It’s On, It’s Off

A year ago the Arizona Diamondbacks began shopping back-up catcher Miguel Montero around the league. They had signed starting catcher Chris Snyder to a three-year contract after he had proven himself as a capable starter who handled the pitching staff very well.

Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks could not find a deal adequate to trade Montero. As they went into Spring Training 2009, Snyder remained the primary catcher. Manager Bob Melvin explained that Snyder would get the bulk of the work behind the plate and Montero’s role would be as a left-handed pinch hitter who would occasionally start behind the plate.

There were rumors that General Manager Josh Byrnes expressed a desire to have Montero in the lineup with more regularity, a request that met with quite a lot of opposition by Melvin and his staff. Montero waited patiently for his opportunity.

chrissnyderWhen Melvin was fired and replaced with AJ Hinch, the rumors began to fly that Montero would be getting a lot more playing time. This did happen but not necessarily for the reasons anyone expected. Snyder suffered several injuries which limited his playing time to just 62 games.

With Snyder on the mend, Montero got the bulk of the catching duties and made the most of his opportunities. When Snyder returned he found that he had lost the starting job to Montero. When Snyder injured his back in August, it was Montero who became the primary catcher in the Diamondbacks future.

Snyder’s season finally ended when he elected surgery to help repair his back problems. Montero would end the season with one of the best seasons a Diamondbacks catcher has enjoyed. As the season ended Montero and Snyder find their roles reversed.

Montero is now penciled in as the starting catcher with Snyder now the back-up. The Diamondbacks were rumored to be shopping Snyder around to other teams.

Over the weekend word leaked that the Diamondbacks were in talks with the Toronto Blue Jays that would send Snyder to Canada in exchange for former Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Overbay is in the final year of his contract with the Blue Jays. Overbay who was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the 2003 trade for Richie Sexon is a contact hitter who is relatively patient at the plate providing him a decent on-base percentage.

This deal looked to be an insurance policy that gives the Diamondbacks an alternative if Brandon Allen does not progress like the team envisions. By all accounts the talks between Arizona and Toronto were going well.

After sending medical information on Snyder to the Blue Jays, talks were put on hold. Rumors suggested that perhaps Snyder’s surgically repaired back was not as sound as first reported. Snyder who is vacationing with family in Florida responded stating he was feeling well and expected to be ready when Spring Training begins in February.

It appears that Arizona feels some sense of urgency to make this deal. Given the unknown nature of Snyder’s condition and whether he will bounce back to his 2008 level; any deal made now would be in a worst case scenario.

The Diamondbacks would be better served by waiting until closer to Spring Training or even to the beginning of the season before trying to move Chris Snyder. Other teams would then be able to see for themselves that he is healthy and capable of catching a full season.

It seems odd that Arizona would leap at this deal so early in the off-season when teams would still be wary of how successful Snyder’s surgery was. There are enough other things that need to be done to this roster to not make the trade of Chris Snyder their number one priority.

1 Comment

  1. I think moving Chris Snyder should be a priority, especially if another team is willing to trade someone like Lyle Overbay with only one year removing on his contract to do so. This provides the team flexibility in negotiations considering the additional team salary relief that’s provided without having Chris Snyder’s deal on the books for the next couple years.


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