Toronto Blue Jays v Atlanta Braves

Mike Wilner of the Jays’ radio crew, and the host of the Fan 590′s post-game show, was one of the first and most visible proponents of blowing old school narratives apart and looking at the game of baseball through a Sabermetric prism– not only in this city, but you’d have to think in just about any, as far as members of an official team broadcast crew are concerned. For that, he has long been an extremely welcome voice in the local media for those of us intolerant of irrational bullshit and the typical radio call-in dreck.

And that’s why it’s especially weird to see him doing what he’s been doing this week, defending J.P. Arencibia for being in a “slump,” despite the catcher’s abysmal career .267 OBP and 86 wRC+ through now more than eleven-hundred big league at-bats.

For example, here’s an exchange from the first caller on last night’s JaysTalk:

Caller: I just wanted to comment that tonight, I really enjoyed the game– thought the boys played great; very entertaining– but what’s it going to take for them to take J.P. Arencibia and stick him on the end of the bench?

Wilner: I think it’s going to take a lot. I really do. I mean, there’s no question that he’s in a massive slump right now, and I think, with the 0-for-4 tonight, he’s like three for his last forty-one, I want to say. Not 100% sure of that, but he did pick up the walk tonight. He’s in a big, big, big, big slump, and guys go in big, big, big, big slumps. You know, when he pulls out of it he can get as hot as anybody– granted, the hot streaks do not last as long as the cold streaks. But look at Jose Bautista– he just went through a 4-for-45, and he’s come out of it beautifully. So… I know there’s a lot of people who are very upset with J.P. Arencibia, and J.P. Arencibia’s in a trough right now– you’re looking at him basically at his absolute worst. What I can’t understand is why it appears as though so many Blue Jays [fans] are willing to believe that this isn’t J.P. at his absolute worst– that this is normal for J.P. Arencibia. It is certainly far from that.

Technically it’s hard to say that Wilner is wrong here– depending on your definition of far. Arencibia’s .283 wOBA in 2013 is clearly below the still-not-good .304 he posted last year, and .311 from the year before that. And if fans are harping, in particular, on his bad May (.263 wOBA) and worse June (.126 wOBA so far), perhaps he has a point.

But are they? Or are fans just feeling conned that they’ve defended and grown to like Arencibia as a “personality,” while having been hoping in the back of their heads for some kind of large, 2010-esque step forward that feels less and less likely to happen?

That was the year, you’ll remember, when Arencibia, already being labelled yet another Ricciardi first-round bust, repeated Triple-A in Las Vegas and posted a .301/.359/.626 line– good for a .411 wOBA.

Thing is: repeat year.

Also: Vegas.

Also: he walked in 8.3% of his plate appearances that year, and “only” struck out in 18.5%. This year those rates, which FanGraphs will tell you become reliable after 200 and 150 plate appearances respectively (JPA has 232, currently), are at a horrific 2.6% and 32.3%.

Bringing up his not-very-impressive and Vegas-influenced (oh, but also kidney- and vision-problem-influenced!) minor league line, as Wilner does in last night’s post-game piece at Sportsnet, seems a hell of a thin straw to grasp at here, 1100 plate appearances into his big league career.

“Arencibia has never done anything that should lead people to believe that he’s going to struggle to reach base 25 per cent of the time on a regular basis,” he says in the piece.

Except, y’know, the .237 on-base through a third of this season, and the .267 mark for his career– obviously not under 25%, though you could probably argue that staying above that mark has been a struggle. Or, more likely, you could concede the point while noting that saying so– and using a .250 OBP as any kind of benchmark– means putting a serious shit-tonne of lipstick on one hell of a pig.

“Truth is,” we’re told, “you could do a lot worse for a bottom-third of the lineup catcher. It would be nice if people weren’t so quick to pile on when he’s down.”

OK. But… could you? A lot?

Arencibia has been a starter for three seasons now, and over those three years, among 16 qualified catchers, he ranks last in wins above replacement (per FanGraphs), and 14th in weighted on-base and wRC+. This year, among the 12 qualified catchers, he’s second-last across the board in those categories.

Change the minimum number of plate appearances to 150 for this season and he’s got the third-worst fWAR and his wOBA puts him 23rd of 28.

Among catchers with at least 700 plate appearances over the three year span, he’s 24th of 28 in WAR and– hey!– way up in 19th in wOBA. Of course… he’s 20 points of wOBA behind the hitter in 18th spot, is virtually tied with the guy who comes in 22nd (a .303 wOBA versus .300 for the Reds’ Ryan Hanigan), and is riding his strong-ish (.311 wOBA) 2011, despite his numbers dropping off in 2012, and again so far this year.

So, again… a lot?

I wouldn’t say so.

And this is a guy, as Wilner correctly states, “who made it to the majors on the strength of his bat”– which is another way of saying that he’s not very good at anything else (and no, I’m not ready to make any conclusions about his framing from the interesting piece this week at Mop Up Duty, which shows he’s stolen more strikes than he’s lost).

The promotion last week of Josh Thole, who seemed a natural fit as a platoon partner until JPA started putting up reverse splits this year, signals to me that all of this isn’t lost on the front office, at least.

“It’s really not fair to continue to heap scorn on Arencibia, who has been the exact same player this year as he was in the previous two, when most people were far more willing to overlook his flaws,” I wrote at the time– a statement that echoes some of what Wilner says, and I think continues to hold true. “It’s just… the notion of Arencibia as a passable starting big league catcher is wearing awful thin. And I really don’t know how badly this lineup really needs another all-or-nothing thumper when they can at least marginally upgrade their defence behind the plate and add a guy who offsets the power drop by actually getting on fucking base sometimes.”

Maybe I’m being completely blinded by the frustration of J.P.’s hackery and not paying enough mind to the principles of how offensive value is calculated, but it sure feels to me right now like guys such as Munenori Kawasaki– who offers absolutely nothing in the way of power, or even batting average, but battles and takes good at-bats and has walked enough to get on base about 33% of the time– are much preferable options at the bottom of this lineup, with their ability to at least keep rallies going until someone who stands a chance of doing some damage get up.

Crazy belief or not, Arencibia, in my mind– and many others, for damn good reason– hardly qualifies anymore as someone capable of doing damage. The successes are just too few and too far between. He needs to hit for more power than just about every catcher in the history of the game in order to stay on the right side of barely-passable, and when he doesn’t– like he is now, with nine extra base hits over 38 games, and a .183/.209/.303 line since April fucking twenty-fifth– little things like the fact that he’s posted an on-base above .301 in just three of the 16 calendar months he’s appeared in as a big leaguer, start to become a little more glaring. Meaning: holy shit, it’s so fucked that this is even a conversation.

Can, as Wilner suggests, he be better? Sure. Can he be better enough? I’m really having a hard time believing it, or understanding what the point of defending him is, at this point, trough or not. His abysmal production right now just makes it all the more clear that there is a major issue. Nice guy, I’m sure, but is it really piling on when he’s just always been kinda fucking terrible? Are we really at the point of pining for him to scrape his way up to well below average? We’ve seen from Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, and perhaps even now Adam Lind, that you should never give up on a guy, but holy fuck, that doesn’t mean we have to use kid gloves when he’s been objectively terrible.

The Blue Jays need to reevaluate their catching situation. Period. Especially with a view to 2014.

“Holy Shit!” Addendum

The fuck? Here’s something I should have noticed in the course of my pouring over Arencibia’s FanGraphs page– but fortunately was pointed out by a commenter after the first part of this post went up. Arencibia has 121 plate appearances at Rogers Centre this season and has, unbelievably, posted a “Good Arencibia”-like .288/.298/.619 line. The on-base still isn’t there, but the home runs– ten of his twelve on the season– push his weighted on-base to a beyond-acceptable .386 at Rogers Centre.

Meanwhile, on the road, in 111 plate appearances, his wRC+ has been effing minus-1. A .171 wOBA! A .132/.171/.208 line!

I mean… what the hell??? How do you possibly account for that? Randomness mostly, I’d guess– I mean, the samples aren’t huge and the 29.4% HR/FB rate at home screams crazy luck (granted, as does the 6.7% rate one the road)– but… it’s just weird.

I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add about this, it just kinda blew my mind.

Comments (198)


  2. Am I the only one that gets ill listening to Mike Wilner talk about ANYTHING? He must want to get invited to Toronto Blue Jays Clubhouse Leader JP Arencibia’s year end party to be remotely defending his shit abilities to play baseball.

    Good luck to AA…the answer is easy (get rid of Arencibia) but the solution isn’t.

    • This is how brutal Toronto fans are!!!
      Who would u rather in there? you know with all these stats everyone is putting up, no one wants to mention that while he is in the worst slump of his career (everyone goes through them) he still LEADS THE AMERICAN LEAGUE IN HOME RUNS (for catchers,… MOST!!! and as far as runs batted in he ranks 4th,…. 5th in runs scored, 5th in SLUGGING ! o and as far as preferring Kawasaki in the order,… this guy being our catcher and taking all those days off, is still 3rd on our roster in HR and RBI to only EE and Bats

      • Yes, he runs into a number of mistakes every year. Rather than mindlessly looking at home runs, though, I used stats that better quantify the entirety of a player’s offensive contribution, like wOBA and wRC+. What they show us is that the home runs give him all of his value, and they are still simply not enough to offset how bad he is at everything else.

        • so you didn’t notice the RBI and RUNS! which in this line-up HR and RBI is his job,… as far as his worth, here is his defensive rakings in the AL
          5th in throwing out batters
          5th least errors
          5th in fielding % so with him being that good in RBI HR AND RUNS SCORED, there are only 4 Catchers that qualify that are better defensively
          and take away one bad outing with Dickey and he would be 4th best for passed balls, so again, u are absolutely ripping on this guy because of some new wave stats, but like most people, forget about baseball,… and he is the guy we have behind the plate, and is doing mostly (except for cutting down on k rate) everything we ask him to do,… so again, what would you rather do? put in Thole a guy who couldn’t even make starter for the Mets?

          • Oh, I get it. You are actually clever and not a vapid moron. This is all a clever ruse.

            • its just that he is a person too, his defensive issues are not all his fault he hasn’t had a good catching coach working 1 on 1 with him… and like I said earlier whats the other option? there isn’t a bunch of Weiters and Poseys just sitting around waiting for jobs, and I think JP has some serious potential still and is built like an all-star catcher, just needs some tutoring

  3. So then the question is, If they are thru with JPA, who do you replace him with that would fit under the “Payroll parameters” that would surely be in place next year as well?

    • shut the fuck up about payroll parameters. There will no fucking payroll parameters You whiny little bitch. Its Not two thousand and fucking eleven anymore.

  4. Wilner’s final comment on Arencibia last night was that people should at least cheer for him regardless of how bad he’s currently doing. It sounded like a huge appeal to pity, and was kind of sad.
    His main arguement was that this can’t possibly be the Arencibia norm, but you outlined pretty clearly that it doesn’t look far off.

  5. Excellent post! I agree absolutely. Fact is JPA is capable of doing a lot of damage. To the Jays. I get that power hitters can be streaky, but what I haven’t seen is any improvement in the way he takes his at-bats. He almost never walks. And his response in a clutch situation is to flail wildly at anything thrown within 3′ of the plate. Sometimes he makes contact. But not often enough to offset his ediocre pitch selection and general backstopping.

    Stoeten, you’re right. This team is stuffed full of guys with home-run potential. We aren’t short of a power bat. What we are short of is discipline and intelligence behind the plate.

    • Good article, the Arencibia defence force gets increasingly more difficult to take seriously over time. There is quite literally zero reason to think that he’ll get better than what he’s shown in his career other than just wanting to be optimistic without a reason. It’s especially easy to see this more dreadful 2013 performance being normal for Arencibia when you consider that his approach has gotten worse every year he’s been in the majors too.

      Strikeout rate, swing rate, chase rate, walk rate, contact rate and of course ultimately his obp and overall offensive performance have all trended in a progressively negative direction the longer he’s been in the majors, and he seems unwilling, unable or both to change his approach at all. It’s irritating to watch, and I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how people think running into 20 or so balls a years makes up for all his other deficiencies. The fact that he’s a horrid defensive catcher just makes it even worse.

      It’s really, really hard to see him get better as every single one of his significant peripheral stats gets worse.

    • +1. I listened to Jays talk & was surprised that Wilner could not do a better job of defending him.

      JPA is what he is .

    • This is how brutal Toronto fans are!!!
      Who would u rather in there? you know with all these stats everyone is putting up, no one wants to mention that while he is in the worst slump of his career (everyone goes through them) he still LEADS THE AMERICAN LEAGUE IN HOME RUNS (for catchers,… MOST!!! and as far as runs batted in he ranks 4th,…. 5th in runs scored, 5th in SLUGGING ! o and as far as preferring Kawasaki in the order,… this guy being our catcher and taking all those days off, is still 3rd on our roster in HR and RBI to only EE and Bats

      • You completely miss the point that all of his offensive contributions are collectively (and relatively accurately) contained in stats like wOBA and wRC+. If those metrics suck, it literally does not matter how good any individual stat is. The history of baseball (all fucking >100 000 MLB games played since the end of the dead-ball era) tells us this. That is the point of stats with a little w in front of them.

        Of course, the weighted stats assume linearity… which is wrong. Adjusting for that leads to the following conclusion: players with very high or very low weighted metrics are actually MUCH FURTHER from the average performance than the numbers indicate (i.e. the non-linearity is strong at the ends of the distribution, like an S-curve). JPA would have to be Yadier defensively to be an above-average starter with a sub .300 wOBA.

        • being Greek I love to analyze too, but a lot of these new stats are way to over hyped. Being a math wiz I totally get them, and why some people would love them, however I am also a huge baseball fan my whole life, and player,… with JP its way easier than going through these stats,…. He is a feast or Famine hitter who was asked to drive in runs at the start of the season,… unfortunately,… now he needs to see Matolla and work on using the whole field like he did when he hit well over 300 in Vegas. Give him a good defensive catching instructor, and by next season you will all be praising him… I was one of the only fans to stand up for EE and look what happened, and also with Lind… have some patience people, he is a good ball player who needs to be more selective at the plate,… that’s all

  6. What do you expect the jays to say about him?
    he’s a fuckin bum and we can’t wait until he’s gone?
    right now he’s the best they have,
    I think the fact he doesn’t have a contract and is making the minimum says more about what they see his value at then whatever AA says to reporters.
    do you guys ever wonder who you’re going to direct your hatred towards if he leaves?
    I feel like half of the guys on here would start bitching immediately after a world series win about how there’s no way they could do it next year. not with (blank) on the squad.

    • There was nothing in this post about what the Jays are saying about him.

      • I’m sort of grouping Rogers employee’s in there

        • Yes, and that’s dumb.

          • while i have your attention, is there any news on happ?

          • I disagree. I’d be shocked if a media-savy company like Rogers and team like the Jays didn’t use the Wilners and Davidis of the world affect the conversations had about their players. I mean I’m sure that Rogers isn’t going around censoring all their employees, but I’m also sure that members of the broadcast team are told to focus on the positive and not be overly-critical of the home team.

            • You mean like all the times Zaun shits all over the Jays, including JPA last night. Or, the time Wilner got in a heated confrontation with Gaston (which, admittedly, he was supsended for?).

              In years past I seriously felt that Rogers – especially Sportsnet – gave overly rosy narrative on the Jays. My impression this year is that the media has been much more balanced and critical of the Jays this year. They are a saavy media company. As one, they realized that fans don’t like to be spoon-fed Koolaid!

            • Mark obviously doesn’t hear much of what the “Rogers media” has to say. ridiculously dumb comment.

              • Zaun dumps all over JPA from a great height. But if you notice he very seldom mentions his name. Like last night when JPA struck out in the 8th with men on, Zaun referred to it as one player swinging at 3 pitches in the dirt and another (Kawasaki I think) swinging at the 1st pitch he saw.

            • +1. Each analyst has their own spin. I am not sure of the contract status of Davidi & Wilner vs Zaun & Hayhurst. Zaun & Hayhurst seem to be independent contractors so they can spout off on whatever they want.

              Davidid & Wilner are more diplomatic about the Jays.

              In fairness to Wilner, he acknowledged JPA was having a bad srtetch.

              • I see what u r saying about not mentioning his name, but he does a ton, that’s y sometimes he uses “some guys” or “players” instead of dropping the name, but I just heard Zauny use JPS name directly ” Jp had 3 at-bats with runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs, and he had 3 k’s…. unacceptable” as far as the media goes, they have some homers but almost all of them are straight shooters, … Dirk, Zaun, and even thos I don’t like him, Jeff Blair is sooooo judgemental of everything Jays

  7. What’s the story with AJ Jiminez? I know he recently came back after TJ surgery and has only played a handful of games in AA, none in AAA. Does it look like he might be MLB ready sometime in 2014?

    • Looked too good (by the numbers) for the FSL in a handful of games out of the gate this year, then was out with some soreness to his surgically repaired elbow. Made his debut for New Hampshire yesterday. So… looks on a path to be ready for 2014, but to break camp as the starter, I highly doubt.

  8. And you can be certain that if the Jays ever do realize Arencibia is mediocre and start playing him less in favour of Thole, Wilner will be the first one defending the decision and explaining to everybody why the time has come for such a change. It’s just near impossible for him to acquiesce to the point of any caller, even if the majority of it is rational – he just find the part to nitpick on and attack the guy’s argument.

    I don’t need an Andy Frost hosting JaysTalk, but would it kill Wilner to play nicer?

  9. *slow clap*

    • *slow clap* +1.

      • +2. Wiser Clap.

        I feel bad for Wilner because he is not feeling well this week. It must have paimed him to discuss JPA`s flaws on the radio.

        JPA is media friendly so Wilner won`t bash him.

  10. Pat Borders says hello.

    Serious question: if JPA were batting in the 7-8 sport in the order would folks be heaping all this scorn on the guy? He is what he is at this point – which is pretty objectively lousy, sure -but remember its Gibby who had him batting clean up some nights (out of necessity because, um, who the fuck else?) and that’s not JPA’s fault.

    A Thole/JPA platoon might just be what is needed to squeeze a bit more production out of that position in the meantime and maybe some legitimate (sorry Blanco) competition for playing time will push him to work on his approach at the plate a bit more…?

    I just don’t get why he’s become such a whipping boy in some corners.

    And PS I’ll defend Mike Wilner to anyone. He does a great job dealing with the tinfoil hat/OMGPANIC/#FireGibby brigade that typically call in to his show.

  11. 3 times last night with runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs. 3 strikeouts. It could have been 4 for it not for the wild pitch in the 10th. That is simply unacceptable for a player at the major league level and JP must know that. I want to think that he is just jacked up and really wants to help the team but at some point you have to realize your shortcomings and at least shorten up, figure something out to at least put the ball in play. I think he needs to sit on the bench for at least a couple of days so perhaps at the very least next time he can least a bit humbled

    • At least he didnt ground into any double plays?

      • The worst part is, in the 8th with nobody out and runners on 1st and 3rd he could have batted into a double play and the run would have come in to score from 3rd.

    • That happening in a single, isolated game is hardly “unacceptable.” It sucks, it’s unfortunate, and you’d hope someone can do better, but baseball is hard. The issue– and this is true of anything in this sport, I think– really can’t be boiled down to individual incidents like that (or even three in one game), but the accumulation of those and everything else that shows that this guy just is not a productive hitter.

      • At the very least it paints him as the prototypical bottom of the lineup hitter he should be – the kind of guy that needs to get pinch hit for in critical situations. A major issue is that they’re too “loyal” to him to even do that.

      • agreed, but its quite illustrative of his biggest career-long issue: the constant hacking at just about anything, regardless of the situation. I feel like his problems are either 1) He’s supremely confident and is somehow convinced that he’s going to hit a homer every time. If this was the case, a bit of humbling might help him. However, the more likely 2) complete and total lack of pitch recognition, is not an easy is even possible thing to fix

      • That’s right. The mind boggling thing is that Gibby keeps running him out after Lind (a guy doing nothing but get on base) so that we can watch Jp k. If he was hitting 8-9 and offered say above average defense I could accept 20-25 hr and countless strikeouts. Sadly that’s not the case…

  12. Fantastic piece of writing. I don’t always agree with Mike Wilner, but over the years, I’ve found his opinions to be intelligent and informed. That being said, I feel he’s increasingly morphed into a company guy. He’s become less critical of the organization as a whole and more predictable! When someone calls in to ask a question, you can preemptively determine how he’ll react.

    Personally, I think defending Arencibia is absurd, for the reasons Stoeten enumerated. It begs the question, has Wilner completely sold out?

  13. my one consideration is JPA’s declining plate discipline. is this a product of a guy with supreme confidence (or even arrogance?) in the security of his job?

    we’ve seen it with JPA and Lawrie, two players who were asked to learn how to walk before they could be promoted to the big leagues, and then once they got here and realised theres no one half-decent nipping at their heals, they resort to taking at-bats in whatever way they are suited.

    What other way is there to explain such a massive change in BB and K rates?

  14. Brian McCann’s going to be a free agent…

  15. but the winning smile…

    With his 3 K performance last night he’s now an incredible -1 wRC on the road. There aren’t a lot of 111 PA splits in the history of baseball that have provided a negative wRC. Question with JPA is…are the home away splits because of a hot streak when they happened to be at home or is it something mental. Either way even at his best, he’s not good enough IMO but the F.O. loves the guy. I remember back in May 2012 when Rosenthal implied that the D-Backs were interested in JPA. While most baseball fans were calling for a deal, there were about 15 times more Jays fans saying don’t trade JPA. With the overall disappointment in the team spinning dealing a guy that’s hitting as poorly as he is should be easier…but you’re also giving him away at super low value and no great upside option ready to take over full time. Chances are we just ride out JPA and hope he’s bad enough that the F.O has to look elsewhere.

    • I think he’s a party animal who just cuts extra loose on the road. He’s probably hungover.
      I was defending JPA in the pre-season but I just can’t rationalize that anymore .
      He’s horrible

  16. Hear hear

    Very well said Andrew

  17. Interesting tidbit I found: Pat Borders, the delightfully average-at-best catcher of the glory years (and I’m not even talking about his defence) (disclaimer: Pat was awesome), set a career high with 75 strikeouts in 1992, his best all-around offensive season. He also walked a career-best 33 times that season.

    JP Arencibia struck out for the 75th time in 2013 YESTERDAY.

    I’ve always thought of JP as Borders with more power, but the difference in strikeout totals was shocking to me.

    • Yeah, but strikeouts aren’t that big a deal, in and of themselves.

      • I’ve never understood that aspect of Sabermetrics at all. One of the basic tenets of statistical analysis is that most players’ BABIP regresses towards the mean, with some skill sets leading to higher or lower ranges but all within a few stat devs of the mean. This allows analysts to estimate which performances are sustainable and which will regress.

        Based on this analysis, in the aggregate a Strikeout is the absolute WORST outcome that can result from a play! Analysis shows that players who strikeout a lot tend to also have the highest wOBA, but that’s mostly because players who strikeout a lot but stay in the majors for many plate appearances tend to be pretty fucking awesome at the other things.

        Unless there is some proof that if players made contact on strikeout pitches it would be weak contact and the success of that ball in play would not be affected by the averages of BABIP (and such proof is impossible), I don’t see how Strikouts could possibly be “not that important.”

        • Strikeouts are considered worse in stats like wOBA (check out the linear weights). How much worse? The exact amount by which they have historically decreased run production – this is what the massive sample sizes that baseball produces sometimes allow. You can trust the weightings much more than your own judgement.

          BTW, the weightings themselves are almost completely unchanged, even if you compute them decade-by-decade since the dead-ball era. Think about that; it is like baseball’s DNA. No matter what trends and ideas have influenced coaches, players, GMs, playing style, etc, the underlying pattern of outcomes is almost completely invariant. This inherent stability, as much as the large sample sizes, is what makes the weighted stats so much more predictive than the traditional ones.

    • Pat Borders was WSMVP. Don’t compare him to JP

      • + Billions and Billions

      • …though I could never figure out why the hell Borders never learned how to block the plate properly. It seemed like he would stand three feet in front of the plate when taking outfield throws and the runners could just slide behind him without having to alter their path. Regardless, JPA sucks.

  18. McCan or bust basically for a FA right?

  19. Honestly, JP has always profiled as a prototypical backup catcher. They gave him a year or two out of the gate to see whether he might be one of those mashers who actually keeps getting better at every level…but at the end of the day, he’s a mediocre defender who has a good rapport (projecting here) and hits like a Jeff Mathis clone with pop. Certainly not a guy you hand the keys to come hell or high water, and probably not a guy who should be starting barring an injury. His upside is probably Rod Barajas.

  20. Wilner=Parrot

  21. Also great stuff as always Stoeten.

  22. Well said. I really can’t understand where Wilner is coming from on this argument and he’s usually pretty rational in my mind.

    • It is obvious to those who know a little about human psychology. Wilner is a smart man, but also a small man. He is more interested in winning an argument than asserting any Truth. Listen to him carefully and you’ll hear him break his own rules time and time again in order to battle callers, particularly on the use of small sample sizes. Unless you pick up on his talking points of the night, he will combat you. The worst kind of contrarian, looking to satisfying ego.

      • Not even a Wilner-basher, but I have to kind of agree. He will zoom in on one thing at a time and pick a post to defend every night. When it’s a good point and he’s dealing with idiots it’s okay but when he gets caught up in defense mode it can get unbearable.

      • Sounds like Rob Ford.

  23. I love the excuse baseball is hard so that excuses everything. There’s nothing hard about taking pitches and not swinging at balls a foot in front of the plate. kawasaki is somehow able to walk.

    • I love it when commenters disagree with me and then prove themselves to be idiots a sentence later.

      • I know…it sucks that this game is so hard. If only we could find some guys who were good at playing it, maybe even “professionals” at it, then the Jays wouldn’t struggle so much. That would be awesome.

      • Still, this gets a bit circular. Your entire point in the article above was (I believe) that based on comparative statistics JPA has far too many negative outcomes. It isn’t really fair to then argue the other side that ‘baseball is hard’ because that can only be a small sample size excuse. JPA doesn’t suck because he struck out repeatedly in high-leverage situations last night; he sucks because he does so at a higher rate than he should for a starter on a team that hopes to contend. That and the defense of course.

    • have you ever tried to hit a curveball in the dirt after facing +90 MPH 4-seam fastball from a 6’5 Pitcher? if not, please try and while you do take a video to share on here so we can laugh at it.

      • I also love it when people somehow make it a debate between me hitting a baseball and JPA as if somehow I am a ML hitter making 500k.

        Comparing JPA to other AAA hitters like kawasaki and mccoy who are able to have professional AB’s. Too complicated for some people tounderstand.

        • you’re probably the first guy on this site to get offended by the fact your lack of baseball skill and playing experience should in any way affect your ability to judge professionals on their abilities.

    • Slobber i bet you’re the best player on your mixed slow pitch team

  24. Problem is that thole is not a good defender either.

    Like I said in the offseason this team would have been better with Ervin Santana and darnaud than Jpa and dickry

  25. I think the timing of Thole’s promotion to the big leagues is telling. My guess is that AA was giving JPA two full months this year as his last chance to prove that he is a legit everyday catcher (or as much as an everyday catcher you can really have in the grind that is MLB). With Blanco as the 1/5 backup, JP can concentrate on his play without looking over this shoulder.

    Two months go by. JPA has not really done what it takes to earn that position. In fact he’s backtracked from previous years.

    AA says, OK, you had your final shot, Im bringing up someone to legitimately compete with you for playing time. Thus up comes Thole. This was planned all along.

    • I think Jimenez being ready for the move to New Hampshire may have had something to do with it too.

  26. RA Dickey has a higher offensive WAR than Arencibia.

    • First, that’s not true.
      Second, wouldn’t Dickey’s WAR be in comparison to other pitchers, rather than position players?
      Third, the fact that this conversation is happening is evidence enough that JPA’s offense has been unacceptable for a Major League starting catcher.

      • “wouldn’t Dickey’s WAR be in comparison to other pitchers, rather than position players” – he wrote offensive WAR. Which is basically wRC+ and baserunning.

  27. Stoeten is on a tear in the comment section….I better get back to work.
    Nice read though.

  28. Ughh. I had high hopes for JPA, and truly thought he could improve his offense. However his comments in the past make me believe he thinks a power (RBI) game is what he should focus on. Clearly selling out for power hasn’t been the path to making him a valuable offensive player.

    Where can the jays go from here? It seems like the jays would have to give up a lot for a quality catcher, either in prospects or FA cash. I think its likely we are either stuck with JPA for a while, or cheap FA catchers in the mould of rod barajas or john buck.

    • He’s arb eligible for 1st time next year. HR and rbi’s are what they go by. He’s selfish and looking to pad his stats for a big raise.

  29. 25% of JPA hits have come in just 4 games. He beats up on a few bad pitchers and then sucks against everyone else.

  30. As JPA entered his 4th big league season at age 27, I was hoping to see improvement.
    Alas, he has not improved; he may have gotten worse.

    Were he a great defensive catcher,
    one might be able to overlook his offensive shortcomings.
    But his game calling, framing, throwing and blocking skills are all well below average.

    He’s arbitration eligible next year and its probably time to cut bait.
    Would not be surprised to see him moved at the deadline.

    He does present an interesting problem for the bean counters.
    They covet a young fan base and they are getting it.
    They are packing in 90-120K per 3 game series and when I’ve been there (9 games)
    the crowd has seemed intent on having a good time regardless of results.
    They don’t seem to be a particularly demanding (in terms of performance) fan base.

    It is also interesting that the jerseys most on display are those of
    Bautista, Lawrie, JPA and Rasmus.
    Not sure what this says about the acumen of Jays fans,
    but it will make for some robust conversation in the team offices.

  31. Is it OK as a coach to tell a guy “Don’t swing at close pitches” for a while? “Don’t defend the plate” unless its an obvious strike?

    I mean he’s hacking at stuff that isn’t even close. He had an at bat last night ( I think his second) where he struck out on a 1-2 pitch but didn’t get a ball in the strike zone the whole at bat. Last pitch was ridiculously outside.

    Fuck it. Tell him to strike out looking if need be. You just don’t want to see him swinging through a third strike off the plate or it’s time for a benching.

    His strike zone recognition is so bad I think it will take drastic measures to have a hope of fixing it.

  32. Thank you Stoeten, someone really needed to write this piece. Great job.

    There comes a time with any player when you can’t keep playing them hoping for development, and that’s where we are with JPA. He’s a bad player and has gotten worse on both sides of the game this year.

    Hopefully they just sign a stopgap for next year, maybe Pierzynski or Kurt Suzuki.

  33. I rarely comment here, but here’s my 2 cents worth. J.P. is Miguel Olivo 2.0. Go look at Olivo’s age 24, 25, 26 seasons. k% over 25, walk % under 7. ISO usually 150-200. Teams kept handing him a job, looking for some offense.

    He’s changed teams 6 times in ten years. Only the Mariners would give him full time ABs since leaving the ChiSox.

    If you want to know what the future holds for Arencibia, I wouldn’t bet against being moved well before his arb years are well along, and then being a throw-in guy in a couple of other trades. He’s not real long for the Jays, but it would be pretty stupid of AA and company to broadcast that to other teams, or to the fans, right now.

    ‘Journeyman’ JP has a nice ring to it, yes?

  34. Before Blanco was released JPA was on pace to appear in 150 games. I think we can all agree that is way too much for just about any catcher.

    I really do think that he is fatigued, hence the super slump.

    It’s my opinion that after a week or so of Thole taking the everyday pressure off of JPA he will improve.

    Don’t confuse this with me thinking that he’ll turn into something that he is not, but rather JPA will be in a position to do the few things he does well, and not be over exposed to the things that he doesn’t.

  35. Amazing post. What bothers me too is his atittude, not that I really know, but seemingly unwilling to do anything about his shittiness.

    • FUCK…attitude*.

    • I gotta disagree on this one. JPA seems to have a great attitude and seems like a team player.

      I’m not gonna shit down a guys throat for being positive in front of the cameras. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and if you’re in the big leagues, you probably have spent your whole career working to be better.

      Everyone thought Lind’s attitude was bad when he was shitty. Now that he’s batting .330 his attitude is suddenly improved in the eyes of the fan base.

      • I’ve been a supporter of JP largely because of his attitude, I find him to be a team player and a very positive, giving person. Yeah he displays quite a bit of bravado, which doesn’t always translate well in the media, but I can dismiss that easily enough. Having said that, I’ve been cringing every time he steps into the batters box. He looks lost. I hope he’s quite a bit better than this.

        • Team player, I dunno. I mean if you were a player ( and granted, the point has been made that none of us know what goes on) and I heard him interview at the next locker away about how he has leadership abilities and he was born with them etc. That’s not what I want to hear from a guy who – as Zaun said – swung at 3 consectutive pitches in the dirt with men on base. A real leader doesnt make statements like that.

  36. Thole might be underrated.. the concussion set him back but he might be alright as a starter if he’s over that.

  37. Best post I’ve read from you in a while, Stoeten – and not just because I agree with you. You do great things when combining the background research with thoughtfulness, common sense, AND avoiding reference to absurd fringe opinions put forth by a sliver of the fan base.

  38. I read wilner’s crap article this morning and thought the exact same thing. This guy was using jpa’s career minor league numbers to defend him!! Like, are you fucking kidding me?? That alone makes his argument look like a joke. Why not trying using major league career numbers mike? Arent they way more relevant? Imagine if one his callers did that. I just dont take wilner seriously anymore. He has turned into a blue jays positive spin guru/contrarian.

    • It was utter nonsense. FIrst he tried to compare Jose to JPA saying that Jose was in a huge slump and he came out of will JPA. OK..sure. But Jose has a track record of actually being very, very good when he is not mired in a slump. Jose’s baseline is excellent.

      JPA has no track record of being anything other than shit, with a few streaks of usefulness mixed in, just to confuse the casual moron fan /media fan boy.

      JPA sure will come out of the slump, he’ll come out of it and return to being a slightly better version of the piece of shit he is right now. thats all he will be.

      the part where he uses his minor league stats, in the PCL no less, was hilarious.

      How many times has he shit on a commenter saying that they should bring up negrych or thole (before he came up), by stating the minor league numbers mean nothing. except that those international league numbers are much more predictive than pcl numbers.

      he really bent over backwards to defend JP on this one.

  39. That AB against Thornton last night should have been enough to get him demoted. I mean, how much does he have to suck to start getting the Adam Lind treatment?

  40. I always thought JPA would be a 2015 non-tender candidate. But it’s looking like it could (or at least should) be 2014.

    But there is a GM in the league who will value what JP does: Ruben Amaro Jr.

    The guy who paid Ryan Howard for homeruns and RBI’s.

    Carlos Ruiz has been suspended, injured and is a pending free agent. He’s also 34 years old.

    But he’s been damn good from age 30-33.

    It seems like the kinda swap Amaro would entertain.

    • At this point the only value JPA has in a trade is mired in reclamation. If a GM thinks that his coaches can get JPA to pick up his defence and somehow turn around his bat, then he may do a deal. But that’s a big if. He’ll most probably be a throw in on another deal.

      • a throw in? the catcher who leads all catchers in Home runs? haha!!! man just because people know how to type, doesn’t mean you know baseball, that’s a ridiculous comment. more than half on here are just silly, im holding this article as a point of reference and I will be back on here in 2 months to show u all how brutal of fans you are (and how lil baseball knowledge is here)

  41. In other news, the rockies DFA’d Eric Young Jr. He plays 2b and OF. The guy had an 825 ops and beat up on lefties last year. I would take a flyer on him and DFA bonicrapio.

    • So the Eric Young Jr. Link in MLBTR actually goes to Eric Young Srs Baseball reference.

      I was quite surprised to see him with 6119 career ABs and a couple stellar seasons for Colorado in the mid 90s

    • Ya know Boni is only on a 1 yr guaranteed contract (2.6 M). So it wouldn’t be the worst waste of $$. Another possibility: Wait til Reyes returns to SS; Alternate Kawasaki and Izturis at 2B and SS relief and DFA Bonifacio.

  42. You might also blame the decision to go so long with Blanco as the backup. Arencibia has been worked much too hard – only one catcher in he majors has caught more innings – and after a good month a half to strart the year, he’s gone totally into the crapper. Thole should have been here a month ago just to give the starter a more sensible workload.

    • Not a great excuse. Was arencibia overworked last year? Because he was still crap. Albeit slightly better. Dude just sucks.

      • It’s at least an argument with more basis in reality than the crap that Wilner was spewing.

      • lol u think he sucked last year? hahahahaha go look at stats among catchers when he got hurt. afdg knows nothing!

  43. Let me hasten to add – I don’t expect JPA to actually be good. I think he’s basically a better looking Rod Barajas.

  44. [...] JPA Won’t Fly” from a Drunk Jays Fan perspective. On that note, he’s “under a harsh spotlight” per Mike [...]

  45. What makes some posters so sure the Jays haven’t realized Arencibia is a problem?

    I’m quite certain if we are able to spend 5 seconds on fangraphs and notice his offense has been putrid overall then AA has as well.

    But seriously, at this point what are the options? AA can’t click his heels three times and turn JP into Buster Posey.

    The options are really:

    - Make Thole the starting catcher (which if they are going to do, they have already made the first step and put him on the active roster). This isn’t a move the Jays can make lightly, obviously JP would be quite upset and it would signal that the team has no confidence in his abilities, which is fine, but you have to be willing to deal with that consequence. Its also not a given Thole would be an upgrade, depending on which one of his historical seasons you would like to use as a projection going forward.

    - Call up one of our prospect catchers, none of whom appear ready to play in the majors

    - Sign a journeyman type, much in the same way we picked up Kawasaki. Doesn’t seem very attractive considering these players would be, by definition, replacement level, and in all likelihood inferior to JP

    - Trade for a superior starting catcher. As noted above there are only about 15-20 humans in the world who would fit this category, and without much visibility into what we would have to give up to get one of them, possibly an unattractive proposition

    It is frustrating watching him hack the shit out of everything, but at least in the short term, what should the Jays do aside from publicly state that yes they also agree he sucks?

  46. JP also has the worst plate discipline among catchers with a minimum of 180 plate appearances. He swings at almost 40% of pitches that are outside the strike zone. And JP is last by a mile, as Matt Wieters is next at 33%. This is not simply a slump either, as this stat has been trending negatively for the past three seasons.

    • if the basis for plate discipline is BB to Ratio….he’s not just the worst among catchers, he is on pace to be the worst of all time (beating I-Rod’s 9 BB to 91 K’s at the end of his career)

  47. I am glad this was said on Drunk Jays Fans. The more I watch JP play, the more I shake my head. You can’t win championships with a catcher like this. JP is a good guy with the fans and media, but he is below average major league baseball player. Poor hitting + poor catching= bench.

  48. To me the worst part of this whole thing is JPA’s attitude. I expect athletes to have confidence but during interviews JPA talks as if his performance over the last 2 years is acceptable. How its OK if he bats .180 and never gets on base because in his words “i get clutch RBI’s”. How he doesn’t acknowledge that his defense is below par or how his complete inability to frame pitches kills his starting pitchers. He has barley improved over 3 years in really any area of his game. He still races out to 0-2 counts and then swings out of his shoes at the 3rd pitch in the dirt. The fact that he still hacks away in 2 strike counts rather then attempt to swing for contact in every single 2 strike situation. to me shows that he will never ever improve because he is completely oblivious to the serious flaws in every expect of his game. JPA thinks, talks and carries himself like he is Piazza but he plays terrible. It is completely ridiculous that he is such a high profile face of the organization. All the celebrity, but none of the talent. Maybe the New England Patriots can take him off the Jays hands. They couldn’t be worse running Thole/(insert anyone not JPA here) platoon then they are now.

    • hahahahaha! my guess is u have never played a game in your life!!! the only point you have is the 2 strikes, which is true,… You want him to not be confident? ” ya you know im really not that good, I could really use more time in the minors”! lol.
      1. you think (and all the typical jays fans with the torch and pitch forks) he is bad
      2. he really isn’t bad at all, and tho maybe not elite, look at #3
      3. look what Eil Manning and Flacco created by staying confident and working hard.
      I would bet a lot of money that you suck at whatever it is you do

  49. Wilner will defend anything JP Riccardi did. They are both enormous douche bags.

  50. Agree with Sean. And pretty much all of you here. And here’s some more preaching to the choir: I don’t necessarily care that a player is in a massive slump, or if he is just, um, ‘challenged’ in certain aspects (or all of them in JPA’s case) of the game. But I care very much when that player is an arrogant tool who thinks he’s just swell as he is and doesnt need to adapt or learn. Such a fucking typical attitude of your average 20-nothing year old these days, really. “Fuck you brah, I’m good, I got this”

    Well, no you DON’T, cheesedick, and you better start listening to your coaches and producing some half-way intelligent at-bats soon, or get busy changing the verb
    tenses on your Wikipedia page. Cause right now, you suck balls in the WORST way and we the people who pay for and support this team have our pitchforks and torches ready to come drive you the cunting fuck out of town.

    • I assume that you got the info about JP thinking he doesn’t have to learn anything or adapt, from a reliable source? A coach? Because I don’t know how you would know that otherwise.

  51. JP is an exceptionally streaky player, he gets on these hot streaks where he’s hitting bombs everywhere for about 2-3 weeks, and then shits the bed for 1-2 months. He’s done this a lot through his career from my memory, and I think he’ll heat up soon. That being said, he needs to be dropped down the order when he’s on his cold streaks, and more playing time has to be given to thole.

  52. Rockies DFA Eric Young Jr – his #’s are eerily similar to Bonifacio and by that I mean, not very good

    • Well, he cant be worse than bonicrapio. They have opposite platoon splits, interestingly. Young does well vs lefties (hiting from the right side) and boni does better vs. righties (hitting from the left side). Personally, I think this team could use another lefty masher more than bonicrapio. I would make the switch and take a flyer on young.

  53. JP is a fucking legend

  54. Sigh… #FreeThole

  55. AA will never release a player making money. He is too terrified of making rogers angry at him. So bono will never be released.

    JPA and bono are the same. They CAN play a position but are no where good at it.

    These 2 clowns have cost us at least 5 wins.

    • Remember that game Boney had 3 errors, that is hard to do if you try.

    • Thanks for being a dumbass. There it literally zero reason to release Bonifacio. He’s a talented player having a shitty stretch. And he doesn’t make very much money. Thanks for playing, though.

    • hahahahahaha release JP or BONO?! you are on crack buddy, and as far as taking a shot at our amazing GM that none of you douche bags give any credit, he just released a player making money this week, so once again, those who know nothing should say the same….
      Bono is a very valuable bench player,… and JPS rbi and Dingers have probably won us a game or two

  56. Stats aside.. it is painful to watch JPA play some games.

  57. i just get the impression that JPA approaches every at-bat with an ‘oh yeah?’ attitude. he’s aware he’s being critiqued/criticized/scrutinized, but his reaction, rather than try to change or even slightly adjust his approach, is to try to do the same things, but EVEN MORE HARDER.

    ‘oh, i should shorten my swing, protect the plate, maybe not swing as hard as possible at everything that i could (theoretically) reach? HAHAHAHA…fuck that, bombs away, every swing!’ it’s as though he’s blissfully unaware that his scouting report essentially reads: don’t throw a strike.

    • Hah. Yeah no one can see inside a players head, but based on what he says on twitter, and to the media, and his plate approach…I can totally see that. He seems to really have the stubborn streak.

      It’s like the GOP. If it what you’re doing isn’t working, just double down on the stupid and keep going.

  58. Maybe his very first at-bat in the majors is what cursed him. 2 home runs and a double if I remember correctly. Maybe a single as well. He keeps trying to do that again but all the pitchers know his game by now so he can’t. If he was a decent defensive catcher I wouldn’t mind so much but he isn’t.

    Also I wouldn’t mind seeing the Dynamic Duo of JPA and Lawrie being split up because I think they feed off each other. And I’d rather keep Lawrie than JPA given that Lawrie can at least play super-plus defence.

  59. %chance that JPA is non tendered in the offseason?

  60. JP doesn’t have the plate discipline to be a starting catcher, period. A .290 OBP is playable for a catcher with 25-hr power and average defense, but when your OBP is sub-275, you should be a sub or in AAA, I don’t care how many homers you can hit. His OBP right now is .237. TWO THIRTY SEVEN.

    People have made the comparison to Vlad Guerrero, which is really, really stupid. Yes, Vlad swung at everything, but he could also hit everything – hard. His career high for Ks was 95, and he had three seasons in which is was in the top 3 batters in AB/SO. In 2005 he only K’d 48 times in 520 ABs. He also had 4 seasons with more BBs than Ks.

    Totally different ballpark than JPA.

  61. I’m pretty surprised that people talk about Arencibia’s production and lack of production without really looking at what makes him so streaky. In the end, it’s pretty simple, and I’m 100% sure guys like Mottola, Murphy and Hale should have noticed it.

    - Arencibia’s high strikeouts and low walks both come when he’s swinging at balls out of the strike zone, specifically way below. Fastballs, sliders, changeups – anything.
    - If he didn’t swing at those balls (which he obviously can’t hit), it stands to reason that he’d be walking a lot more.
    - He also fails to connect (or pops up) on fastballs high in the zone. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they’re actually in the top of the zone or above. He’s hit the odd slider there, usually far, but not the fastball. The reason is he’s trying to upper-cut those pitches instead of making his hands take a directly line to the bat. His current swing just isn’t built for handling thsoe pitches.
    - He’s very lethal with pitches in the bottom half of the zone, though, and pretty good with pitches away but in the zone.

    So here’s an odd thought: if he can’t shorten his swing a bit, maybe he should just focus on swinging at pitches that are in that bottom 10 inches of the strike zone that he can handle. He may go down looking more often, but he’d walk twice as much, go down swinging half as much, and make way better contact with far more regularity. If he’s going to stay in the big leagues, that’s an adjustment he absolutely needs to make.

    • yeah of course they’ve noticed it. and i’m sure they’ve told him. anyone watching the game even casually has been able to see what he’s swinging at. often its not even close.

      there have been a number of times he’s up 2-0 on the count and starts swinging at crap. the other night was just such a situation, with runners on late in the game. and he was swinging in the dirt….up 2-0!!! and with a pitcher who was coming undone.

      and you’ve struck the exact reason that I hate this guy. he’s a stubborn arrogant moron. he’s gone on record saying his approach is always to hit the ball. he’s not even trying to walk.

      the guy is an idiot. and he’s got an ego that is way out of whack with his abilities. hence his insistence on trying to catch Dickey, etc. That probably cost us a game or two as well.

    • agree, and that was pretty much my point in my earlier comment, the ‘oh yeah?’ approach that’s working so swimingly.

    • “I’m pretty surprised that people talk about Arencibia’s production and lack of production without really looking at what makes him so streaky. In the end, it’s pretty simple, and I’m 100% sure guys like Mottola, Murphy and Hale should have noticed it.”

      I’m 100% sure they have talked until they are blue in the face about it. But does he give you the impression he’s a guy who listens?

  62. glad to see there’s a little bit of sense here finally. JPA is a bum and the point was driven home 3000x when Kawasaki joined the club and showed all the bums how you provide value even where you don’t have the same level of talent of superstars. Kawa has been the best thing that could have happened to the jays this year.

    also, it was a welcome bit of strangeness to hear Zaun recently start to throw JPA under the bus. Previously he was a bit of a JPA apologist himself, so its refreshing to hear him vocalize a bit of sense and criticism regarding that POS catcher.

    they should have traded him when he had some value, like a year or two ago. Now no one will want that junk.

    • i’m thinking the ‘best’ thing that could have come out of this season would be never having to see kawa in the first place…

      zaun had to move his crosshairs from rasmus to JPA, since rasmus is playing too well to continually dog him, and as all good trolls know, someone always needs to be dogged.

      erm, maybe not ‘too well,’ but just so much better than JPA that not touching on his (JPA’s) ‘struggles’ would be even more idiotic than most of what comes out of his marble mouth.

    • @Tocher. Zaun has been doing it for a while now. He’s criticized his pitch framing, blocking and just about all things defensive as well as his hitting. But the way he does it is sublte. Without mentioning his name, he’d launch into a spiel about setting the target and how not to do it and then leave it to the audience to figure out after watching 5 innings of bad target setting form JPA. The other night he talked about how good Thole was at setting the target. By extension, JPA was criticized because he’s never said the same about JPA.

  63. Wilner will defend anything and everything the Blue Jays do. This means that sometimes he’s a calm voice in an ocean of morons (like when he fends off calls to fire AA) and sometimes he’s a useless corporate hack. Anyone who’s heard Wilner do the “well, if he didn’t strike out those three times he’d be 2 for 2 and we’d all be happy” or “if he hadn’t had those two errors at third it would have been an excellent performance” or “if we had won more games the JPR era would look much better” routines should know that whatever happens, Wilner will blindly defend the team and it’s players.

    I’m just surprised that you’re surprised…

    • Or last year, when he actually said about Cordero that if he hadn’t allowed those two runs it would have been a clean inning. Thanks Mike.

  64. a) No Wilner is not defending the team because he is a corporate shill. Sorry. He defends the team because people get such hard-ons looking for faults. There are literally comments here from people who WANT jpa to do badly so the Jays gets rid of him. It’s nice you guys figured out what WAR and OPS+ etc are., but fuck. At least wish for him to do well so we can trade him. Or that he does well so the team does well.

    b) That doesn’t mean his defence of jpa has any merit. The guy sucks.

    c) As shitty as jpa is, he (1) manages to not get injured while everyone else seemingly is made of glass and (2) while he is the 20th worst catcher out of 22 or whatever number, he is also the very lowest paid catcher in baseball. No one signed him to 5/50 and is trying to fool you guys.

    Fuck. Yes he sucks. But I’m with Wilner to a degree. I have no idea what trick you guys think is being pulled on you. AA has never held a press conference to show off jpa like with Bautista, Reyes or Dickey.

    • You make some valid points

    • My dislike for him has already exceeded the point of no return. He is what he is and I hate watching him. I dont root for him. I want him either traded or dfa’d.

    • Have you ever heard the saying “even a broken clock is right twice a day”? Wilner only has one answer to any concern about the Blue Jays – everything is fine, should be fine or will be fine.

      Usually, considering the idiocy of Jays Talk callers, this attitude comes across as refreshing and necessary to prevent the victory of lunacy. But he disagrees just as much with John from Thornhill braying about Gibby’s locker room ‘leadership’ as he does with Stoeten’s statistical critique of JPA’s ability: They’re both great and any view to the contrary is based on ignorant assumptions, small samples or an overemphasis on bad luck.

      Don’t act like he’s not a corporate shill; he is. It’s just that in a sport like baseball, nothing is all bad or all good. Wilner just happens to never see any bad in anything. Or anyone. Ever.

      • Ray I think he is overly optimistic and a homer and has rose-coloured glasses, etc.

        I just don’t buy that it is out of self-interest.

        He even got in trouble for challenging Cito way back.

  65. Most of the time Wilner is a voice of reason, and given the torrents of nonsense he has to put up with every day, it understandable if he sometimes goes too far in the other direction.

    But he does go too far the other way sometimes. Last year it was in defending Adam Lind, who he repeatedly said had been a statistically great player in the first half of 2011, and we just needed to wait for him to come around. I looked at the stats, and that strong first half actually boiled down to about three weeks in May. Those three weeks were the only weeks since the silver slugger year that were any good. In other words, Wilner is a great advocate of stats, but sometimes is a bit loose with his interpretation of them.

    Now, of course, we’re into a more prolonged renaissance for Adam Lind, and long may it continue. If the Jays have done one thing well in recent years, it’s finding diamonds among the roughest of rough. Who would have thought Edwin would be the best hitter on this team, and one of the best in the AL, a few years ago? Let along Bautista. And now Lind turning into something decent three years after he last had any right to be a major leaguer.

    But regardless of that, the stats are clear – JP is not very good. Maybe given another 18 months JP starts walking and hitting for average, but who can afford to wait 18 months for another miracle?

  66. In JP’s defense, maybe he’s listening to Pat Tabler, who thinks he has a “great approach”. He clearly has “an idea” when he goes to the plate, so maybe if he could just get more pitches on “the inner half”, he’d start producing.

  67. This is how brutal Toronto fans are!!!
    Who would u rather in there? you know with all these stats everyone is putting up, no one wants to mention that while he is in the worst slump of his career (everyone goes through them) he still LEADS THE AMERICAN LEAGUE IN HOME RUNS (for catchers,… MOST!!! and as far as runs batted in he ranks 4th,…. 5th in runs scored, 5th in SLUGGING ! o and as far as preferring Kawasaki in the order,… this guy being our catcher and taking all those days off, is still 3rd on our roster in HR and RBI to only EE and Bats

  68. Hey look….Wilner just posted this video – just change the face and Britney to JP…

  69. Folks should calm down about JPA unless they really think the Jays still have playoff hopes this year. Let him hit mistakes for the rest of the year and the Jays can get good value for him from Arizona by trading him before his arb hearing. In the meantime, quit pointing out that he sucks – Arizona might hear you.

  70. That’s so nice to defend JP Arencibia like that :)

  71. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I

  72. J.P. Arencebia is just plain awful. Why defend him ….please get rid of him!

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