July 31, 2012
Blue Jays trade Snider, Thames
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
SEATTLE - Alex Anthopoulos was the hardest working Blue Jay on Monday night.
While the Blue Jays were busy dropping a 4-1 decision to the Seattle Mariners, their enterprising general manager put together two trades in which he first moved left fielder Travis Snider to the Pittsburgh Pirates for right-handed reliever Brad Lincoln. No sooner was that deal done, the Jays announced they had traded minor league outfielder Eric Thames for Mariners reliever Steve Delabar.
The moves are a continuation of a theme Anthopoulos started July 20 when he engineered a 10-player deal with the Houston Astros that brought the Jays veteran reliever Brandon Lyon and starter J.A. Happ, who has spent his time with the Jays in the bullpen.
Oddly enough, at the start of the season the rebuilt bullpen was considered to be one of the team’s strengths but because of injuries and poor performances it has become the weak underbelly of the team.
Lincoln, 27, is 4-2 this season with one save and a 2.73 ERA in 28 games including five starts. He has allowed 51 hits in 59 1/3 innings with 14 walks and 60 strikeouts.
In parts of three seasons with the Pirates, the Lake Jackson, Tex., native has a career record of 7-9 with a 4.62 ERA in 51 games, 22 starts.
He was a first-round selection and the fourth player taken overall in the 2006 June draft, the same draft where the Jays made Snider their first-round pick with the 14th selection.
Delabar, 29, is 2-1 this season with a 4.17 ERA in 34 games for the Mariners. The 6-5, 220 lb. right-hander has allowed 23 hits in 36 2/3 innings with 11 walks and 46 strikeouts. He has also allowed nine home runs.
Manager John Farrell said that Lincoln will be used in the seventh and eighth innings.
“He’s had an outstanding year with the Pirates and he’s really emerged as a late-inning reliever,” Farrell said. “We’re parting ways with a young, talented outfielder in Travis, who is still trying to get established on an everyday basis in the big leagues. We felt like we gave up a quality player for a guy who is starting to come into his own in Lincoln.
“He was a high pick for them but right now we envision him in the bullpen. That’s where he’s flourished. That’s where he seemed to come into his own at the big-league level.”
The trade caught Delabar by surprise.
“I walked in and we were about to celebrate (Hisashi) Iwakuma’s game and (Lucas) Luetge’s first save and I got pulled aside and was told I was heading over to the other clubhouse,” Delabar said. “The Blue Jays have a pretty good team, they swing it, have a lot of power hitters in their lineup, and that’s about all I know right now. I guess I’m supposed to go over there and help them out.”
Snider’s career with the Jays was one of unfulfilled promise.
He first arrived in the big leagues in 2008 and since then has been up and down, making a string of appearances each season but never sticking.
This spring he lost out in the battle for left field to Thames and arrived 10 games ago where he has batted .250 with three homers and eight RBIs.
Thames, appeared in 46 games with the Jays this season, batting .243 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
Snider, a class act, left the team in style as he paused to talk to reporters before being whisked away.
“First of all, thank you to everybody in Toronto, the organization, the fans and I can’t say thank you enough for sticking with me through this journey and looking forward to a new opportunity,” he said.