I think about baseball a lot. Like, too much, probably. It’s the main reason that three years into a Master’s degree, I’m still toiling away ever so slowly on the completion of my thesis. You see, baseball is just far more interesting than anything else. Period.

A few days ago, while “writing my thesis” I was thinking about J.P. Arencibia and prospect catcher Travis D’Arnaud. D’Arnaud, acquired in the Roy Halladay deal from Philadelphia, has moulded himself into one of the very best prospects in the game. Arencibia, meanwhile, has become a decent young catcher, but one that seems to have a lot of trouble playing defense and a lot of trouble getting on base.

Allow me to indulge in some completely baseless speculation for a minute.

Last season in AA-New Hampshire, D’Arnaud was outstanding. He hit .311/.371/.542 with 21 home runs and a .402 wOBA in his age 22 season. It was a breakout offensive year for him and although some of that was likely buoyed by a suspiciously high .365 BABIP, it’s clear that D’Arnaud can hit. He also grades out as an above-average defensive catcher; something Arencibia will never be able to lay claim to.

For comparison’s sake, Arencibia was also in his age 22 season when he played in AA-New Hampshire back in 2008. He posted a .282/.302/.496 slash line with a .348 wOBA in 67 games that year before moving up to AAA the following season.

D’Arnaud will start 2012 at AAA-Las Vegas and is likely to see Major League time at some point this year. If he comes at all as advertised, he will quickly supplant Arencibia as the ‘catcher of the future’ which leaves the Jays with somewhat of a decision to make.

Arencibia should continue to improve given that he’s only 26 and even if his OBP leaves something to be desired, a catcher with his kind of power is always going to have some value.  But, do the Jays believe enough in Arencibia sticking as a viable everyday catcher to consider trading D’Arnaud for some Major League pieces, or do they let Arencibia accumulate more value in 2012 and then trade him next offseason to make way for D’Arnaud? A lot of this hinges on the continued positive development of D’Arnaud, but if I were a betting man, I’d be willing to put money on Arencibia playing for some other Major League organization in 2013.

And the “news”:

According to Jerry Crasnick, the Blue Jays, along with the Mariners, Reds and Mets are “keeping tabs” on free agent lefthander Jeff Francis. Let’s hope “keeping tabs” means making sure no delusional front office member even considers actually pursuing him. It’s not as if I don’t like Francis, but something about an 84 MPH fastball in the AL East makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Speaking of players the Jays might be sort of, kind of interested in, the Oakland A’s are reportedly “muy interesados” in Manny Being Manny. When news first broke of Ramirez’s possible return, the A’s immediately jumped to mind as a team who would be interested, given other teams might be undervaluing him and he could be had for very little.

Rangers part owner Bob Simpson says he would prefer his team re-sign Josh Hamilton rather than sign Prince Fielder. This is roughly why owners shouldn’t meddle in front office affairs.

The Giants and arbitration eligible ace Tim Lincecum are making “progress toward a deal” according to Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury-News. The duration of the contract the two sides are discussing is unknown, but they both appear to have common ground on the financial figure for one or two years. Lincecum is under team control until after the 2013 season and is expected to make a record amount of money for a player with less than six years of service time.

The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona was outed following a hush money dispute with the real Fausto Carmona. This story seems to bring out the worst in uninformed nonsense from the internets. People would like to somehow blame Carmona/Heredia and question his character, but he is merely the result of a system that takes advantage of the poverty experienced by some players who are signed in Latin America. MLB and player agents in the Dominican are far more to blame.

The Washington Nationals have reportedly signed outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse to a two-year contract extension worth $10.5-million. The deal buys out Morse’s two remaining arbitration years.

The Clevelands have acquired starting pitcher Kevin Slowey from the Colorado Rockies for minor league pitcher Zach Putnam. Slowey was acquired earlier this offseason by the Rockies from the Twins for pitcher Daniel Turpen. I’ve always seen Slowey as somewhat of an underrated pitcher; he’s routinely among the league leaders in walk-rate and any pitcher who does that has a lot of value.

Crashburn Alley is simply put, one of the best baseball blogs on the internets. Whether you’re a Phillies’ fan or not, it’s worth checking out on daily basis. Yesterday, Crashburn’s main author Bill Baer looked at the relative value of third baseman Placido Polanco and came to the conclusion that the Phillies could do much worse.

Did you know that Charlie Furbush posted a higher K-rate than Edwin Jackson, a lower walk-rate than David Price and a lower xFIP than Chad Billingsley? Jeff Sullivan from Lookout Landing examines Charlie Furbush as a possible rotation candidate for the 2012 Mariners.

Comments (9)

  1. I’m not so sure Arencibia going to improve: with such a high strikeout rate, it’s highly possible that any benefit he gets from having more experience is overshadowed by pitchers having more experience with him, and thus being able to pick the holes in his swing apart. When playing the “make adjustments” game, he’s got one hand tied behind his back. And it’s not like he’s got some crazy high ceiling that everyone figures he’s going to achieve eventually…last year is pretty much what you’d expect from him in the bigs looking at the rest of the career (with one big exception when he was outclassing AAA).

    • Even still, I think he’d bring a respectable haul in a trade, given his plus power.(Not that you were saying otherwise, but still…)
      Next offseason, if all goes well with D’Arnaud’s development, we’ll be in a pretty good position to make a big trade to fill holes, as we’ll be able to offer big league ready catching in return.

  2. “It’s the main reason that three years into a Master’s degree, I’m still toiling away ever so slowly on the completion of my thesis.”

    Lol. You and me both!

  3. I think it is interesting to think they will trade him.

    We are still on a wait and see if Adam Lind can play 1st base healthy and fit for a whole season. And perhaps Between Lind and Arencibia there might be a productive 1st base or Dh duo. The Power and run producing seems to be legit for JP and that may be enough to qualify as DH with full time AB’s.

  4. i say trade d’arnaud, simply because he will bring back the bigger haul. jpa is a passable catcher who has good pop and great chemistry with the pitchers. back him up with a catch-first guy and see if d’arnaud can bring a middle of the order bat or a top of the rotation pitcher.

  5. Be careful of prospect porn. D’arnaud could just as easily be another Travis Snider. We don’t know enough yet to be making moves based on minor league stats and “tools”

  6. “three years into a Master’s degree” is the saddest thing I’ve read on this blog since Parkes’ commentary on the Jose Bautista extension.

  7. What’s your masters degree on? I come from a science background and it’s kind of simple about what sort of thesis you can write. But what about English studies? I’m interested.

    Also, I like your style of writing. You should write more on this blog. I like Slowey too, except he gives up homeruns like a mofo. Other than that your analysis of him is spot-on as far as baseball fans are concerned.

    I hope d’Arnaud is everything we hope he is. JPA can be left off the hook.

    • Well it should be said that I’ve had other obstacles in the way of my finishing; I essentially had to take 14 months off and change my thesis topic half way through. My degree is in communications & social justice. I’m studying media coverage of public sector unions. It’s potentially a precursor to law school for labour law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *