chooch

We spilled a lot of words on Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz here last week, and it would appear now as though they were all for naught, as one of the higher profile available catchers is off the market, having re-signed with Philadelphia on a deal that will pay him $26-million over three years. MLBTR has the details, naturally.

The third year of the deal– there is also an option for a fourth, plus some performance bonus clauses– looks like it must have been what sealed it, which is exactly what Rob Bradford of Boston’s WEEI tweeted. He suggests that Chooch’s choice came down to either Philly or Boston, with Ruben Amaro’s noted aggressiveness in trying to keep putting together the best team of 2009 making it an easy one.

Which isn’t to say it’s necessarily an atrocious deal.

I mean, I don’t think it’s a great deal for a team that should be thinking about getting younger, but with visions– perhaps delusions is a better term?– of actually being competitive for another year still driving the Phillies’ bus, I guess I get it? The $8.5-million per-year salary (there is also a $500K buyout for the option year) at least isn’t nearly as tough to swallow, I don’t think, as the extra year is.

But while I know the deal was met with derision in some quarters, isn’t it… kinda what free agency is all about at this point?

Amaro didn’t want to end up still holding a giant bag of the money his ownership still inexplicably lets him spend, with no catcher to show for it, when the game of musical chairs ends. It would be very easy for a club to pass continually on players because they don’t see the value in making the kind of deals that are going to get done at this time of year, but that would seem to me to be a good way to wind up missing out completely, or having to use prospect capital or players off the Major League roster in order to acquire a different asset, when a reasonably good one was available here for just cash.

On the other hand, as Keith Law points out in his post on the signing at ESPN.com (Insider only), “just 70 catchers have reached 400 plate appearances in a season in which they were 34 or older, and a third of them were worth 1 WAR or less — and that doesn’t even consider catchers who performed so badly they lost their jobs midyear.”

“And it’s not like his age-34 season was such a rousing success,” he adds.

I can’t disagree that it’s an ugly prospect, but so is going into another season with J.P. fucking Arencibia. Not that it’s either-or. Still, when I wrote about Ruiz last week I simply said that I could stomach what it looked like his new deal would be, on account of it being an upgrade on what we had. But I’m still sure there will be better value to be had on the free agent catching market (Dioner Navarro anyone?) and I’m definitely not going to claim that going as far as the Phillies did here on a player with so many red flags– platoon issues, age issues, PED issues, bat speed issues– is something the Jays damn well needed to have done.

Hardly.

It’s just… they need to do something, and this gives us some idea of the cost of doing business. That is, unless, given who handed out the deal and how old the player was that took it, it doesn’t actually tell us anything at all about what most teams are going to be willing to do.

At the very least, then, it removes one piece from an already grim market, and maybe gets the wheels in motion for other deals to start happening. That’s a good thing, but a bit of a scary thing, too. The music has started. And yeah, I’d rather see the Jays overpay in money than in players, but making sound, cheap, incremental improvements is– if we’re being honest– probably a better way for them to go than trying to hit a home run with the deal like the one the Phillies just handed out. After all, it won’t take a whole lot to provide a big upgrade on the -1.1 fWAR the Jays got out of their catchers last year, and risking further decline from a guy like Ruiz, for that kind of money, simply didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

So… there’s that.

Comments (65)

  1. navarro!

  2. These guys are really fucking with Eskin’s plans.

  3. I think it’s almost gotta be an Angels catcher at this point, which, ugh, I’m comfortable with as long as we’re not talking really good prospects.

  4. What about Jose Molina? I don’t think he would be upset at coming back to Toronto.

  5. Agreed that extra year makes the deal an overpay and we could use that extra $$ and year for an impactful starter…fingers crossed we just actually obtain one.

  6. Just sign Suzuki and have him platoon with Thole. Put the money into 1 SP and trade Happ plus for a 2B. Accept the black hole at C and hope their defence is at least an upgrade over JPA. Non tender JP (or package with Happ).

    • Jimenez can’t be too far away at C, right?

      • His defensive reputation is good, but we’re counting on him to hit now?

        • No, Hitting wouldn’t be a focal point. Just focus on defence primarily. Spend the money on a frontline starter and trade for an offensive 2B. 1 weak spot in the lineup wouldn’t hurt anyone….Pat Borders anyone?

      • You don’t want Jiminez to be your starting C on a contending team.. He hasn’t proved he can stay healthy after TJ surgery & hasn’t even played a year in AAA yet.. At least a year away, and even then, he’d be a rookie at the one position you really want someone with experience (unless he’s an anomaly).

        • Ok, so I guess they should trade him now then under that logic, right? I mean by the time this team isn’t considering itself a contender Jimenez will be in his late twenties…..

          • I don’t think I’d be throwing around terms like “logic” after making a statement like that.

  7. I think Chooch would’ve been a good fit here; But if his top choice was Philly or Boston, I’m glad he went with Philly.

    His rep that he handles the staff well goes well with his plus defence, but that 3rd yr is a bit much.

    If you look at as 2 years / 20 mill., and the 3rd one is just for 6, it doesn’t look that bad, especially with this catcher’s market, and the fact that he does have a good bat (last year excluded).

    Now we set our sights on ______? Why does JPA have to be such a fool? He really makes it hard on himself.

  8. jpa can’t possibly be back, can he
    it would be a joke if he did

    • I don’t think they can bring him back, no. I’ve thought the same about Adam Lind before, though, and they just kept on trucking, but I do get the sense that this is different.

      • A la Stoeten’s “trucking on” comment, here’s AA doing the Dead:

        Truckin’
        Got my chips cashed in
        Keep truckin’
        like the do-dah man
        Together, more or less in line
        Just keep truckin’ on
        Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
        Chicago, New York, Detroit and it’s all on the same street
        Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
        Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.

  9. I realize that with the injury there’s little chance AA takes a chance on him, but Jeff Niemann is someone I’d take a hard look at.

    • yes he most definitely should seeing as a the guys at mlb trade rumors think he’s a candidate for a minor league deal

  10. Random fun fact: J.P. Arencibia’s SLG on 3-ball counts this year: .271. (Then again, Jose Bautista’s was only .305. Bautista actually had a higher SLG with two strikes than with three balls, by 78 points!)

  11. Is jp leaving the jays? But I just bought his jersey.

  12. Affordable catcher with a 1 WAR works fine by me. Anything above is a bonus. Is. Hanigan/Navarro platoon not passable? I think it fills a hole well enough that if that’s the weakest link, we are golden. I am crazy but I would take a run at cano still- no matter how silly it sounds. The lineup is just so dangerous if you add another slugger of that consistency. While I’ve already discredited myself with the cano suggestion – is there any package that lands up David Price? Sanchez, Gose, Lind, Drabek? I wish AA was a video game GM like Dombrowski sometimes…

  13. Earlier in the day, Yankees signed “defense only” shortstop Brendan Ryan.

    Now, with Chooch off the market, things are starting to move.
    38yr old Tim Hudson just got a 2yr contract worth $38m to sign with the Giants.

    Jays need catching and pitching and it looks like the FA market for both
    will be silly expensive, both in dollars and term.

    I just don’t see AA going there for the likes of A.J. or Salty or Santana or Ubaldo
    or anyone else who is going to be big money, long term.
    I think AA is going to make every effort to address the situation through trades.

    • I’m guessing it’s just a type but Hudson got a 2 year 23 million dollar contract, not 38 million, even the Giants aren’t going to overpay that much.

  14. Jose Molina needs to come back… JPA was a better catcher when he was mentoring him and Morrow pitched better when he was behind the plate.

    • Nope.

      • I think this is Stoeten’s auto-reply… (not that I blame him with some of the ideas that I’m sorry he has to read) …Although Cano would be nice “idea” in an A.A. shocks the world scenario… More realistically I’m just hoping for solid players to fill the gaps (Mark Ellis, U.Jiminez, Vogelsong (griff’s idea), or what could’ve been (Chooch)) and not some clowns that we seem to be linked to in rumours

  15. Random fun fact: my shoes were made by an nine year old.

    • you are one sick puppy; but I like how real world issues sometimes bleed into this forum.

      it’s just the tip of the iceberg my friend

  16. Wow. That is way more than I thought Ruiz would get. Something tells me McCann will be the first big agent to sign, and it will probably be to a team in our division. Don’t know if I like the idea of him playing 8-10 games as an opponent in the dome this up coming season.

  17. This is probably a very stupid question, but just out of curiosity…does this change the market for JP at all? With Chooch going for 3/26, does JP and his 20 odd home-runs (and little else) seem more palatable to other GMs? He is ridiculously cheap, is he not? (Especially when you consider what Ruiz got, what McCann WILL get, and the rest).

    Or is that just laughably wishful thinking on my part?

  18. What about McCann… Break the bank for him.

  19. I was hoping Anthopolous would push hard for Ruiz. Guys are throwing out names like Navarro at a bargain, he won’t be a bargain. Boston and the Yanks need a catcher so the bidding will get sick on what’s left. Assuming one of those 2 teams get McCann then it still leaves a half dozen teams including one of the evil empires bidding on Salty/Pierzinkski/Navvaro. The rest is crap.

    • When the numbers come out on those guys the Ruiz contract will look like a bargain.

      • Maybe we just have to accept that the teams are in a whole new snack bracket, and what sounds outrageous now will quickly become the norm. If that’s right, then the Jays simply need to spend the big bucks to land the person we need to catch our pitchers.

    • Hey FTS, we agree on a lot of things, & that kids letter to Bautista was funny too.

      Just wanted to say that I appreciate your writing; Keep it up! Peace

  20. With one FA catcher target off the market, how many palatable ones remain? And is there a catcher available in trade who’ll be much better than Navarro anyway? I really hope AA hurries up and signs Navarro; I am petrified of the implication of missing out on him. I’m assuming they’re not going to break the bank for McCann.

    • These are lifted off the MLBTR site (2014 FAs) :
      Henry Blanco (42)
      John Buck (33)
      Hector Gimenez (31)
      Ramon Hernandez (38)
      Koyie Hill (35)
      Brian McCann (30)
      Jose Molina (38)
      Dioner Navarro (30)
      Wil Nieves (36)
      Miguel Olivo (35)
      A.J. Pierzynski (37)
      Humberto Quintero (34)
      Jarrod Saltalamacchia (29)
      Kelly Shoppach (34)
      Kurt Suzuki (30)
      Taylor Teagarden (30)
      Yorvit Torrealba (35

      • Think I might opt for Navarro but no one jumps out at me.
        In the end it’s looking like the best they can hope for is
        “good-defender, so-so bat” which , hopefully,
        is ok.

  21. If I won the next 6 Lotto Max’s that reach the 50 mill cap I still couldn’t afford to buy us Cano.

    What happened to the reported 200 million?

    http://www.pinstripealley.com/yankees-rumors-offseason-hot-stove/2013/11/18/5119138/yankees-rumors-robinson-cano-free-agent-contract?ref=fangraphs

  22. Whoever we get better be a clear upgrade both defensively and offensively. Because JP is slowly getting better at D and his his bat can’t possibly get worse. I mean closing your eyes and praying would probably offer improvement.

    2-3M might be worth it if he makes any kind of improvement.

    Or else do a straight trade for less whiny guy with similar age, etc.

    Fuck how much do we have to add to get d’Arnaud back?

  23. Hmmm…so the Jays didn’t want JJ at 14 mil for 1 yr, or Hudson for 23 mil over 2 yrs…does this mean they are looking for longer term or cheaper deals? Neither would be consistent with “win-now” plan.

    The third option would be more money on a longer term (great!), but who is out there that fits that description?

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