Pirates Pry Snider Away From Blue Jays

The Deal
Fresh off their successful pursuit of the Wandy Rodriguez for the rotation, the Pirates bolstered their lineup by trading for 24-year-old Blue Jays left fielder Travis Snider. Pittsburgh surrendered righthander Brad Lincoln, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft who had Tommy John surgery after turning pro and just this season settled into a big league role. Like Lincoln, Snider went in the 2006 draft’s first round and has been slow to fulfill his promise, spending a portion of each of the last five seasons in the high minors and exhausting his three minor league options.

 
Blue Jays Acquire
Brad Lincoln, rhp

Age: 27. Born: May 25, 1985 in Lake Jackson, Texas.

Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 210.

Bats: L. Throws: R.

School: Houston.

Career Transactions: Selected by Pirates in first round (fourth overall) of 2006 draft; signed June 21, 2006 … On disabled list, April 5-Sept. 7, 2007.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Indianapolis (IL) AAA 1 0 2.25 2 2 0 12 10 3 3 0 0 9 0.83
Pittsburgh (NL) MAJ 4 2 2.73 28 5 1 59 51 19 18 8 14 60 1.10

Lincoln hasn’t fully delivered on the promise that got him drafted fourth overall in 2006, but he has established himself as a legitimate big leaguer in his third shot in the majors. He posted a 0.50 ERA with 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and an opponent OPS of .519 in 23 relief appearances with the Pirates. The bullpen appears to be the best place for Lincoln, who was bombed in five starts this year and has a career 5-9, 5.65 record in Pittsburgh’s rotation. Working in relief allows Lincoln to focus more on his best pitch, a hard curveball. He also throws a low-90s fastball and an ineffective changeup. He may have one minor league option remaining for next season due to the fact his time in Indianapolis this season was so brief.

 
Pirates Acquire
Travis Snider, lf

Age: 24. Born: Feb 2, 1988 in Kirkland, Wash.

Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 235.

Bats: L. Throws: L.

School: Jackson HS, Everett, Wash.

Career Transactions: Selected by Blue Jays in first round (14th overall) of 2006 draft; signed June 18, 2006.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Dunedin (FSL) HiA .227 5 22 3 5 1 0 0 1 1 5 2 .261 .273
Las Vegas (PCL) AAA .335 56 209 49 70 16 0 13 56 34 42 2 .423 .598
Toronto (AL) MLB .250 10 36 6 9 2 0 3 8 3 14 0 .300 .556

Toronto summoned a 20-year-old Snider to the big leauges in late-August 2008 despite a troubling strikeout rate in the minors. He never got his whiffs under control while in the big leagues, fanning in 27 percent of his 917 plate appearances with the Blue Jays, though he did make headway on his contact rate in Triple-A. Lefties still give him trouble, but Snider hit righties hard while with Las Vegas from 2009-11, batting .338/.423/.599 with 25 homers, 41 doubles and a 68-to-86 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 532 PAs against them. (He has a respectable .757 OPS versus big league righties for his career.) Though he’s a well-below-average runner, Snider plays fringe-average defense in left field with a solid, accurate arm—but it’s his plus power the Pirates are buying. His powerful lefty stroke ought to play in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, giving the Pirates a boost to the lineup at an extremely reasonable cost.

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