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Chris Snelling – Something Cool

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on May 11, 2006

Yeah, I know, This was supposed to be a discussion on potential trade partners for the M's with Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro.

But since Chris Snelling is back, and let me assure you, he's back, he's most definitely back, how can I ignore his performance on Wednesday afternoon?

What I saw yesterday was pretty sensational. Not just the fact that Snelling is back on the field but the manner in which everything unfolded on Wednesday at Cheney Stadium.

I arrived early, as usual, and sat and scoured the media notes and situational statistics packets in the press box and saw a few key stats and interesting notables.

But the lineup card is what really caught my eye; something cool was in the air and it wasn't the coastal air blowing in from the narrows.

In his first game versus legitimate pitching, Snelling was hitting third in the Rainiers lineup versus the hottest team in the PCL. Round Rock had won 11 straight and 13 of 14 and posted a team ERA of 3.08 in that span.

Apparently, Snelling just doesn't care how good the Express were supposed to be.

His first AB ended in a strikeout, a swinging whiff versus rehabbing southpaw Trever Miller.

But as the game moved on – and stayed close – somehow you could just tell something cool was going to happen.

The Express tied the game at 1 in the sixth inning and the score remained at a standstill until something "cool" strolled to the plate four innings later.

In the bottom of the ninth, and after a brutal eight and a half innings of home plate umpiring by another inept replacement umpire, Hunter Brown was called out on strikes and that was the start of a tirade by Tacoma players and staff.

The first called strike on Brown was "10-12 inches outside," according to Clint Nageotte who was charting pitches in the first row behind the plate. "That pitch was the worst call I have ever seen."

Brown had fanned looking earlier in the game and immediately turned around to tell the umpire he was wrong.

Literally simultaneous to the call, Brown turned around and hollered "that pitch is not a strike, it's NOT!"

He was right, these pitches were pretty brutal and TJ Bohn was getting the same ridiculous treatment.

In the ninth, Brown was called out on a pitch six inches inside, forcing him to hop back out of the way. He immediately disputed the call and as he started to walk away from the plate he continued barking at the ump.

It was time for someone to stand up to these umpires who haven't learned how to call balls and strikes.

Brown made it back to the dugout but was thrown out of the game shortly after he began yelling out to the field again. As Brown made his way to the clubhouse, hitting coach Terry Pollreisz began to speak in a general voice to the HP ump. When the Umpire spouted back in anger, the 66-year-old Pollreisz, replaced hip and all, sprinted to the plate to shred the umpire a new rear end.

"THE STRIKE ZONE IS TOO [BLEEPING] WIDE!" shouted Pollreisz as he drew lines in the dirt with his feet around the plate creating a strike zone about 36 inches wide.

Pollreisz was ejected. Manager Dave Brundage was also ejected after he jumped in the umpires face, but apparently he was angry at something different altogether.

"I was upset that he used that kind of language with one my staff members," said Brundage. "It was unsolicited and Polls had every right to be miffed."

That was fun to see, but the fun had just began.

A scoreless bottom of the ninth and a 1-2-3 top of the 10th set up the fitting end to the RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Catcher Guillermo Quiroz led off the inning with a single to left field and infielder Jack Arroyo pinch ran for him. Second baseman Scott Youngbauer sacrificed Arroyo to second.

With right-hander Travis Driskill on the hill, the Express intentionally walked the left-handed bat of Shin-soo Choo to set up a possible double play, and a match up with the right-handed bat of the struggling TJ Bohn – he of the .226 batting average versus righthanders.

"He'll get a hit here," said Nageotte after I joined him in the box seats behind the plate. "If this guy had a 95 mph fastball and a hard slider, maybe not. But TJ kills these types of guys."

Two pitches later, Bohn rifled a liner into center field to load the bases and bring up something very, very cool – Chris Snelling.

Snelling was 1-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk at that point and Round Rock brought in former Mariners' left-hander Steve Kent to face Doyle.

"This game is pretty much over," said Nageotte. "It's not going to go to 11."

His confidence in Snelling was not surprising, but he wasn't done praising his teammate.

The count quickly went to 3-0 as Snelling let two close pitches go by and watched ball three sail high and away.

"He'll have the bat on his shoulders now, probably," said Nageotte. "He can fight off anyone so he can wait for 3-2."

He did watch strike one go by, a fastball right down the middle, but Brundage gave Snelling the green light on the 3-1 fastball and Snelling swung right through it.

"That won't happen again," said Nageotte.

In between the 3-1 and 3-2 pitches, I asked Nags how amazing he thought it was that Snelling can sit out for so long prior to last season and then come up and hit .370 and then attempt it again this season. His answer came after the 3-2 pitch.

The 3-2 pitch was a fastball middle-in and Snelling crushed it deep to right-center field. It hit off the wall about five feet up, easily scoring Arroyo from third to win the game for Tacoma and securing a triumphant return for the Jedi Knight.

"It's like riding a bike for him," said Nageotte. "He'll never forget how to hit."

Photo Credits –

Chris Snelling: Out of the Park Images


46 Responses to “Chris Snelling – Something Cool”

  1. jp17 said

    Snelling if healthy, will prove all doubters wrong. Jason, what do you see as a timetable for his return to the Mariners and who do you expect to be moved to make room?

    I could pray for Everett to be moved, but I’m guessing Lawton.

    Or with the starting pitching stronger would Hargrove be able to deal with 11 pitchers?

  2. Rehab stints are limited to 20 games and then the club can request a second 10-day stint, but to be honest, I think he’s ready to hit big league pitching today.

    So the issue at hand are;

    1. His knee. He won’t play the field for the first week in Tacoma – if not longer. But he will be working in the outfield in practice.

    2. He’s wearing a knee brace right now, one that limits his lateral movements, but as soon as they can either remove that or replace it with a less retsricting brace, he’ll probably be ready. He has to be able to play the field if he’s going to be called up while Everett is on the roster.

    3. Room ont he big-league 25-man. They will simply make room. Snelling may need to DH some and at that point they will just work him in slowly. Everett won’t be traded until the team knows they are out of the race or until Snelling can play left field 3-4 days a week.

  3. J2D2 said

    Thanks for that, Jason. Amazing post. I count the days until he’s batting for the M’s again.

  4. I’m afraid to ask who J2D2 really is.

  5. jp17 said

    Is it really worth the risk of having Snelling play the field? In my world Everett and Snelling cannot coexist. I would only feel comfortable with Snelling as the DH and Everett makes for one helluva expensive bench player (not unlike Spaz). We are in contention because the division sucks, not because we are good. Dump Everett and Lawton and make way for Snelling and Choo. They will outperform them for alot less money. You might even be able to bring something of minimal value back for Everett/Lawton like another backup infielder.

    Is the FO stupid enough to believe they really have a shot at contending or are they just trying to give the appearance of a team who is not rebuilding? Rebuilding is fine…just ask the Indians.

  6. Unfortunately for you, Jp17, and me, and most other fans – and maybe even Snelling and the M's themselves, they don't make decisions in your world.

    They believe, and want him to be able to share time at DH and in left or roght field with Raul Ibanez.

    Re: FO stupid?

    They are NOT out of the race by any stretch. You can make a really convincing argument that if Sexson was hitting even 70% of what he was a year ago, the M's would be in first place.

    My argument would not be about whether they can contend or not, my point would be that they can contend more effectively with Snelling in the lineup than with Carl Everett. 

  7. Tom said

    Just awesome. I like the insight from Nageotte, too. I was listening to Curto’s broadcast when it happened and thought “If they were in almost any other PCL park it would be a walk off GS.” (Though I’ve only ever been to one other PCL park, so I don’t really know.)

  8. slim said

    This probably means Petagine will be the guy to go. You can’t have a 4 man bench where 2 guys are 1B/DH types only. Best-case scenario is that Everett pulls a hammy tomorrow night.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Everett signed here knowing full well that Snelling would take his job as soon as he was healthy. From listening to Bavasi talk, it sounds like Snelling is priority #1. And Everett is used to being a part-timer from his days in Chicago. Think of him as Petagine with a couple/three starts a week.

    It’s too bad Carl burned his bridges with the White Sox. Kenny Williams loves trading for the guy.

    This may be premature, but how far away is Snelling from being an adequate CF? I remember reading Snelling talking about how CF is easier for him to play than the corners because there’s less sudden stopping and crashing when you run out of room. Will he ever get the speed back to do that, or is that completely out of the question at this point?

  9. Curto is probably right. That ball was a double if it wasn’t a game-ending hit and it did hit up the wall at least 4 or 5 feet, maybe as high as halfway – it blended in with the white wall area of the fence so it as hard to tell.

    Cheney is a pitcher’s park and the weather, while mild, always is a small factor at least.

    In Portland’s PGE park, I think that’s still a double, but in Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, Round Rock and Sacramento, that’s probably a walk-off granny.

  10. Snelling cannot play center anymore.

    For one, it's the last place you want him playing defensively with his injury issues, and second, he just doesn't have the speed to do it anymore – not at Safeco.

    Snelling said so himself early last year.

    From a quote on April 22: "I'm not going to be running around center field anymore with those guys, but I can still use my speed to my advantage a little bit. I'm just not a center fielder anymore."

    The answer is Ichiro in center. 

  11. slim said

    Ichiro in center seems to be more and more inevitable.

  12. jp17 said

    Re: #6

    Sure they are not out of it. But with this group the best that can be hoped for is winning the Sound to Narrows. Dump the execess garbage in favor of young talent and in time you can be hoping to win the Boston Marathon.

    Basically this team’s ceiling this year is a quick exit from the playoffs. And that is a pretty high ceiling IMO. While it would be a miracle for them to make it to the playoffs….I’d rather not make it and get something of value for those who will not be here when the real contention begins. A playoff berth this year wouldn’t mean much when you will be starting over with a bunch of guys next year to replace Guardado, Everett, Lawton, Meche, Pineiro, Moyer…..get a frickin’ head start.

  13. jp17 said

    add to last post.

    What have Everett, Lawton, and Guardado had to do with the small success of the team this year? Nothing.

    In fact they have done more towards the failures.

    Pineiro and Meche have helped but one must realize when it is time to move on. That time is now.

  14. JasonAChurchill said

    Re: Jp17

    Everett has been an asset, Lawton to a very miniscule degree has helped the club.

    Eddie, who oddly enough has the best chance STILL to be the biggest contributor of the three, has killed the M’s to this point.

    Everett hasn’t been great but his OBP isn’t terrible and his SLG could be a lot worse.

    His park adjusted numbers are decent and he does lead the club in homers.

    Sexson and Beltre have hurt the club more than any other hitters.

  15. jp17 said

    True, but Sexson and Beltre will be here for awhile. Their performance/pay ratio sucks which makes them untradable.

    If they were nearing the end of their contracts then I’m sure we would be talking about moving them.

    Everett is at a point in which he is movable (along with Guardado and Lawton) and is why he is in consideration. That and Sexson and Beltre aren’t currently blocking anybody. The other three are. Given the same chance do you not think that Choo or Snelling could have been on par with Everett?

    I agree Everett is not the problem. Sexson and Beltre are, but we aren’t really in a position to do much with them so we must improve where we can.

  16. GEUK said

    Is this ever likely to happen?

  17. GEUK said

    oops…..sorry. what that should have said, was is seeing Ichiro in centrefield ever likely to happen?

  18. Neither Sexson nor Beltre are untradable.

    They just aren’t. The trade-off is that you A) won’t get much for him and would have to send cash or B) will trade for another bad contract hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, or: C) Both

    But neither player is blocking the M’s from adding some other player, so the discussion is moot.

    Re; Ichiro in CF?

    Likely? I wouldn’t call it likely, but it sure is possible.

  19. 1996Coug said

    Whaaaa! Where’s my trade talk????

  20. I’ll do that tomorrow, probably. Snelling was a hot topic I couldn’t pass up.

  21. Michael Sayler said

    Sneeling is a hitting machine. Keep him at dh when he comes up. Hey Jason love this website!!!!!

  22. jp17 said

    Of course anyone is tradable, but like you said the fact you won’t get much in return and have to send cash or you get another bad contract is basically saying they are untradable. That and they aren’t blocking prospects.

    So what I’m saying is that there really isn’t much use in bringing up Sexson and Beltre in a discussion on how to make the team better now.

    The team relies on thier successes or failures. Right now they are failing, and there isn’t much we can do in terms of moving, demoting, replacing them.

    We can look to upgrade where we can and that is where Snelling and Choo come in. The only place they can fit is the spots currently being taken up by Everett and Lawton. Unless they decide to demote Reed which as you have said doesn’t make much sense if you want to build his value.

  23. Sexson and Beltre are the ONLY immediate options to making the team better, so why wouldn’t I bring them up?

    They have to hit better, even if it’s below their career means.

  24. StandinPat said

    The M’s def are still in contention because the division is so weak this year. But to me thats even more reason to go really yound for the bulk of the season, because we could still be in the race with Choo, Snelling and maybe even AbsCab playign every day. That way we have a much more realistic view of our team needs for the offseason.

  25. That’s what I think, too. Snelling>Everett, etc.

  26. Dave Cairns said

    Great work as usual Jason. Thanks

    It is heartening to see two of the three Australian M’s (Travis and Chris) back playing great baseball.

    Can you share your thoughts on Travis’ last start at some stage sounds like he was lights out !!

    I like Slims idea that Petagine will make way for Snelling or Choo but I guess they took a risk on him at the end of ST due to his age. Like Blackley I hope they don’t rush Snelling back to quickly.

    Some people on ITP are talking about moving Blackley to AAA but he is a command pitcher which relies on confidence in your stuff. This needs time, whereas a fastball pitcher may be able to work their way back at a higher level with by overpowering even top level pitchers.

    Keep up the great stuff, I would love to see people using the chat room

  27. Blackley certainly isn’t long for AA, but that move is not imminent, at least not yet.

    I am currently trying to get a hold of Travis and get his take on the outing, but I may have to do a post on him without talking to him first.

    I’d say before his next start, probably tomorrow night after I get the trade piece done.

  28. taro said

    Snelling isn’t a prospect, hes an 800 OPS bat playing in AAA. And he comes with upside.

    Call the kid up.

  29. StandinPat said

    The thing that drives me crazy is that the M’s are actually in a pretty good position if they play their cards right. They have a decent number of solid prospects who could actually make this team better now, while giving them greater payroll flexibilty. Everyone who is on the block for the M’s would bring back something, and has atleast a solid replacement waiting in Tacoma. The M’s will never know what areas they need to address in 07, until they look at the potential fixes they have now. Give some of these kids half a year and they will show you what offseason moves we need to make.

  30. Willmore said

    Hey, Jason. What do you think of this trade idea:

    To Yankees: Pineiro, Beltre and Baek.

    To Mariners: Randy Johnson, Philip Hughes, Eduardo Nunez and maybe Jose Tabata (though his BB/K ratio is awful)

    This allows for Asdrubal to play 3rd base, ridding us of Beltre. Johnson can start for us, or be traded again if he catches fire. If he is traded, it clears up a lot of money for free agency, or another trade this year.

    New York gets another bat, a somewhat reliable arm for the stretch run and rids them of a dead arm in Johnson, who we won’t care if he struggles for a year.

    The only hinge is if NY will want to give up prospects, but I don’t think it worried them in the past, so why start now ?

    I figure Beltre can play 3rd base for the Yanks, with A-Rod moving to 2nd base and Cano to the outfield instead of Cabrera, or some mahinations with the DH, I really don’t care as long as we are rid of Beltre.

    I don’t know if it works for the Yankees, but I don’t see a deal-breaker.

  31. There is now way they deal Tabata and Hughes unless they are getting legit star talent in return.

    RJ has a no-trade clause, Pineiro is no better than Chacon or Wang – OR Johnson.

  32. Willmore said

    ah well.

  33. jp17 said

    Sorry Jason I was more referring to roster moves that could improve the team. Of course the easiest (well maybe not) way to improve the team is to have the key guys (Beltre, Sexson, Ichiro) playing like they should. As a wannabe GM we can’t make them start hitting, but we sure can throw out ideas for roster construction. That and I’m not smart enough to begin to break down somebody’s swing.

  34. Salty Dog said

    ‘Nother good night for Yoda.

    On base 4 times. RBI single, 2 walks, and a HBP.

    Get the guy in Safeco already!

  35. dnc said

    Yoda is a freak of nature.

  36. Grant said

    Sick post.

  37. I love the word sick.

  38. DIQ said

    No way the Yankees give up RJ and those prospects for our junk. We can’t expect to get rid of Pineiro and Beltre for that type of return. I think you’re overvaluing Pineiro and Beltre or undervaluing their players.

  39. Willmore said

    Nah, I’m just putting a lot of stock in Cashman’s ineptitude 🙂

  40. John said

    Jason, with Yoda prone to get injuried alot why not use him as a D.H. The guy can outright HIT.

  41. Willmore said

    Yeah, but he gets injured running the bases just as often, if not more so when he’s in the field. If he’s in the field, he stays warm throughout the game. Sitting on the bench for half a game, I would think would cause a higher injury risk. But then again, I know almost nothing about this kind of stuff so it’s pure speculation.

  42. Eric said

    I guess there are two ways to look at the injury issue.

    on the one hand, yeah he does seem to get hurt more running, so playing the field shoudln’t matter and may help him stay loose.

    I suppose the other theory is just that the injuries are from weak ligaments and he is gonna get hurt every so often, by DHing him you cut down on how much he plays so the frequency of injury is decreased ie he will still get hurt as many times but much more time between the injuries (wasn’t that basically what happened with Edgar?)

    Or I suppose another theory all together is that it is just dumb luck so far and law of averages is he won’t get hurt for 5 or 6 years again (I’m irrationally pulling for this one!)

  43. dnc said

    I’m with Eric – praying that it’s somehow number 3.

  44. Beltre+Piniero+Rivera for Griffey+Valentin
    no cash either way
    only deferrments to seattle are from the 2years+option left

    Ichiro agrees to play center because of Junior one of only two players you will ever find him speaking of in reverence.

    Snelling/Ichiro/Griffey with Ibanez as the DH
    BLiv pitches as starter.
    Droobie to second and Lopez to third

    Reed to whereever wants him – Colorado maybe?
    Everett to NYY for someone – he DHs and Bernie to LF

    lineup goes to Ichiro, Lopez, Griffey, Sexson, Ibanez, Snelling, Kenji, YuBet, Droobie

  45. Cincy really has no use for Beltre if they believe in Encarnacio. They’d have to get more young pitching in that deal and probably Reed, too.

  46. Willmore said

    J-man, with the Mets interested in Meche and Pineiro (maybe not anymore), who do you think they would be willing to give up ? Any chance we can do a Beltre-Wright swap along with the trade ? 🙂

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