It's kind of appropriate that Snider's callup came on the very night that the college football season started in the States, since GM J.P. Ricciardi, pretty much called a Hail Mary pass with this move. As you probably know, Ricciardi probably has to start pulling out all the stops if he's going to keep the Rogers beancounters from wondering where all this spending is going when the Game 162 passes with no Game 163 in sight.
Having Snider slam a few homers in September would go much farther toward convincing the highers-up that the Jays have some prospects than any glowing reports out of Dunedin or New Hampshire or Syracuse. It's not a total stunner that he would get called up, since it was expected that Snider (cue the reactionaries: "But he hasn't done anything in the major leagues yet!") would be in The Show by early next year.
It does mean it's the end of the line in Toronto for Matt Stairs of Fredericton, N.B., the balding, pasty hoser baseball nut's pride and joy, which is too bad, but he handled it like a champ. Stairsy is apparently headed to the Phillies for a prospect. He'll get to be in a playoff race, and he gets to scratch another club of the short list of teams he still has to play for before he's done.
The story back in July was that the Phillies apparently dangled a couple prospects when they were trying to get A.J. Burnett. It goes without saying Stairs wouldn't fetch as much, but another half-decent arm in the system wouldn't hurt. (It's probably too much to dream for to think that the Jays got Carlos Carrasco, who averaged more than a strikeout per inning across Double- and Triple-A.)
The upshot of Stairs going to a contender is that between the Phillies, the Mets (Carlos Delgado), the Cubs (Rich Harden and Ryan Dempster; ex-Jays Ted Lilly and Reed Johnson), the Brewers (Canadians Doug Melvin and Gord Ash in the front office), the Diamondbacks (Orlando Hudson), the Red Sox (Jason Bay) and the Rays (Eric Hinske) is a smorgasborg for the Toronto media. They'll have plenty of Canadians to write about during the playoffs and will be able to point out all the ex-Jays who are on post-season teams, as if they could have used NFL rules and had a 53-man roster instead of 25.
Anyways, there is a case hat this is too early to bring up Snider and you shouldn't be too cavalier about hurting his development. He's 20, he strikes out a lot, but he's hit everywhere he's been since signing out of high school in 2006. The only grounds to oppose this on is from the mental aspect. Anyone who's concerned about starting the free-agency clock on Snider this early can slag off. This is something a smart organization wouldn't do, but for god's sake, live a little. Go stuff your GM fantasies in a sack.
Damn, the Jays
- Apparently, Matt Stairs played in 150 games this season when the Jays have only played 133. No wonder he was so worn down. (Adventures in copy-editing; I've had a few.)
- The indirect comedy of Balls, macleans.ca's sports blog, really beggars language.
Steve Maich, who's a brilliant business reporter, actually suggested a 2009 Jays lineup with Joe Inglett as the everyday shortstop, with an ideally healthy Aaron Hill staying at second.
That's sterling, suggesting a guy who's 40-man roster flotsam can handle a position that he never played regularly in the minors and has played for a grand total of 11 innings in the majors. Hill is one of the best fielders at second base in the majors, but the Jays have never toyed with moving him to shortstop, because he doesn't have the skillset. If Hill doesn't, what would make anyone think that Joe Inglett did?
Mr. Maich, you stick to IRAs, and the rest of us will handle the ERAs and the like. How's that for a fair compromise?
- Snider and J.P. Arencibia will play for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League, in case anyone is interested in tracking their progress through the non-baseball months. (A glove tap to Pete Toms for the link.)
- The Toronto Star baseball writer Richard Griffin got FJM'd big-time for his absolutely straight-off-the-Ork-cloud rant about baseball being a "team sport."
Drunk Jays Fans also lampooned it in the guise of channeling frustration over Wednesday's 1-0 loss where David Purcey pitched so far over his head (no walks, 11 strikeouts in a complete-game five hitter) that his nose will probably bleed for a week to 10 days.