Olney On Blue Jays, Epstein, Dodgers, Padres

The Blue Jays have J.P. Arencibia catching at the Major League level and top prospect Travis d'Arnaud could be MLB-ready within the year. It seems like a good problem to have for Toronto, but other teams view the Blue Jays’ depth as a possible opportunity, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports… 

  • Teams have asked about Arencibia and d’Arnaud in trade talks, Olney writes. However, it’s very possible that the Blue Jays will keep both unless they’re completely overwhelmed by an offer. D’Arnaud is slated for more minor league seasoning while Jeff Mathis backs Arencibia up, so the Blue Jays don’t have to make a decision any time soon.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has a bonus in his contract that resembles the conclusion bonus he had with the Red Sox, Olney writes. Epstein also has standard bonuses for team success.
  • Steve Cohen made an impressive presentation in his bid for the Dodgers, Olney hears.
  • The Padres love what they see in outfield prospect Rymer Liriano.


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51 Comments on "Olney On Blue Jays, Epstein, Dodgers, Padres"


jb226
3 years 4 months ago

Bonuses for team success sound like a good idea but they’re not, particularly not at the President of Baseball Operations level.  That is the man who is supposed to have a long-term outlook for the franchise; incentivizing current success puts a long-term vision at conflict with personal enrichment and that is seldom a good idea.

If–if!–a franchise wanted to incentivize current team success it should be at the GM level, and then you let the conflict be tempered by his boss’ (whether a President or the owner) long-term look.

This is not meant to be a commentary on Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer.  Maybe they are both the rare type who can put personal interest aside for the good of their franchise.  They’ve certainly got the team pointing in the right direction, even if the finish line is a long way off.  Still, it’s a poor policy that I would like to see done away with.  Let their success be incentivized by the prospects of a longer, more lucrative contract (extension).

3 years 4 months ago

Unless they’re planning on jumping ship, they have no reason to put short-term success over long-term success. They’d just be guaranteeing themselves that they won’t have a job in the future if they make decisions that are detrimental to long-term success.

Furthermore, the Cubs are nowhere near contending right now, so you don’t have to worry about him making short-term decisions. If he wants to reach those bonuses, he’s got a lot of work and long-term decisions to make to eventually get to a point where he can earn those bonuses.

jb226
3 years 4 months ago

“Unless they’re planning on jumping ship, they have no reason to put short-term success over long-term success.”

That depends on your definition of short term and long term, I suppose.  Average GM tenure is not terribly long, and often is a factor outside of their control.  E.g., they put together a good team that underperforms a couple of years in a row.

More importantly, GMs are typically judged on short-term success.  With the exception of constantly-rebuilding teams like the Royals or A’s, being awful for four years doesn’t tend to illicit the response “but gosh is he doing a great job setting them up for 2017!”  There is already an incentive toward short-term success in terms of keeping one’s job (which is, as an aside, why a position similar to President of Baseball Operations can be so valuable).  Adding a financial incentive to it only makes it a simpler decision.

It’s not about “jumping ship,” it’s about maximizing what often ends up being relatively short-term career stints.  Better chance of keeping your job, better reception from fans and media, and a chance at more money instead of hoping everybody understands where you’re going years down the road?  I don’t see a value in providing that kind of temptation. Are we saying GMs don’t want to build winning teams as much if you don’t waive money under their noses? Because I wouldn’t be able to buy that.

“They’d just be guaranteeing themselves that they won’t have a job in the future”

Lots of GMs have a job in the future, but if you’re referring to another GM job you’re right.  However that is also a crapshoot.  There are only 30 of these jobs in existence, and even if you did a good job on balance you have to compete with every other former GM who wants to come back plus every up-and-coming GM candidate, which is probably even larger than the past GM grouping.  You also have the uphill slog of proving you’re as up-to-date on new trends in baseball analysis as that 30 year old assistant GM.  MLB GMs have been getting younger in the past decade or so and that’s not accidental.

Further, most GMs who get fired don’t end up being offered GM jobs again.  The Kevin Towers’ and Walt Jockety’s are the exception, not the rule.  It’s all the more reason to be concerned with keeping your job, and the easiest way to do that is to have a good team — not three years from now, but now.

“Furthermore, the Cubs are nowhere near contending right now, so you don’t have to worry about him making short-term decisions.”

Which is precisely why I said it was not a commentary on Theo or Jed and complimented them on getting the team heading in the right direction in one partial offseason.  I’m not worried about either of them personally.  I object to the very concept and object even more strongly to the notion of “standard bonuses for team success.”

imachainsaw
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think a bonus works or is meant to work as incentive. That’s like saying “hey if you’re not willing to pay me a little more then I’m probably not gonna try as hard to put together a winning team”

$22264602
3 years 4 months ago

Ahh to have prospects on top of prospects , such a nice luxury for once.

3 years 4 months ago

Once again I say that, Arencibia will be the DH, and D’arnaud would be the catcher, as Edwin Encarnacion’s contract is done by the end of the season, or, they trade Lind in the off season as part of a big move, resign EE, and either train Arencibia to play 1B, or let him DH and EE play 1st. A lot of options available for Arencibia to play everyday.

3 years 4 months ago

Arencibia is not anything close to an AL East DH at this point.  

He is currently a one tool player.  

Expecting him to advance that much in one year is asking a lot. He may never have the bat or eye to play such a role.

JMoore9
3 years 4 months ago

What did you expect for his rookie year? MVP numbers? Give your head a shake.

jjs91
3 years 4 months ago

Probably an obp of at least .300…

3 years 4 months ago

pretty sure JPA’s bat doesn’t play at DH (at least not at this point).

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 4 months ago

It really doesn’t play anywhere except at the catching position. Even if his OBP improves, would we want to see an .800 OPS at 1B? I suppose it’s an upgrade over Lind, but that’s another problem..

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Arencibia is not all that great. As Jason said, he is basically a one tool player. Power. He has no eye at the plate as his lack of walks indicate(and they were pretty much the same in the minors) and he barely hit his weight (210lbs) last year with .219. The Jays would be better served trading JP this year while his stock is still highish and using D’arnaud.

3 years 4 months ago

come on, give the guy a little slack, it was his first year in the majors as a catcher. 

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Well Jon that is correct. But he had a full season and only had a .283 OBP. And he only had a minor league OBP of .319 so it doesn’t bode well for him to be even major league average at getting on base. Will he be serviceable? Probably, but if he doesn’t show a better eye at the plate his hr will be closer to 15 than 23 and he will be less valuable. I am simply suggesting that the Jays sell high and go with the better player.

Coollet
3 years 4 months ago

He had to worry about screwing defensively (not his strength), he had alot on his plate…being behind the plate. He did alright and i imagine he’ll do better this year at both now that he’s more comfortable and knows the staff better.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

So what you are saying is that he is bad defensively and offensively. That’s one you build around.

Coollet
3 years 4 months ago

His defensive game was his focus last year and his offense may have suffered. Now thats he’s comfortable defensively, he may now focus offensively.

Geez, the guy was a rookie in one of the hardest position in the sport, he’ll get better.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

I just have my doubts he will. He just does not have the tools to get on base. I think Travis is your better bet.

Coollet
3 years 4 months ago

I agree, Travis will be great (hopefully) but i dont think JP’s stock is as low as you think it is.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Below average catcher who can’t get on base. I don’t think it’s as high as you think it is. But he could prove me wrong.

Coollet
3 years 4 months ago

hope he does, no offence

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

None taken. I don’t actively root against anyone…unless they are Yankees.

cyberboo
3 years 4 months ago

Hey Jon, everyone writing here is a here and now and what did you do for me lately type.  If they actually had a clue, they would know that Arencibia outhit Posey, Ramos, plus everyone else in the PCL and was the MVP, not one of the others.  They would also know that he takes one year to learn the league, before he blossoms into a .300 hitter, with 30 homer – 100 RBI capablilities.  As usual, no one cares that AA asked him to work on defense in 2011, NOT OFFENSE, and since he still broke the record for Jay catchers home runs, the guy deserves a little respect.  As it was said, he was a rookie and even A-gon, Fielder, plus many other players didn’t do squat until their third year and look at them now.  If idiots expect a guy to hit .400, with 50 home runs, 150 RBI’s and an OPS of over 1.000 in their rookie year, they are following the wrong sport because it has NEVER been accomplished in over 120 years.

ellisburks
1 year 7 months ago

I know this is 2 years later but I guess I was right!

JMoore9
3 years 4 months ago

You aren’t actually judging him after one year are you?

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

I am judging him after one year. One very bad year. The only good thing he did was hit homers. And they have an equal if not better player coming up.

ellisburks
1 year 7 months ago

I am now judging him after 3 years. .212/.258/.408 and off the Jays and with the Rangers as a back up catcher. I guess sometimes I am correct.

Jaysfan724
3 years 4 months ago

I’ll take 23 Homers and 78 RBIs from a bottom of the order rookie catcher any day.  Even if it means it comes with a .219 average.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Yeah that’s what he had the first time around the league. I would imagine that won’t happen again.

Jaysfan724
3 years 4 months ago

You can say that about any young player though.  He can equally perform just as greater than he could just as worse.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Yeah, but his starting point is lower than most young players. If he gets better then super, if he stagnates or gets worse he is gone and Mathis is your starting catcher. That is scary.

3 years 4 months ago

Have you ever heard of a metric called OPS+?  Check it out sometime.  It shows that with the league-wide decline in hitting, in 2011 a player with Arencibia’s numbers was not much below average overall as a hitter.  A catcher who is almost a league-average hitter in his rookie season with the raw power that Arencibia has is a pretty valuable commodity; not one you try to unload before your true catcher of the future has even shown he can hit at the major league level.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

Jp had an OPS+ of 90. 100 being average. He is well below average. He is not good and I don’t see him being much more than average if he is at all. I just think they should unload him and go with Travis in 2013. 

3 years 4 months ago

Mathis will never be the starting catcher for the Jays. I really don’t see Arencibia ever carrying a high OBP but 30 HR and an 800 OPS is not out of the question.

jedicouncil
3 years 4 months ago

what exactly are you looking for in a rookie catcher????  howard`s power, ichiro`s avg and bautista`s obp???   

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

At least.

jedicouncil
3 years 4 months ago

good to see someone else has common sense, very decent numbers for a rookie catcher….should only get better the next few years.

Dev0
3 years 4 months ago

d’Arnaud’s stock this year is going to soar while playing in Vegas, he is going to look like twice the monster he already is.

3 years 4 months ago

Major League general managers aren’t this stupid anymore.

nebelski
3 years 4 months ago

Arencibia or d’Arnaud to Pittsburgh!  SS, C, and 1B are long-term concerns for the Pirates with several average/potentially above average 1B options (Jones, Hague, Curry, Dickerson) and acceptable SS options (Barmes, d’Arnaud, Navarro, Mercer, maybe Harrison).  C is the biggest Q-mark.  After Barajas… McKenry?  Fryer?  Sanchez?  Not so sure about them. 

If Pitt is going to spend big on an acquisition, Catcher seems like the biggest potential for improvement and those two are exciting!

Coollet
3 years 4 months ago

What would they give in return?

Gumby65
3 years 4 months ago

Olney…  Hears….  too much.

3 years 4 months ago

All you prospect pr0n types are forgetting one pretty important distinction between Arencibia and D’Arnaud: Arencibia has shown he can hit ML pitching at an acceptable level for a starting catcher, and that was in his rookie season.  D’Arnaud comes with a ton of hype and projectability, but so do a ton of prospects who flame out once they get to the majors.  You may project that D’Arnaud will succeed at the next level, but you can’t assume it.

vilifyingforce
3 years 4 months ago

 Define “acceptable level”, he showed quite a bit of power and that’s it. He needs to improve if he wants to avoid being a journeyman floater.

Beersy
3 years 4 months ago

The only thing not to love about 20 year old Rymer Liriano is if his name isn’t Rymer Liriano and he isn’t 20 years old.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think his stock will get much higher though so maybe they would be selling at a plateau. And I know they won’t be trading him this year but after 2012 they should let him go. 

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

I meant during the offseason, not before the season started. Sorry about not being clear.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

.282OBP for anyone is hardly a good year.

ellisburks
3 years 4 months ago

I mean when his stock is at it’s highest. Meaning it won’t get much better but it could get worse. Trade him after this season and bring up Travis. I see JP’s ceiling at about .240/.300/.430ish.
And OBP is not one stat. It takes in hits, walks and HBP which shows how good a player is at getting on base which is the primary thing. You don’t get on, you don’t score. 

3 years 4 months ago

far more likely that JPA’s stock goes up this year IMO. there are a couple of reasons to think he might hit better. for one thing his BABIP was quite low, and i think some regression there should push his OBP north of .300. he isnt awful at taking walks, more like slightly below average. he also allegedly struggled with a wrist injury though the back half of the season. 

TtDsufc
3 years 4 months ago

 Wasn’t his wrist, but a dislocated/broken thumb that pretty much crippled him for a month (June) and he didn’t really ever recover from last year.  You could see the difference just watching him after the injury, and I remain shocked that the Jays let him play with that thumb bandaged up for half a season.