The Pirates will not go to arbitration with Travis Snider because late last night he signed a one-year deal with the club for $1.2 million. There are still five arbitration eligible players left and they happen to be the five most interestesting Pirates out of the six that filed for arbitration this week, but I suppose that we can use this opportunity to talk about Snider a little bit.
It's a little bit surprising that Snider was tendered a contract at all, given his struggles in 2013. I think that you can read the Pirates' decision to give him a shot this year as an indication that the team thought his toe injury impacted his performance last year. I was a little surprised by how flippantly Pirate fans regarded that particular injury; I thought all Yinzers were conditioned at birth to fear and respect turf toe because of the way that it ended Jack Lambert's career.
Regardless, $1.2 million is only $700,000 above the league minimum, and I don't think that a contract means that Snider is guaranteed to make the club. He'll be in camp with Jaff Decker and Chris Dickerson and only two of those players will make the big league roster. There's no guarantee that whoever does make the club will play regularly, because Jose Tabata has never had much of a platoon split and at this point he's a pretty good bet to be a better hitter than any of them, if healthy. Basically, what Snider is being given is a chance to make the team and maybe rebuild some trade value before the Gregory Polanco era starts at mid-summer. I don't think there's much else going on here.