and the evidence is clear today. The Orioles are a team struggling to make the playoffs, currently sitting on the outside of the Wild Card race, and in need of outfield help. And they released Snider. Just a few months ago, the Pirates were able to trade him for two legit left-handed pitching prospects. This continues the buy low/sell high game with Snider, as they originally got him in exchange for Brad Lincoln, who they sold high on after a few months of strong relief in the majors (which he didn’t repeat), at a point when Snider was struggling to stick in the majors.
It would then make sense to try and add Snider again at another low point now that he’s a free agent. However, the need for Snider isn’t huge. The Pirates currently have a bench that includes Michael Morse, Travis Ishikawa, Pedro Florimon, and Sean Rodriguez. They also have Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison returning in the upcoming weeks. My guess is that Florimon will go when Mercer returns, and Ishikawa could go when Harrison returns.
Ishikawa has similar career stats to Snider, and the two have had a similar value in 2015, especially when you compare Snider’s numbers after his first week of the season, and Ishikawa’s numbers with the Pirates. They’re both options who would be good for the bench, great to have in September, but ultimately they’re not going to make a big impact.
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 end result there is that they’d have Snider, but wouldn’t really have an actual upgrade to the bench.
Of course, one potential upside to adding Snider would be seeing Snider, Brad Lincoln, Stephen Tarpley, and Steven Brault in the same organization at the same time.