Chris Snelling, soon to be 26, has seen action with the Mariners, Nationals and Athletics. The Tampa Bay Rays claimed him off waivers from the A's on Oct. 25. The deal was reported on Comcast Daily News Live tonight.
Snelling, who hits from the left side, was originally signed in 1999 as an amateur free agent under, you guessed it, Pat Gillick in Seattle. He missed most of the season with knee problems and underwent arthroscopic surgery July 3, sidelining him for the season. Splitting time between the Nationals and As after Oakland acquired him in the Ryan Langerhans swap, he hit .246 with 1 home run in 69 at bats. In parts of four seasons, Snelling is a .240/.357/.380 hitter with six homers. He has been added to the 40-man roster, bringing the total to 38.
Beerleaguer: Very injury prone outfielder who would be an upgrade over Chris Roberson if he stays healthy, which is a big if. I’m uncertain of his option situation; he’s mostly been on and off with a long list of injuries. Check this out (from Baseball America): Broken left hand; and ligament damage in his left wrist (2000); a stress fracture in his right ankle (2001), a broken right thumb and blown-out left knee (2002), more problems with his left knee (2003) and deep bone bruise in his right wrist (2004). Adding his recent setbacks, it's almost one big injury a season this decade.
Behind the injuries, one finds a very nice minor league hitter with good skills, a nice approach, a reputation for hard play and just enough time to save his career. Rushed to the Majors at age 21 and rated as the Mariners' fourth-best prospect as recently as 2005, the bulk of his scattered experience is in right field including 235 innings there in 2006 with the Ms. Over his career, he's been used almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, notching a .779 lifetime OPS against them.
If the idea here is for a Snelling/Jayson Werth platoon in right, brace for a long season of sleepless nights sweating injuries, but I seriously doubt that. They're taking a flyer on him. At best, he could emerge as the final part off the bench and have a productive year at the plate. Preferably, he's given a look in spring, and if doesn't knock their socks off, he’s at-the-ready Triple-A inventory, which they also need. The fact that he's been passed around so much and was acquired from the Rays for cash isn't a good sign.