The path to the Majors is clear for Andrew Lambo
With the surprise announcement that Travis Snider had been traded to the Baltimore Orioles, most Pittsburgh Pirates fans, this writer included, thought the Pirates made a bad deal. Coming to the Pirates are a low-A LHP and a player to be named later. At first glance, it seems like easy fodder for folks to think that Neal Huntington just wants to shed salary. For what it’s worth, I am absolutely certain that the three arbitration cases looming over the Pirates (Neil Walker, Vance Worley, and Pedro Alvarez) certainly attributed to this deal. Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: there are more than enough people on the Pirates’ major league roster that can play RF. Josh Harrison can move there, Sean Rodriguez can handle it, and Corey Hart can actually do it in desperate times.
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But what if i told you that there were other factors at play here. One thing is the organizational depth. Sending Lunchbox packing allows everyone to move up a spot in the organization. Jaff Decker, Mel Rojas, Willy Garcia are all names that aren’t particularly exciting, but moving someone up to replace Travis Snider on the 25-man allows those names to get more playing time and move up a level. This is highly important for any organization, to see where you are with these types of players so you can project what you have.
The other factor in this trade is Andrew Lambo. The Lambinator (working title) has had a couple of cups of coffee with the big-league club in the past couple of years:
Not exactly earth-shattering of course, but what you see here is a guy who I feel would be very capable of .275/.385/.500 or thereabouts. Not your classic power hitter but a guy who can play multiple positions and perhaps give you 25-30 doubles a year. So how exactly would Lambo not be at the very least a cheaper version of Snider? Tell me again why it’s not important to save $2 million when you can? The bottom line for me is this: It’s time to see what you have in Lambo. Before 2015, he was blocked by the likes of Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez at 1st and in RF he was impeded by Snider and Gregory Polanco. Rightfully so with those last two, but the Pirates are in a great spot right now where they can legitimately contend AND keep an eye on the future at the same time. Getting Lambo at-bats and time in the field is of course paramount, but before now, the timing was never right. With all that being said, Lambo will have to actually show up to Spring Training, get the most out of it, and show that he is ready. But, after HATING the trade at first, I’ve come around to liking it more and more.
Doesn’t mean I can’t be sad too. Fare thee well, Travis Snider.