As I begin to write this article the Jays just blew yet another game in the late innings. Perhaps I should write about our Bullpen.
At no other time are roster decisions more paramount to a team's long term success as when that team is rebuilding. The Blue Jays are in a significant transition phase that hasn't been seen in these parts since the early 80's and as I look at our roster and the performance of certain players it becomes quite clear what needs to be done.
First, get rid of Lyle Overbay.
Currently hitting .176 with an OBP of .271 along with two HRs and nine RBIs just doesn't cut it. His power numbers translate to 16/73 over 162 games but that's more of a product of his position in the order as Hill and Wells have been doing a great job getting on base. The average firstbaseman in the majors hits at a .263 clip which roughly equals an extra 13 hits for Overbay over his 74 AB's.
So what does this all mean?
Well Overbay's trade value is virtually nil. We may be able to ship him off to team that needs/wants a reserve 1B/DH with above average defense but at a salary of $7,950,000 this year, what do we get in return? A marginal prospect at best or perhaps a swap of contracts which I doubt Alex Anthopoulos is interested in.
So that leaves the Jays with one alternative: place him on waivers and if he's not claimed, send him to AAA—which is basically giving him his release.
There are several options to replace Overbay if this scenario were to come to fruition. The first is to simply plug in Randy Ruiz at 1B. His average is even worse but with a significantly smaller sample size of 16 ABs. However, his previous two seasons he hit .313 with 115 ABs and .274 in 62 ABs so there's some potential to provide stability there. Although at 32 he's clearly not a long term option.
Another scenario would be to sign Carlos Delgado. One of our most beloved and productive Blue Jays ever, he'd be a great way to generate some buzz and provide not only solid production at DH (Lind would have to play 1B) but leadership as well. I'm a huge Delgado fan and would be thrilled with this move. However, as with Ruiz, Delgado is not a long term solution.
The third, and most likely scenario, would be calling up Brett Wallace from the AAA Las Vegas 51s. Currently hitting .288/8/14 in 74 AB's with a OBP/SLG split of .381/.671, he's clearly ready for a shot with the big club.
But at this stage I feel that if he does get the call that it's a permanent move. He should not be sent down as he'll need to see as many MLB pitches as possible to truly get a sense of his worth as a long term solution at 1B/DH. This should be the move to make but I'll admit as fan I'd be giddy to see Delgado back in Blue and White.
Now, what about Travis Snider? Although his numbers are equally as putrid as Overbay's (.127/2/4) his situation is completely different. He was a first round pick (14th) by the Jays in 2006 and is only 22 years old. He's still considered a top 25 prospect by most scouting organizations and MLB.com lists Travis as the 7th best prospect in baseball—ahead of names like Neftali Feliz, Colby Rasmus, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Elvis Andrus.
So what does this mean?
The answer is simple. Nothing. Travis has decimated minor league pitching and has nothing left to prove there. His power is off the charts and so is his ceiling as a player. I'm talking about a perennial .290/35/110 LF.
But the question most asked is how patient should we be with Snider—how long do we wait for him to break out? The answer is, as long as it takes. Brett Wallace is no less a top prospect as Snider and he's two years older yet no one is worried about his window to succeed.
So for now the Jays will keep sending the kid out there until it clicks. But I'll leave you with an interesting stat: Of Snider's eight hits this season, four are Home Runs. If he ever improves his plate discipline, look out.