MLB Spring Training: Toronto Blue Jays' Travis Snider Loses Job to Eric Thames

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIMarch 26, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 22:  Travis Snider #45 of the Toronto Blue Jays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that the starting position in left field will go to Eric Thames, and Travis Snider has been optioned back to the minor league.

Snider will start the 2012 regular season with Triple-A Las Vegas. He was a fierce competitor in the 2012 spring training camp, fighting for the job in left field.

Snider had a difficult 2011 season, but he came back with a positive outlook and made some changes this offseason to overcome the adversity from last year. He worked diligently to alter his batting mechanics, which appeared to work well in spring training.

In 17 games during his time in this year's spring training, he hit four home runs and led the team with 16 RBI.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said that sending Snider down to Triple-A isn't necessarily permanent. He knows that Snider will be ready to play for Toronto if things change and the situation presents itself.

Eric Thames had a solid 2011 season, which is a factor that helped him keep his job in left field. In 95 games, he hit 12 home runs and 37 RBI with a .262 batting average. In this year's spring training, Thames hit one home run and seven RBI with a .333 batting average in 18 games.

Snider began spring training competing in an uphill battle and had more to prove than Thames. Snider's mechanics have greatly improved, and he has had higher quality at-bats. He was consistent and productive, but in the end Thames came out on top.

Snider should look at this news as an opportunity to further develop offensively and defensively. Getting sent back down to the minor league stings, but he battled for the position with his heart and it showed.

He may not have been ready for a permanent call-up to Toronto, but he made quite an impression on the Blue Jays' organization. His time will come, and he will be ready.