Fresh off another disaster of a start, Jays catcher JP Arencibia knew just the right words to comfort struggling “ace” Ricky Romero.

“I just don’t see the fire, the Ricky that goes out there and wants to just, not literally, kill everybody that goes in the box,” he told reporters, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. “It’s tough to see him struggle out there because you know how hard he works, you know how much he cares. … It’s not that he doesn’t want to compete, it’s not that he doesn’t want to be good, it’s just that passive, kind of ‘here it goes again’ type of thing, and that I think is the biggest thing.”

Wait… what??!?

I mean, even if you truly believe that kind of junk, why the hell are you saying it?!? About your team’s only healthy, non-shitty pitcher? When you’re getting out 74% of the damn time!!?!?

Sure, obviously there are mental aspects to the game, and Romero wouldn’t be the first pitcher that we’ve heard needs to “trust his stuff” better, but… what year is this? Beating the piss out of the will-and-desire horse is still seriously worth doing? You’re going to throw your best pitcher under the bus with the most worn out, meaningless, eye-roll inducing cliches imaginable?

The fuck?

And… um… if fire is the key to not struggling, I dunno, maybe we could stand seeing some more fire from the worst qualified offensive catcher in the Majors?

Of course, that’s all totally bullshit, but… y’know… just sayin’.

Anyway, let’s see how a real pro handles the situation:

“There are some tangible [improvements] you can point to when compared to his last outing,” said John Farrell, according to Davidi’s piece. “What we’re trying to convey to Ricky, and for him to get his arms around, is that this isn’t a matter of looking at his body of work through the first half, looking at an ERA, it’s about executing from pitch to pitch. And first pitch strikes were greatly improved, the action to his changeup for the most part was much better, he threw a greater number of curveballs that had consistent depth and shape, so from those comparisons, it was an improvement.”

“Is it where the end result is going to be?” he added. “No, it’s not.”

Much better, no?


Image via Brad White/Getty.

Comments (117)

  1. I think it’s time the root cause of Ricky’s woes is addressed: his relationship status with beauty queens.

  2. Anyone else hear Hayhurst on fan590 earlier today? He outted BJ Ryan as the Jay who threatened him during his tenure with the Jays, lol

    • Hayhurst is a fucking toolbag…

      He’s like a squealing prison bitch.

    • I will give credit where credit’s due:

      “When he signed with the Blue Jays in 2009, and the book was being completed, the reaction became louder. One former Jays pitcher threatened to kill Hayhurst if he were mentioned in the book, and another still with the team pulled him aside and cautioned him to “be careful” what he wrote. Friends would make snide remarks that certain things were “off the record.” One told him he needed to hold a news conference to apologize to his team.

      First off, we had a very scientific discussion about this on Twitter and, uh… BJ Ryan, right? Totally BJ Ryan. Right? Gotta be. BJ Ryan, clearly.”

      -Andrew Stoeten, March 2011

  3. If I was a catcher hitting .221/.260/.409 and showing zero signs of improvement from my rookie season on a team whose #1 prospect is a AAA catcher I’d shut the fuck up and worry about my own shortcomings before calling out a teammate to the media.

  4. I still think DLing him with a dead arm over the all-star break, to give him a 15 day mental break while missing just one start, is the way to go. He’s lost right now.

    • Whose going to start in his place? Jeff Mathis? If it weren’t for all the other injuries this would probably be a realistic option.

  5. Lets face it guys, Ricky hasnt got laid in awhile. I know this because his fastball didnt go past 92.

  6. CanT we all just conclude Romero got lucky with a ridiculously low BABIP and its caught up to him?

  7. It seems pretty apparent to me that Romero’s struggles are at least partially mental (and yes, there’s a huge mental aspect to competing in all sports).JPA shouldn’t be telling the media that, but do I think he’s wrong about him? Not at all, he’d know Romero better than just about anybody.

    • Yup. Was watching the game with a casual fan and they mentioned the body language of Romero, compared to last year.As with most statements like this,I nodded and thought “your fucking nuts” but maybe there’s something to it.Wouldn’t be the first time a player’s mental approach affectted his on field performance *cough Rasmus cough*.

      • You’ve noticed that Rasmus has turned around since implementing physical changes, yes?

        Oh and Fullmer, that’s great. And just as soon as somebody cares whether you believe the mental aspects of sports are huge or not, we’ll be sure to let them know.

        • It’s amusing to me that anybody would even try to argue that there isn’t a significant mental aspect of sports, especially a person that watches the talented Dutch choke as often as they do.

        • I noticed it before he turned around his hitting. I know that opens me up to your ridicule but I don’t give a fuck.
          In reading interviews ( thanks for some of the links) I originally thought Colby was a bust. But it was a change in his fielding at the beginning of May and other changes after that.
          And as loathe as I am to make predictions,I did so
          here mid May.
          If you piece it altogether,if Rasmus was the player scouts had predicted he would be,he was about to break out.

        • Not sure the issue is whether mental issues matter or not. They’re unknowable and impossible to quantify for outsiders — it’s inherently a waste of time for bloggers, stat nerds, and forum trolls to bicker about whether they matter and how much.

          • @ anonymous

            Your not sure whether mental issues matter or not?
            They’re unknowable and impossible to quantify for outsiders?
            Do some research before you take the high road.
            Rasmus is on record as to “playing out the string” last year,was considering quitting baseball,,doesn’t want to talk about TLR because it gets in his head,has told his dad he’s not going to talk to him about baseball unless it’s positive.
            All documented and on the record.
            Take your smarmy,uninformed attitude and shove it up your ass.

  8. Ricky needs to find a woman he can really throw down with.

  9. I guess #TeamUnit only applies when you’re knocking the shit out of minor league players in Spring Training?

    With friends like JP, who needs Damien Cox.

  10. JPA will be the author of his own demise if he’s not carefull. Pitchers need catchers to think the way the pitcher thinks. If catchers are at odds with pitchers on what pitch to throw, location or even not knowing what pitch a guy likes to throw in certain situations, then it all breaks down. JPA has benefited from Management not given pitchers the right to have their personal catcher of choice.
    JPA better figure out that he has a huge responsibility for righting Rickey and it won’t help by calling him out. Figure it out fast JPA cause there are others that can do your job for you.

    • Management hasn’t given pitchers the right to choose a personal catcher because, a) no team does that, and b) it opens the door to way too much Jeff Mathis, which remains a far worse option than Arencibia, shockingly.

      But JP’s demise is already written– it has a knee injury currently– so maybe he doesn’t care.

      Also: do you really think all White Sox catchers like dickhead Pierzynski? It doesn’t really matter what they think of each other. These are professionals we’re talking about.

      • Professional dosn’t mean that you are suddenly eclipsed from all human emotion…in fact what your teammate thinks of you is more important as a professional. Chemistry is born from this. Great catchers are a pleasure to throw to, they make you better at your craft. Fuck if I JPA has a bad knee, its probably from having toturn and chase down all the past balls and wild pitches that BJ pitchers thrown by pitchers who forget the signals changed with a runner on second. JPA forgot to remind them!

        • “JP’s demise” was referring to d’Arnaud, who is out with a knee injury.

          • Thanks for the help, though it ruined a good retort. I do think JPA does get more than his fair share of passed balls. Now that I understand Stoet’s response, I’m a littlle surprized (happily so)that he see’s D’Arnud as the heir apparent. If JPA doesn’t care, what do we do?

      • Ohh, far worse?

        We’re not talking about Bret Cecil taking his at bats. Worse sure, but it is a hell of a lot closer than I ever imagined they would be.

      • Really, they dont get to choose? Who caught almost all of AJ Burnett’s games with the Yankees? It wasnt Posada, the starting catcher… you COULD say that was a Girardi move, but why would he begin that trend in game 4 of the ALCS unless the starting pitcher had a gripe about who was behind the plate? Also, I dont think Mathis is the be all and end all if there’s no JPA to catch, doesnt Yan Gomes catch as well?

        On a side note, the last game I saw Mathis start in a game, he had a monster of a game, both offensively and defensively. I dont think JPA has had a better game this year starting than Mathis had his past start, just sayin…

  11. #freejeffmathis

    • Mathis has apparently been worth 0.6 fWAR so far this season!

      That said, his career OBP is .258, so I don’t want to put my eggs in that basket unless JPA’s power disappears.

  12. Is there a better manager in MLB at talking to the media than John Farrell?

    • He’s pretty good, except grammatically, which is a goddamned clusterfuck. But you get what he’s saying, sure.

      • Many times I couldn’t tell what the fuck John Gibbons was saying in his press conferences.

      • Farrell reminds me a little of Pat Quinn, albeit less surly. His answers are generally thoughtful, if not oblique, and he seems to avoid cliches regularly. Easy to listen to and he never throws anyone under the bus *cough* JP *cough*. I can see why the players like him..

        (Oh, and forgive the mild hockey reference. I’m one of those who want to throw things at the TV when Sportsnet insists on dropping “NHL free agent news” into the middle of Blue Jays Central. Cocks.)

    • and that appears to be the only reason why he was hired since he’s not good at much else.

      • That would probably true, if, y’know, it wasn’t false.

        • There hasn’t been a “Dear John” letter on DJF in awhile. Has there even been one this season?

      • I find his lineup and in-game decisions a lot less frustrating than the ones Cito usually made.

      • I could ask what this is based on and you would easily rattle off some decisions you didn’t like and you would assume your decision would have worked for sure and it all wouldn’t matter because you aren’t a pimple on his managing ass.

        • Not sure if you could find anyone who would tell you that pitching pauley against pedroia with the game on the line was a good idea

          • Name someone on the current staff that would have been a better choice, and I’ll show you how uninformed and semi-retarted you sound…

  13. Maybe its time to say to JPA that he ain’t gonna be Ricky’s personal catcher. While JPA is often criticized for his pitch framing and overall defense (both are not great but are not league worst either), I often wonder if JPA is relying too much on the old Ricky when he is game calling. Switch things around and start Mathis for Ricky’s next start.

  14. That’s a Pulitzer-worthy title, Stoeten.

  15. To be fair to JPA, he’s not really the ‘worst qualified offensive catcher’. The Fangraphs definition of ‘qualified’ is a very tough standard to meet for catchers, since they’re probably the position that gets/needs the most rest on the bench or occasional games as DH. If you expand it to catchers on track for at least 400 PA, he’s ahead of John Buck, Kurt Suzuki and Nick Hundley. And there’s only twenty people on that list – plus Montero and Mauer probably don’t belong. A bunch of teams don’t have a regular starter. So he’s still arguably in the top 15 catchers.

    Even though I concede his hitting is very disappointing this season.

    • You’re right that he’s ahead of guys getting regular playing time if you expand the list, but he doesn’t jump to the top 15.

      He’s 21st of 28 catchers with 150+ PA in terms of wRC+ and wOBA.

    • Being ahead of John Buck, Kurt Suzuki, and Nick Hundley really isn’t an accomplishment.

    • I remember when John Buck hit .280. That was awesome.

  16. I would like to see Ricky Pitch to Jeff Mathis.
    See what he can do, if anything.
    Maybe he just needs a change.

  17. More important question: Why wasn’t this tagged under ‘Aaron Cibia’?

  18. I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of “fire” quite so easily, so long as you equate “fire” to some level of “confidence”. I know it’s not tangible, and you can’t measure it with advanced stats or anything, but confidence *does* matter.

    A pitcher not having confidence in his ability would lead to nibbling, walks, and the need to throw strikes to get back in it (which wind up easily hittable).

    I think there’s something to be said for a guy who knows he can throw his stuff out there and know he’ll be OK versus someone on the opposite end. From all the quotes I’ve read, the “opposite end” is where he seems to be right now. I think that’s the crux of what JP is getting at, in athlete-speak.

  19. quicksand… the harder you try to fight your way out. the worse it gets..

    you can see him shift his pitching style and demeanor yesterday.,, was cruising along, issues a walk and suddenly he’s like “oh fuckk here wwe go again’

    so i dont think JPAs wrong, i don’t think he should be talking about it though.

  20. JPA should not have opened his mouth to the media. That was just dumb and can lead to clubhouse problems that this team does not need along with everything else.

    I think the problem with Romero is a similar problem to Bautista’s earlier in the season and at the end of last year. Bautista had no protection and knew the guy batting clean-up couldn’t hit a football never mind a baseball. When it came to power-hitting he was it on the team with EE a fair way behind him rather than batting right behind him. So he commenced to swinging at everything he saw in a desperate attempt to score some runs before the dodo from 1st base got himself out. Bautista started to improve when Lind was outta there and I doubt that’s a coincidence. Now we have Romero, who basically has to carry the team every single time he goes out there because what’s after him is a question mark followed by a question mark followed by a question mark. And the bullpen’s not too clever either. That’s the kind of thing plays with a starter’s head. So I am not in the least surprised this has happened.

    • I don’t jibe with any of that. Bautista’s job at the plate is to hit for power. It really makes no difference if there is Lind, EE, or anyone else behind him. He approaches every at bat the same way. Same goes for RickRo with starts. He starts one in every five and that is where his responsibility ends. If they lose four games before he starts he wants to win and pitch just as well as when they have won four in a row.

  21. Breaking: Stroman signed.

    Marcus Stroman ‏@MStrooo7

    Officially a member of THE Toronto Blue Jays! Signed my contract. Beyond excited and blessed. Ready to work! #BlueJays #HDMH #CANADA

  22. I can definitely say that when I was lacking confidence or feeling bummed or depressed about shit, or if I just didnt really care how i played it affected my performance in amateur sports in a big way. So the fire thing makes sense, Ricky probably is at an all time low confidence-wise, but its the cart before the horse in this case. his pitches arent moving like they used to

    • Yeah its all pretty shitty but when you are paid millions of dollars to do a job I have a hard time working up the tears.

  23. Went to the game…and what the hell was he doing back out there in the seventh? He was fortunate to get through 4, then managed to soak up a couple of extra innings, but still had a hideous line with the heart of the order due up. I mean, Pauley, adios, but the least they could have done was given him a clean inning to mess up on his own.

    As for the issues…I’d say to my untrained eye that “first-pitch strikes are up” and “11 hits allowed” are hardly coincidental. He can’t throw a good strike, and his get-me-overs are getting hammered.

    They can’t possibly NOT give Moyer a shot at this point, can they? I wonder if he’d accept Richmond’s role until we figure out where Romero and Alvarez are.

  24. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

    wake me when they trade for cliff lee.

  25. Much ‘ado about nothing, he’s hardly even negative in the comments. Would you rather he just say “nothing’s wrong, ricky’s a-ok”. If this were a 10 year veteran catcher saying it nobody would think twice and he’d be applauded for trying to address the issue. If Farrell or another coach said it the same. Limiting the ability to express opinions about the team to only the players that are currently hitting at the top of the order is asinine.

    • just just don’t question the ‘fire’ of one of the teams most important assets… see: valentine, bobby for a recent example of how that shit goes over in a big league clubhouse.

      … and for a 2nd year player who has yet to produce anything in the big leagues to do it? you gotta be fuckin kidding me.

    • This is essentially what I was thinking. It’s not like JPA is ripping Romero, so I seriously doubt that Romero should have any reason to be pissed here. To me it just looks like an attempt by one player to light a fire under a teammate he believes in, and Romero might actually appreciate that and gain a little confidence (and yes, confidence matters in sports). I’m not saying this will necessarily make any difference, but I don’t see this as either ridiculous or out of line, and it certainly won’t hurt unless Romero is a big baby who takes it as criticism when it really isn’t criticism at all. I’m not even a fan of JPA, but I’m fine with what he said.

      • …“I just don’t see the fire, the Ricky that goes out there and wants to just, not literally, kill everybody that goes in the box,”

        …it’s just that passive, kind of ‘here it goes again’ type of thing, and that I think is the biggest thing.”

        yep – nothing inspires confidence in a struggling pitcher like the above comments from the teams #1 catcher.

        • He’s saying that he knows Romero is capable of more, because he’s seen it in the past. It’s a compliment, and a mature adult would take it as such.

  26. i’ve come to the conclusion that JPA is a fuckin’ idiot… those are the sort of comments that he should keep private even if he believes them to be true. in what little i see of arencibia from afar he seems to lack the proper filter between his brain and his lips.

    it’s too bad he is having such a terrible year… i was hoping by this point of the season they’d be flipping him for a decent asset.

  27. Comments certainly make JP seem like quite the entitled guy. I agree he should probably shut up and worry about himself a little more. People do love him though, maybe He could cement his status with the fans by swinging a hockey stick instead of a bat. Insert OBP joke here.

  28. Laffey is our best pitcher boys come on now…. oh and free Jp.

  29. I think JP could use some of that “fire” in his own AB’s.

  30. Why is everyone so quick to rip on JPA?
    Everyone says its not health, not luuck, not mechanics…….
    Maybe Ricky had a killer instinct last year that isn’t there this year.
    Maybe JPA sees the difference.
    Maybe this fires Ricky up and causes him to get his head on straight.

    Also, what universe are we in where catchers are supposed to be hitting machines? Outside of maybe 5-7 catchers in the MLB, the rest of them suck at hitting. They are there for handling pitchers. If JPA sucks at handling the staff, then rip him for that

  31. look its simple. read the comments by bautista in the last day or so.

    Romero and Bautista – these guys have been given the impression that the team was coming around the bend and that it was going to contend within 2-3 years.

    so they sign up to contracts and now its really looking like the team has absolutely no intention whatsoever of even attempting to contend while they are on the team.

    and that has got to be frustrating and depressing. and we’ve seen their reaction to this situation in their play this year. until bautista started hitting bombs he seemed really out of joint and frustrated. and now romero. and you may think its just their play – the results…but I will bet you, and this is backed by what bautista has said….not even just this year, that these guys signed on with the team expecting that they’d put them in contention.

    the reality is that if you are close enough to hitting a wild card you should make moves IN PROPORTION to that opportunity. so if we were looking like we were contending for a division title you would expect that the team would perhaps bulk up and trade a few prospects here or there in order to make a run. not sell the farm, but you’d want to make the most of the opportunity, because you never know when you’ll get another chance.

    now if you’re looking like you could make the 2nd wildcard, sure, you tone it down. but you should STILL be trying to vie for that 2nd spot because again, you just never know.

    this team hasn’t really been showing any indication that it is going to make good on the commitment it seemed to be making to romero and bautista.

    • What a load of crap. This team was and is going in the right direction. Bautista should have kept his mouth shut because he is not even through two years of a five year contract. The Jays are doing what needs to be done to sustain success over the long term, and not just bank on the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox continuing to “struggle” this season.

      We are not a playoff team this season, even if we hadn’t lost five starters.

      • Why do people think they know these people? You know NOTHING about any of them, no matter how many Booster Juice ads you watch. Please…

    • Wow you sure know a lot about people you actually don’t know at all!

  32. I blame twitter

  33. Call me crazy, but I wonder if this band of misfits assembled from the “behavioural problems” side of the classroom is causing some friction in the clubhouse. I personally think Lawrie would be a nightmare to be around all the time. Add in some of the whining from Bautista and Yunel and the fearsome death glares of Ricky Romero and you could be sitting on an emotional powder keg.

    • Interesting theory and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter

    • Tony Rage, you are Crazy. But if there were one guy that could quickly assess that the locker room is filled with emotional head-cases, it would be you. Nurse Karen take him away.

      • Who said “emotional headcases”? But in a stressful environment (big setbacks added to big expectations), not everyone rises to the challenge.

  34. plus. Romero is hurt.

    • possibly, as I said bellow, it looked like he wasn’t releasing some of his pitches in the right spot, kinda like he was giving in early on the throw.

  35. I don’t know if anyone else noticed it the last game or not, but Ricky was trying to make what looked like a fast ball pitch to the outside of the plate (to right harders) and was missing badly, so bad in fact it looked like his release point was quite different from most of his other of course I was watching it on TV, and I can’t stand watching left handed pitchers with the right handed view they always have, but I kept thinking, that If I was a hitter and I could see his release point on a certain pitch was a lot sooner than normal then its got a good chance to be outside, even stay outside, and be a ball. If you know its going to be a ball you won’t swing. I haven’t gone looking for any evidence of this, but I did notice that there were a couple pitches that Rickey made that looked different in his delivery. I don’t proclaim to be an expert at all, but it looked kind obvious to me, and I am pretty sure each one of those pitches were out of the strike zone.

  36. Still waiting for a delusional Jays fan to suggest they should trade Romero, Arencibia and Snider for King Felix

  37. Even if he is feeling shitty, or unconfident, neither JP or Romero should admit it. They are professionals. Battle through it. Fuckin drama.

  38. They should trade Romero jp and snider for king felix.

    Also why not trade the entire city of Las Vegas for Harper, straight up.

  39. ayTo play devil’s advocate for a moment, I could suggest that if its acceptable for anyone to spout the “lack of fire” stuff, it’s the catcher who caught the game.

    The psycho-babble is usually meaningless because it comes from people who don’t have a clue about the player, but JP might have insight into Romero’s head. Maybe JP is suggesting that all the ‘calm the fuck down’ talk about Romero’s glove-chucking was misplaced, and Romero is a pitcher who uses emotion to bring out his best. These guys are competitive beyond our ability to understand, so I cut them some slack on their own analysis of their play.

    Then again maybe JP is a douche.

    • No way. JP is not a douche. He was just trying to rile his numbah one. Gotta try wild shit when shit goes south.

  40. This is really funny now.

    “I really just don’t see the ball going into his glove right now. It’s just kinda, ‘here it goes again’ with him. He wants to catch the ball, you know how hard he tries, but right now he just can’t.” – Ricky Romero

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