After playing in 720 games in the Orioles' organization, Brandon Snyder, the club's first-round pick in 2005, today was traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.
Snyder got a call from an Orioles official around noon and found out he would be leaving the only organization he's ever played for.
The 26-year-old Snyder got 20 at-bats with the O's in 2010 and 13 last year, batting .273 in his brief big league time.
"I feel like my opportunities with the Orioles were getting less and less, for one reason or another and to be able to go to an organization that wants you to have those opportunities is great," Snyder said this afternoon.
"The hardest part is leaving an awesome fan base. I grew up around Baltimore, I love the fans. The few times I was up (in the majors), I tried to go out and see them as much as I could. The Orioles have one of the best fan bases out there. That will be one of the tougher things.
"You never know how this is going to feel. You've been with someone for so long, it's like breaking up with somebody. At the same time, I've had a lot of love with the Orioles but maybe it's time for a new opportunity. The Rangers are a great organization and I'm extremely excited."
The 13th overall pick in the 2005 draft, Snyder played at every Orioles minor league stop between Rookie League Bluefield and Triple-A Norfolk and at one point looked like the first baseman of the future. But he never put up big numbers at Triple-A and it was getting pretty crowded at first base between the major league roster and the higher minors.
"Obviously, it didn't go probably the way that anybody wanted it to go," he said. "I'm not so sure that I played up to par for myself or the Orioles. But I also feel like, there were instances were I felt like maybe sometimes there should have been more of an opportunity and there wasn't. I had a great seven year, but now I'm excited to go on.
"It is hard to say and not that there wasn't a reason for it, but that you don't feel overlooked. It's not necessarily competing with guys you thought you'd be competing with. Being hurt around the trade deadline last year wasn't good for me when we picked up Chris Davis.
"I had last September off, which I hadn't planned on. But I learned a lot from it. I've had the absolute best offseason I've ever had, working out. I feel like a new guy."
Snyder was never a real fan of hitting at Harbor Park in Norfolk, where the winds make it tough to drive the ball out of the park. He actually did hit better at home last year, though, and overall with the Tides, he batted .261 with 14 homers and 71 RBIs in 448 at-bats. He had an average of .326 and OPS of .880 against left-handed pitching.
"Every year, when I've been interviewed and asked about my offense, I always have said I never make excuses. But, not that it is an excuse, but somewhat a fact. I felt like I had the greatest year of my life last year offensively and it just doesn't show on paper," he said.
"Norfolk is tough place to hit and the league is a tough league. Look at the pitching prospects we face on a daily basis. I felt like personally I had a great year. On paper, probably not so much in some people's eyes. I felt like I hit 30 home runs, but I had 14. I can take that into this offseason."
Now Snyder is excited about the future with Texas, while at the same time leaving behind some good friends.
"Guys that I played with were in my wedding. Those are friends I'll always have, but it's time to make new ones. It's kind of a culture shock, how this feels, but in this case, maybe it's good for everybody," he said.