It appears the battle for the Toronto Blue Jays left field job has been won by Eric Thames, the Jays left fielder last season. Travis Snider was sent to the minor league camp and will begin the season in AAA Las Vegas. Snider had a solid spring batting .271 with four home runs and a team high 16 RBIs in 17 spring games. However incumbent left fielder Eric Thames was equally impressive this spring batting .333 with a home run and 7 RBIs.
Thames was also pretty steady last season for the Jays at the major league level, belting 12 HRs and batting .262 in 95 games. I think it would have taken a combination of a monster spring for Snider and a terrible one for Thames for the Jays not to give Thames the starting role. However, if I were Thames I wouldn’t be too comfortable based on comments by Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos:
“This doesn’t mean it’s permanent — this could change at any time. Just because one guy starts the year doesn’t mean it couldn’t change at any time. So Travis is going to be ready.”
The Jays announced a series of cuts today including David Cooper, Yan Gomes, Jon Diaz and Chris Woodward along with Snider as they attempt to get their roster set for opening day.
Gregor Chisholm reports Toronto has five more cuts to make, and two jobs are up for grabs. Veteran Omar Vizquel is competing against Luis Valbuena and Mike McCoy for the utility infielder spot, while Dustin McGowan, Aaron Laffey and Kyle Drabek are in the mix for the final spot in the starting rotation. Top pitching prospect Drew Hutchison is also still in camp, but he isn’t considered a strong candidate.