Photo: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the rumors about Dan Duquette going to Toronto seem to be over the conversation around the Orioles can finally return to normal offseason discussions, like roster decisions and trade rumors. Yesterday, the Orioles added another name to that conversation by acquiring outfielder Travis Snider from the Pittsburg Pirates.
The move is hardly headline news around the MLB. The former first-round pick was once one of the highest rated prospects in baseball. However, in seven major-league seasons he has failed to produce at the level once expected from him, and subsequently has failed to retain an everyday job.
Although this move hardly seems earth-shattering, especially given the names the Orioles were linked to earlier this offseason, it’s another quiet yet clever move from Dan Duquette. It’s the perfect low-risk/high reward move that Duquette has made famous since his time in Baltimore. Let’s not forget, it hardly registered as news when the Orioles signed Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Pearce or Darren O’Day, and it’s hard to imagine a divisional title without them.
Despite Snider’s struggles, he has shown some pop in the past. Last season he collected 13 homeruns in only 322 ABs, and it’s doubtful those numbers could decline much at Camden Yards. If it’s Nick Markakis’s production he is meant to replace, Markakis hit only 14 homers in 642 ABs. Also, even though he will be coming into his eighth major-league season he is still a few days shy of 27, making him one of the youngest players on the active roster.
It’s most likely Snider will be used in some sort of platoon role with Steve Pearce and Delmon Young, and as Orioles’ fans have seen in the past, Buck always seems to use his platoons in the best possible scenarios for them to succeed. It could be the perfect situation for a young, talented player to take the next step in his career.
It’s hard to imagine Snider turning into the potential All-Star he was once predicted to be, but then again he could, and for what the Orioles gave up it’s a chance worth taking. Apart from being an All-Star, he should be a solid contributor that makes the team better. It’s not a sensational move by any means, but it’s a prudent move and a Duquette move. He does it quietly, but suddenly you look up and the Orioles are fielding another great team.