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20,000 Streets Under the Sky: Bringing Up Travis Snider

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As the Blue Jays have fallen out of the race and Travis Snider (Pacific Coast League player of the week Travis Snider, that is) has gotten hotter and hotter in AAA (he's now hitting .293/.400/.602), albeit in the hitter-friendly PCL, many folks around here have inquired - what are the Jays waiting for?  Bring up the man we call Moonraker!

As with so many other things in life, it's a question of money.  Courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:  If Snider gets 50 or so more days of service this season, he's likely to qualify for Super-Two status after 2011 (assuming he plays full seasons over the next two years, of course), which is when certain young players who have accrued the most service time are eligible for arbitration after 2 full major-league seasons, rather than the standard 3 specified in the CBA.  The Jays would still have control over Snider for the same years, but would end up paying quite a bit more for his services, as players see a big spike in salary at the time the are first arbitration-eligible and also see their salary go up each successive year in arbitration. 

Now, it may very well be that the Jays tender Snider a long-term deal to avoid yearly haggling over his salary and perhaps to buy out some free agent seasons, but even if that is the case, Snider's bargaining power is significantly better if he is a Super-2 or is positioned to be one.  So, the Jays would be fiscally wise to wait until late August to call Snider up, to ensure that he won't qualify for super two status. 

One might argue that the Jays have more to benefit from Snider seeing more major-league pitches this year, as he will be a better player next season.  That might be the case, especially depending on how serious the Jays are about contending in 2010, but it's also a high price to pay for 2-3 weeks of major-league at-bats that might or might not help him develop quicker in the majors.  He'll still have over a month of (hopefully) everyday action if he's called up in the latter part of August. 

Also, one might argue that Snider has clearly shown he belongs in the majors and that it is unfair to deny him the opportunity to play there for what are only money reasons.  But the thing about that is that the Jays gave Snider a shot at speeding up his service-time clock big time by allowing him to break camp with the team.  He had the opportunity, and showed he wasn't quite ready yet. 

What do y'all think?