Archive for the ‘Catching Conundrum’ Category


Jim Bowden tweeted out the following clip from his MLB Network Radio show on SiriusXM today, featuring the Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski talking about how he landed in Boston as a free agent.

He also talks about some clubhouse chemistry bullshit that I’m sure commenter RADAR will seize on and try to point to as some kind of hard proof that magical warm fuzzy feelings create winning, without the foggiest grasp of the whole correlation=/=causation thing, but that’s not important!

What’s important is, though we already knew this stuff, at the beginning of the interview Pierzynski lays out in pretty plain terms many of the reasons that the Jays seem to find the free agent market so discouraging.

I’ll transcribe the relevant comments, and then groan about them, after the jump– which is also where you’ll find the clip!

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This would seem to make perfect sense given the Jays’ signing of Dioner Navarro today, but just to be all official-like, according to the latest from Rogers Centre on the Rogers-owned Blue Jays from Shi Davidi of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet, the club’s newest signing will, indeed, be their starting catcher in 2014. Further to that, his addition to the roster means the end of the J.P. Arencibia era– officially now, as well.

To wit:

Three sources told that general manager Alex Anthopoulos will non-tender the 27-year-old ahead of Monday’s midnight deadline if a trade partner doesn’t emerge.

The possibility of that happening wasn’t clear, as interest in Arencibia was described by one source as minimal, although a suitor might try to snag him before he hits free agency.

. . .

Navarro, once he passes a physical, will take over the starting duties with Josh Thole serving as the backup and primarily handling knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Prospect A.J. Jimenez, recovering from a nerve issue in his surgically repaired right elbow, should be fine for spring training and right now is the insurance behind that duo.

It’s maybe a bit strange that the club would so openly announce their intentions with Arencibia, but surely that speaks to the limited market there is for him– or maybe just the fact that other clubs knew as well as we did that there was no way the situation could continue with him on the roster.

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Awww, were you actually worried that the Jays didn’t see the complete and utter uselessness of J.P. Arencibia staring them in the face and swinging through pitch after bloody blockable-by-anyone-but-him pitch all summer?

Yeah… they noticed.

To wit:

“Dioner is served!” to quote Twitter’s @TheMattRoss.

Jon Heyman tweets the details, telling us that the commitment from the Jays just $8-million over two years– and if you think about it, with Arencibia projected at $2.8-million this year, and another year of full-time duty likely to push him to the $5-million range during his next trip through arbitration, the money is a wash.

So… that’ll do! And holy shit, the day is just getting started. After all, with 5 PM midnight ET being the deadline for clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible and pre-arb players, among whom Arencibia is counted, it would seem a certainty that another shoe is yet to drop here. There would be no point in the club paying ol’ J.P.A. what he will likely earn next year, so he’s almost certain to be dealt somewhere before the deadline, unless the Jays find absolutely no takers, in which case he’ll likely be non-tendered and join the grim list of remaining free agent catchers.

Oh, and there are sure to be other delights, as our pal Drew Fairservice notes:

Ahhh, good times. But OK, let’s move on, you say? We got our fill of J.P. bashing all effing summer, you say? Just what are the Jays getting in Navarro, you ask? Well…

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I guess it maybe makes sense when it’s a guy who could still potentially return to his old club, but I completely don’t get some of the terminology that gets thrown around at this time of year– the horse race-like “frontrunner” stuff when we know nothing about what anybody is even offering to make us believe they “lead” in the “chase” for some player, or what we’ve got tonight from Jon Heyman at CBS Sports, where the Jays, Twins, or Rockies might “steal” Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the “incumbent” Red Sox.

Is that really what’s going on? Or are these just teams that supposedly have some interest in a free agent who the Red Sox may not quite see the value in, seeing as– as Heyman points out– they’ve got “some decent catching prospects on the way, especially Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.”

In fact, Heyman full-on acknowledges that the “Jays have checked in, but the extent of their interest is uncertain.”

So… what are we learning here, exactly? Pretty much nothing. The small number of teams still looking for a starting catcher, I guess?

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Hey, how’d this get here???

I don’t usually bother putting together a full post about every little rumour that doesn’t directly involve the Jays– though that’s quite possibly a lie, actually– which is why it’s fortunate tonight, I suppose, that MLBTR has done me the favour of throwing the Jays’ name into the mix in their post about this Peter Gammons tweet that you may have noticed I retweeted this afternoon:

MLBTR explains:

The Blue Jays have been said to be in the market for a catcher, as have the Twins, in light of the news that Joe Mauer’s days behind the plate are done and he will be a first baseman going forward. The Rays don’t figure to be in the mix after reaching an agreement with Jose Molina over the weekend.

We know that the Rockies have been looking for a catcher as well, and surely there are other clubs who could be in the market as well (what am I, Google?), but it certainly could be the Jays who are the club that’s closing in his signature. I mean… possibly? Right?

And if so, that’s pretty OK.

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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?

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I’m on the record– assuming that Twitter counts as “the record”– as not being particularly enamoured with Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan. The Jays, on the other hand, may not feel the same way. They’ve inquired about him, according to a piece from earlier in the week at Sportsnet from Shi Davidi, and with Devin Mesoraco and now Brayan Pena now in place behind the plate for Cincinnati, it seems certain that Hanigan’s name has entered a grim looking catching market.

Buster Olney thinks so too:

Now, a statement like that could just be posturing from the Reds, or a hopeful attempt to get some of Hanigan’s suitors to up their offer, but… maybe?

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