Former Astros backstop Chris Snyder finally found a new home, agreeing to a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. Snyder played in 76 games for the Astros last season, hitting .176/.295/.308 with seven home runs and a 12.8 percent walk rate.
The former University of Houston product never hit much in Houston, but did a good job handling the pitching staff and provided some punch to an otherwise punchless Astros staff. He hit a couple of big home runs to win some games or put the Astros ahead, but became a lightning rod later in the season after Carlos Corporan hit the cover off the ball, but was still demoted to the minors in favor of Snyder.
The Astros didn't feel like bringing Snyder back this season, failing to exercise a $4 million option on Snyder for the 2013 season that would have made him the highest-paid player on the team. Snyder will compete with Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos for time with the Nationals, and he could provide some minor league depth in case of an injury at the big league level.
While it was clear since they bought out his option, I'm going to miss Snyder around the clubhouse. One of my favorite anecdotes from last season involved Snyder. Before a game with the Pirates when Wandy Rodriguez would be throwing against his former team, Snyder went over Wandy's pitch signals with J.D. Martinez.
He patiently explained the order in which Wandy liked getting his signals and J.D. tried to grasp how he could use that to his advantage. It was a nice little give-and-take that I'm sure happens all the time. But, it's also a nice reminder of what an advantage veterans in a clubhouse can be.