Archive for the ‘Aaron Cibia’ Category


My suggestions here won’t be quite as delicious as the one made the other week by Jon Hale of the Mockingbird, who figures J.P. Arencibia can improve his on-base by simply never swinging when the count is full, but there has been a lot of good debate on Twitter of late about just what the Blue Jays can do to improve themselves next year, especially given the obvious fact that– as I noted among my Assorted Weekend Thoughts yesterday– the Jays have had absolute black holes at four positions on the diamond this year, ranking last in MLB in wins above replacement for catchers and second basemen, 27th of 30 teams when it comes to third basemen, and 25th for left field.

They also ranked 27th in WAR for starting pitchers, though elsewhere things are brighter: 10th for relievers, 3rd at first base, 11th at shortstop, 4th in right field, 6th in centre, and 1st at DH.

Of course, some of these rankings are a little wonky [read: horribly imprecise]– they include all the value provided by the guys who’ve regularly taken turns at each position, rather than just the value provided while they were playing at the position, meaning Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion’s WAR totals are simply combined to create the figure for both 1B and DH– but apart from those two positions (where they should probably be knocked down at least a couple of spots in the rankings for each), they generally pass the smell test, I’d say. Meaning, then, that the Jays mostly really need a whole lot more out of C, 2B, 3B, and LF.

Which… obviously.

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Toronto Blue Jays v Atlanta Braves

In the transcript of the Alex Anthopoulos conference call after Wednesday’s quiet trade deadline, which Gregor Chisholm has helpfully provided over at North Of The Border, there is something that I found rather conspicuous by its absence.

Asked about his areas of focus as the deadline approached, here’s what Anthopoulos had to say:

“We’re always in the market to add a starter especially with the way the rotation has been for us so we definitely explored some things there and we’re still looking to acquire some middle infield help, that’s definitely something we’ve taken a look at as well. Those were probably the two areas we were most active in overall and then there were some other ideas thrown at us that were larger concepts but just didn’t seem like things we needed to rush to do now.”

Now, here’s where I’d normally say that maybe the GM didn’t bring up the club’s gaping hole behind the plate because he didn’t want to throw the incumbent under the bus, but… uh… he certainly doesn’t seem terribly bothered by the notion of doing that to his de facto second baseman, so… what the hell?

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Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

I know a thing or two about getting shit-talked by shit-hearted shitstains on the internet (mostly, y’know, because I intentionally antagonize the fuckers, but that’s neither here nor there), and yet I still found it staggering today to see the volume of tweets from human garbage who actually value time in their sad lives so little as to bother tweeting in the direction of J.P. Arencibia in order to vent in his @reply stream about what a worthless ballplayer they think he is.

In response to this digital projectile vomiting of criticisms, and perhaps, his guttural need to respond in kind– which I can… uh… kinda totally relate to in a very small way– Arencibia announced today that he was shuttering his Twitter account.

Ben Nicholson-Smith of the network Arencibia complained to Paul Beeston about caught his final tweets, which have now slipped away into the digital ether:

“It’s unfortunate to see how words are twisted to make false stories,” ‏@jparencibia9 wrote to his 145,000 followers.

“I give way too much of myself to have others try and make me out to.. Something/someone I’m not,” he continued in a series of tweets that have since been deleted along with his account.

“Solution. I make myself very accessible with constant charitable events, and opening up to social media for the fans. I will no longer be on twitter. Thanks to all the fans who support and praying for the others that hate. God Bless.”

I can’t speak to twisted words and false stories, but… whatever. In the long run, that’s probably for the best, though temporarily– if you do a search on his name– it doesn’t appear to be doing much for the image problem of the once fan- and camera-friendly catcher.

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Gregg Zaun joined Bob McCown and Michael Grange last night on the Fan 590′s Prime Time Sports, responding to the recent comments about him from J.P. Arencibia (audio here - starts around the 16 minute mark). I called it “the great put-on” when we podcasted about it last week, and suggested as much in the post that included the transcript of the comments as well. But now? Yeah… not that I was ever really serious… but, uh… I don’t really think that it was.

More to the point, though, Zaun actually kind of nailed it, displaying a little of the occasionally Saber-esque common sense stuff that first made him endearing as an analyst in the process. At least, by my reckoning he did. And his criticism of Arencibia’s “warped sense of reality” when it comes to his I’m a “run producer” nonsense, and the way that the Jays’ catcher went about broaching the subject in public, was actually rather elegant. Y’know, for Zaun.

Here’s the transcript:

ZAUN: I think his perception of my analysis is that I’ve somehow forgotten how hard it was to play the game in the three years since I retired. Unfortunately for him, I remember how easy it was for me to do certain things– catch the baseball, block it, make it stay right in front of me. I had my ups and downs with throwing the baseball based on surgeries, but he doesn’t really have that excuse just yet. You know, I’ve been a proponent of his in a lot of ways.

McCOWN: You were a defender of his when I was critical of him at the beginning.

ZAUN: No doubt. I always take an honest look at the catchers. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m hard on guys. I mean, I expect a lot out of a guy– and the first thing I expect him to be able to do is catch the baseball. So, when a guy leads the league in passed balls year after year, it’s embarrassing, and it’s not right. And I know this guy has so much more in him than we’ve seen.

McCOWN: Analytically, why is this guy not getting it? Do you think his work ethic is weak?

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Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays

Hilariously awesome and deliciously unnecessary stuff went sailing out of the mouth of J.P. Arencibia this morning, and through the speakers of sports talk radio listeners throughout the GTA, as he appeared on the Fan 590 (audio here) and, as promised, fired blasts at players-turned-broadcasters Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst.

Maybe it’s all a WWF-like* put-on or something. That, frankly, would be about the only reasonable explanation for a struggling ballplayer to even fucking bother– and to drag teammate Melky Cabrera under the bus in the process– but I somehow don’t think that’s the case.

Being given the chance to deliver on his promise of shit-talk on this morning’s Brady and Lang, here’s where Arencibia somewhat stunningly went:

I think it’s very unfortunate that the fans have to hear those guys talk as much as they do, because, I know, speaking for myself and for the team, that there’s not one person in our clubhouse that respects those guys. Because they’re informing the fans the wrong way, and it’s not right. And I think, one) not a lot of us, including myself, respect a person that used performance enhancing drugs and, you know, was able to stick around as a below average player in the Major Leagues. And those who do it without that– I know I’ve worked my entire career. I’ve worked hard. I’ve never done anything, I’ve never put anything in my body, and I go out there and bust my butt every day. It’s not an easy game. And I think sometimes people forget that.

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2008 Baltimore Orioles Photo Day

The Jays quietly made a rather interesting move on Sunday, signing former Orioles (and Reds, and Padres, and Moneyball-era A’s) catcher Ramon Hernandez to a minor league deal and, according to a tweet from Shi Davidi, assigning him to Buffalo.

Now, I’m not going to take too seriously the thoughts in my head that Hernandez, who was below replacement level in 52 games last year with the Rockies, might actually be better than the current incumbent at the position, but… well… this line from MLB Trade Rumors kind of stuck out to me:

The Dodgers acquired the 37-year-old from the Rockies back in April in exchange for Aaron Harang. The backstop saw only 55 plate appearances for Los Angeles, batting .208/.291/.438.

J.P. Arencibia is batting .219/.247/.427.

No, I don’t think it’s remotely plausible that the Jays would consider replacing their starting catcher mid-season with a 37-year-old from outside the organization. But… Hernandez, who over two seasons put up 4.3 WAR for the Reds in 2010 and 2011, miiiiiiiiight actually be the organization’s best catcher.

If that sounds more like an indictment of Arencibia than it is lauding of this hidden gem discarded by the shitty Dodgers, that’s because it is. But seriously! Since Arencibia has been in the league (2010), in a comparable number of plate appearances (931 for Hernandez, 1186 for JPA), Hernandez has provided double the value by FanGraphs’ WAR and out wOBA’d the player ten years his junior by 25 points (a respectable-for-a-catcher .326 for him, versus a declining-by-the-year .301 mark for young Aaron Cibia).

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Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers

It’s a game of adjustments, they say, and the Jays seem determined to keep making them with their players when things aren’t working well. And why wouldn’t they? They’ve seen their changes work to dramatic effect in recent years, from Jose Bautista to Edwin Encarnacion, from Adam Lind to Colby Rasmus, we think. And now– perhaps– to Esmil Rogers and J.P. Arencibia, as well.

The former, Esmil Rogers, I tend to believe in.

John Lott of the National Post writes about how the reborn starter has begun throwing a sinker– something I noted in last night’s Game Threat– with great success. Jeff Blair also spoke about the pitcher’s new weapon on this afternoon’s edition of Baseball Central, explaining to Dirk Hayhurst that it came from none other than Pat Hentgen.

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