The Houston Astros announced they have reached an agreement on a minor-league contract with outfielder Brad Snyder. The 29-year old career minor leaguer has had a couple of cups of coffee with a big league club, the Chicago Cubs in 2010 and 2011. His nine year minor league career has yielded 135 HRs and 566 RBIs with an OPS of .840 over that span. He is primarily a corner OF with serious power and decent speed, totaling 120 stolen bases over his time in the Cubs and Indian’s farm systems.
Snyder joins an interesting list of minor league free agents whom Ed Wade has collected over the past two weeks. With the Astros in a full rebuilding phase and quite of few of their more promising prospects still a year or two away, competition will be the name of the game come spring training 2012. Snyder, Travis Buck and Nick Stavinoha seem to have a decent shot at playing time while Brian Bixler will be fighting for a backup infield spot. Buck and Bixler will have to use their glove to make an impression and earn a spot on the 25-man roster as neither has ever hit enough to warrant regular time at the major-league level. Snyder and Stavinoha should be in the race for a possible platoon spot in the outfield but will need to show some of the same power they displayed in the minors.
While these transactions won’t bring the same amount of publicity or excitement that signing Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes or Mark Buehrle would bring, they can prove to be valuable assets to a rebuilding club. Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals is a clear example of what general managers envision when making these types of signings, to strike lighting in a bottle. If any one of these guys can make an impact this season, Ed Wade would have done his job.