Well well well, according to a release from the club at the stroke of midnight, the Jays have declined to offer a contract to arbitration-eligible catcher Bobby Wilson.
This surely makes JP Arencibia’s week– and John Buck’s, most likely– as it significantly cuts down the flexibility Alex Anthopoulos has to deal one of his catchers, at least for the time being.
Obviously the Jays could still pick up a catcher if they decide to deal either Arencibia or Buck– since they now have an open space on the 40-man roster, maybe they even have their eye on one of the non-tenders, like Geo Soto, who has been dropped by the Rangers. But since Wilson was theirs for the having, and Soto is now a free agent, that doesn’t seem all to likely.
No, what seems most likely– now more than ever– is that JP Arencibia are going to head into the season as the club’s starting catchers, with Travis d’Arnaud starting the year in Buffalo and needing to force his way to the Majors.
Granted, this doesn’t mean that anything is set in stone, or that an offer couldn’t still come up that might change the team’s mind about parting with Arencibia and letting Buck or d’Arnaud take the reins, with another player coming in as a backup, but it’s certainly a much stronger signal that they don’t feel the need to spin off one of the current group than it would have been if they’d held Wilson.
And really, that’s OK.
JP Arencibia is a decent-enough trade piece, to be sure, and Travis d’Arnaud is even better, but the biggest needs the Jays have at the moment are for rotation depth at Triple-A and a platoon partner for Adam Lind. Both of those goals can be accomplished for cheap on the free agent market. And even though it will cost more, so can adding a starter to push J.A. Happ out of the rotation.
Yes, it’s very possible the Jays could find a deal for that kind of starter, but the price in talent from an already-thinned system would be steep, and Alex Anthopoulos himself has indicated that money probably remains for the club to make a play for a short-term starter, of which there are still many on the market: Erik Bedard, Joe Blanton, Dallas Braden, Ryan Dempster, Dan Haren, John Lannan, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Kevin Millwood, Joe Saunders, Carlos Villanueva, Chris Young, and others.
Hey, I didn’t say they were all good, just options.
Point is, adding one of those names to the rotation and keeping all of the non-Wilson catchers may, in fact, be the club’s best bet. I mean… it’s only money. And apparently Rogers is actually, finally, willing to spend it.