Remember at the end of the last post, when I quipped something about this day just getting better?
Um… yeah. Further to that:
Multiple teams have expressed interest in Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, prompting the Jays to explore the free-agent catching market for a possible replacement, sources say.
The Jays have contacted all of the free-agent catchers but have yet to make an offer, one source said. The team’s top priority is upgrading its rotation, but the Jays ideally would like to get something for Arencibia and sign someone else.
Arencibia, who turns 28 on Jan. 5, batted .194 with a .592 OPS last season, albeit with 21 homers. He is projected to earn $2.8 million in arbitration next season according to Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com.
*DANCES A MOTHERFUCKING JIG*
And, as you’ll know if you read the title of this post, that’s not just any old Howard Eskin talking– HEYO! TOPICAL!– it’s Kenny effing Ken Ken Rosenthal in his piece this morning over at Fox Sports. And… uh… let’s do that first line one more time, just for fun:
“Multiple teams have expressed interest in Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia.”
Ahhhhh. Well that’s just super. I mean, I don’t think that the Jays could possibly get much for Arencibia– again, I’m reminded of Dan Szymborski’s riffing on the idea of Arencibia “trade talks”– but I actually do entirely buy that somebody would take a flyer on him.
I know Jays fans who’ve endured this year probably think that’s crazy, but durability and big power behind the plate are not commodities that come available frequently or cheaply. And it’s actually not impossible to believe that a player who has gone so far south could still come around in a big way.
Look, for example, at just how incredibly abysmal Aaron Hill was before the Jays shipped him out of town for Kelly Johnson, who at the time was either going to turn into a draft pick, or– as he ultimately did– an actual, shit-you-not, almost half-decent second baseman for the following season.
Arencibia drew just 18 walks in 497 plate appearances this year– note: PUKE IN MY FUCKING MOUTH– but Hill was, you may have forgotten, nearly as terrible, having drawn just 23 in 429 PA before he was traded. At the time of the deal his slash line was a disgusting .225/.270/.313, and his wOBA and wRC+ were almost identical to what Arencibia did this season: .259 wOBA and 56 wRC+ for Hill, .259 wOBA and 57 wRC+ for Arencibia.
The .290 wOBA and 77 wRC+ that Hill had posted the year before weren’t a whole lot better, either.
Yet we all know how the story goes from there. So… is it surprising that clubs might see Arencibia– who, granted, has never had near the MLB success that Hill did during his best years with the Jays– as a reclamation project worth something slightly more valuable than nothing? Might they think the could turn a similar trick as the Diamondbacks did with Hill? Might they think they can improve his defence while they’re at it?
Sure. Why not? And they might not even be wrong.
Should we maybe not be thrilled about the supposed interest in him, then? Uh… holy shit, no!
The Jays simply cannot carry on with Arencibia behind the plate. I honestly do hope he figures it out and has a long and productive career, but we cannot run the risk of having to watch this fucking interminable movie again. It’s better for both sides that he gets a fresh start in a new environment, and that the Jays get a catcher who is a little more reliable, especially on the defensive side of the ball, even if he doesn’t necessarily have the same kind of offensive upside.
And if he does? Even fucking better. (And it’s not like it will be all that difficult to be a big improvement.)
And as with Hill, whatever happens with Arencibia next season, as long as it’s happening elsewhere, we can have no regrets.
So… there’s that.