With the trade that sent Travis Snider to the Baltimore Orioles still fresh in the minds of Pittsburgh Pirates fans everywhere, it’s worth taking note of some of the more pertinent information surrounding the deal that has surfaced in the last 24-plus hours.
First, and foremost, according to Baltimore executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette, the two sides first discussed the potential framework for a deal at the Winter Meetings. However, the talks heated up again just weeks ago – ultimately culminating in the trade that saw a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later.
"“I had stayed in touch with Neal because we were still looking for a left-handed-hitting outfielder, so we continued our persistence and Neal made him available,” Duquette said."
Last season, Snider batted .264/.338/.438 with Pittsburgh in 140 games, while establishing himself as a quality teammate both on and off the field. Heading into 2015, he appeared to be set to take the role of fourth outfielder for Clint Hurdle, but now will provide depth to the Baltimore Orioles’ ranks as the team seeks to repeat as American League East division champions.
2014 proved to be his best in a Pirates uniform – especially in terms of offensive production. Snider produced at a 2.2 oWAR after posting negative measures in each of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh. He’s aiming to take his contributions to Baltimore with the goal of continuing to win – as he did in each of the past two years in the Steel City.
"“It’s definitely an exciting time for my career and, most importantly, getting the chance to play for a manager like Buck Showalter and play for an organization that is defending the AL East title and someplace where winning is expected,” Snider told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday. “That’s something that coming from Pittsburgh the last couple years will be nice, kind of picking up where I left off, so to speak, on a team full of competitors.”"
Snider will no-doubt prove to be a valuable asset for the O’s in 2015. After struggling for much of his Major League career, he seemed to figure some things out last season, narrowly missing a career-best – hitting 13 home runs in a career-high 322 at-bats.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will head into the upcoming campaign with team leader Andrew McCutchen in center field flanked by the likes of Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. Bench options include Josh Harrison (who is set to be the team’s primary third baseman), Andrew Lambo and Corey Hart – although the latter stands to see time at first given his injury history.