J.P. Arencibia Rumors

Minor Moves: Arencibia, Kouzmanoff

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Catcher J.P. Arencibia and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff have elected free agency rather than accepting outright assignments with the Rangers, Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest reports on Twitter. The pair was set to reach free agency anyway, but will be eligible to test the market now rather than waiting until after the World Series.

Rangers Outright J.P. Arencibia, Kevin Kouzmanoff

The Rangers announced today that they have outrighted catcher J.P. Arencibia, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, infielder Guilder Rodriguez, outfielder Engel Beltre, right-hander Wilmer Font and left-hander Pedro Figueroa off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Round Rock. Both Kouzmanoff and Arencibia are eligible to become free agents, and will likely do just that. The moves drop the Rangers’ 40-man roster to 37, as three of the players (Beltre, Kouzmanoff and Figueroa) all had to be activated from the 60-day DL in order to be outrighted.

Arencibia, previously of Blue Jays fame, hit .177/.239/.369 in 222 plate appearances for Texas this year, appearing at both catcher and first base. His .196/.263/.427 batting line following a recall from the minors and a shift to first base was an improvement over his numbers while serving as a catcher, but his 28 percent strikeout clip this past season was still troubling.

Kouzmanoff was outstanding in 13 games for Texas before hitting the 60-day DL due to a back injury that required surgery. The former Padre/Athletic hit .362/.412/.617 with a pair of homers in 51 trips to the plate as he filled in for a then-injured Adrian Beltre.

Beltre spent the entire season on the DL as he recovered from surgery on each of his legs, and Figueroa saw just 10 games of action before going down to Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez was a feel-good story that made his big league debut and collected two hits after 13 seasons in the minors. Font didn’t pitch in the Majors this season and underwent elbow surgery in August before being designated for assignment last week when the team claimed Alfredo Figaro from the Brewers.


Rangers Designate Carlos Pena For Assignment

The Rangers announced that they have designated first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment. That move, along with yesterday’s trade of Jason Frasor to the Royals, clears 40-man and 25-man roster spots for Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia — both of whom will be added to the big league roster.

The veteran Pena batted .136/.190/.237 in 63 plate appearances for Texas after having his contract selected from Triple-A Round Rock. The 36-year-old had signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, who have lost first basemen Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland for the season due to injuries.

Soto will be activated from the 60-day disabled list and make his season debut for the Rangers sometime in the team’s upcoming three-game series against the Blue Jays. Arencibia, meanwhile, is a bit of an interesting story. The 28-year-old struggled tremendously with the Rangers earlier this season and was outrighted off the 40-man back in May after clearing waivers. However, he’s now picked up some experience at first base with Round Rock, and as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter), that’s where the Rangers will use him this time around.



Rangers Outright J.P. Arencibia Off 40-Man Roster

After originally optioning struggling catcher J.P. Arencibia, the Rangers have outrighted him off of the club’s 40-man roster, according to the PCL transactions page. Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported yesterday via Twitter that Arencibia had cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A.

The 28-year-old Arencibia has continued the decline he showed last year before being non-tendered by the Blue Jays and inking a one-year, $1.8MM deal with Texas. He carries a .133/.182/.233 line through 66 plate appearances this season, with just one home run. While Arencibia struggled to get on base even at his best, his .225/.279/.437 triple-slash (and 41 home runs) over 2011-12 was good for a 91 OPS+. He has been a sub-replacement-level player since.


West Links: Guerrero, Dodgers, A’s, Arencibia

Dodgers infield prospect Alex Guerrero could miss up to five weeks after having part of his ear bitten off in an altercation with Triple-A teammate Miguel Olivo, reports Danny Knobler of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Agent Scott Boras told Knobler that Guerrero was taken to a hospital and had plastic surgery on the ear. GM Ned Colletti wouldn’t comment on potentially disciplining either player, though he expressed disappointment in the situation. Colletti said Guerrero is close to Major League ready, though the team wants him to continue to improve defensively. Obviously, that development will be on hold for awhile. As we process one of the most bizarre storylines in recent memory, here’s more from the game’s Western divisions…

  • The timing of the Guerrero/Olivo scuffle couldn’t be much worse for Guerrero or the Dodgers, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick writes that Juan Uribe could be headed to the DL. Gurnick looks at alternatives on the 40-man roster but also notes that with the Dodgers needing a roster spot for Hyun-jin Ryu, the team may not call up an infielder right away.
  • MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince points out that the Athletics‘ only two homegrown (i.e. drafted and developed) players on the current active roster are Sonny Gray and Sean Doolittle. The team signed Yoenis Cespedes after he defected from Cuba, every other player was acquired via trade or signed as a free agent from another club. Castrovince looks at the team’s offense and their usage of platoons, which led rival skipper Terry Francona to sing the praises of manager Bob Melvin.
  • Rangers catcher J.P. Arencibia has been optioned to Triple-A Round Rock, and the team has purchased the contract of veteran Chris Gimenez, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweeted last night. Arencibia signed a one-year deal with Texas after being non-tendered by Toronto last winter, but he batted just .133/.182/.233 in 66 PA. No team has gotten less offense from the catcher position than Texas this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them pursue upgrades on the trade market.

Rangers Sign J.P. Arencibia

TUESDAY: The Rangers have announced Arencibia's deal via press release, making it official.

FRIDAY, 1:44pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Arencibia will earn $1.8MM in 2014 and has an additional $300K worth of incentives in his deal (Twitter link).

12:44pm: Arencibia will receive roughly $2MM on a one-year deal, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

11:26am: The Rangers have reached an agreement with free agent catcher J.P. Arencibia, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Sulia link). Reports last night indicated that the Rangers were nearing a deal with the CAA Sports client.

Arencibia will presumably back up Geovany Soto in Texas. Arencibia hit just .194/.227/.365 in 2013 and is unlikely to ever hit for much of an average, but with his power, he can be effective if he bats above .215 or so, as he did in 2011 and 2012. He has 62 home runs in the past three seasons, and hitting in Arlington should help him maintain that level of power. Though he has his warts, Arencibia was one of the game's top pitch-framing catchers in 2013 — an undervalued element of catchers' skill sets.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.


Rangers Moving Toward Deal With J.P. Arencibia

Catcher J.P. Arencibia and the Rangers are moving in the direction of striking a deal, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes (on Twitter). The Rangers reportedly were close to trading for Arencibia before the Blue Jays non-tendered him. Earlier this week, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers would have been willing to make the trade if Arencibia had agreed to a contract that would have avoided arbitration. MLBTR estimated that Arencibia would have made $2.8MM in the arbitration process, so his deal with the Rangers, assuming it happens, will likely be for less than that.

Arencibia will presumably back up Geovany Soto in Texas. Arencibia hit just .194/.227/.365 in 2013 and is unlikely to ever hit for much of an average, but with his power, he can be effective if he bats above .215 or so, as he did in 2011 and 2012. He has 62 home runs in the past three seasons, and hitting in Arlington should help him add to that total.


AL West Notes: Rangers, Arencibia, Kazmir, Hughes, Mariners

Here's the latest from the American League West:

  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels says the club is still looking for a durable backup catcher, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Though the recent spate of catcher moves took away some hypothetical options, Daniels said that "nobody has come off the board that we really pursued." Sullivan notes that Kurt Suzuki is one player in whom Texas has interest.
  • In looking to add a backstop, the Rangers were close to adding J.P. Arencibia via trade before he was non-tendered by the Blue Jays, Sullivan reports. But the club did not want to add Arencibia unless it could work out terms on a new deal, and ultimately that did not happen. He joins Suzuki as possible free agent options for Texas.
  • The Athletics' signing of left-handed starter Scott Kazmir to a two-year, $22MM deal kicked off a flurry of big moves for the A's. MLB.com's Jane Lee provides a summation of the considerations that brought him to Oakland, with Kazmir saying he loves the team and fan base and looks forward to throwing in the Coliseum. For GM Billy Beane, the club liked Kazmir's stuff, restored fastball velocity, overall body of work in 2013, and young age (29). Though Kazmir's up-and-down career trajectory might have scared off some clubs, Beane says that he views Kazmir's "character-building experience" of getting back to a high level of performance as a positive.
  • Before Phil Hughes decided to take a three-year deal with the Twins, the Angels made him an offer of a "nice one-year deal," reports Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted in discussing several of MLB's recent moves, baseball sources believe Hughes could have landed up to $9MM or $10MM on a one-year deal, though another source told Rosenthal that no offers of that magnitude had actually been made.
  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik declined to comment on whether or not the club is pursuing Robinson Cano, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, saying that the club is keeping its talks "in house" but has "a lot of dialogue going on a lot of fronts." Talking generally about offering long-term deals, Zduriencik indicated that the club prefers to minimize risk but must "adapt to the market." While saying he would "like to add three" bats to the club, the Mariners GM noted that the club would still also be interested in adding "another starting pitcher" or even another pen piece.
  • Ultimately, Zduriencik confirmed the widespread view that Seattle is looking to add impact to its roster. "It was a clear goal of ours to get us to a point where we would have young and inexpensive players throughout the line-up and I think we've accomplished that goal," said Zduriencik. "I always felt there would be a time where [we] would have to augment this club. I think we are at that time."

Blue Jays Non-Tender Arencibia

The Blue Jays have non-tendered catcher J.P. Arencibia, the club announced via press release. The club has tendered contracts to its remaining slate of arbitration-eligible players.

Arencibia, 27, was the Jays' primary catcher for the last three seasons, during which time he appeared in a total of 369 ballgames for the club. Last year, he put up a meager .194/.227/.365 line in 497 plate appearances. Though he has never shown an ability to get on base, he registered OPS figures above .700 in his two prior years of regular big league action, and has been good for around twenty home runs a season.

After Toronto signed Dioner Navarro, it seemed clear that Arencibia would play elsewhere in 2013. Surely, Toronto would have preferred to get some return on its young backstop, but presumably it was unable to find a taker.


Arencibia Will Be Traded Or Non-Tendered

3:09pm: The Jays are in active talks with at least one team currently, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

12:29pm: Toronto's agreement with Dioner Navarro on a two-year, $8MM contract earlier today immediately created speculation that J.P. Arencibia will be moved in advance of tonight's non-tender deadline, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the Blue Jays are indeed working to trade the powerful righty.

Arencibia's unsightly strikeout rates and walk totals are nothing new, but the former first-round pick sunk to new lows in both areas last season. Arencibia walked in a career-worst 3.6 percent of his plate appearances and whiffed in a career-high 29.8 percent of his trips to the plate. The resulting .194/.227/.365 batting line made Arencibia one of baseball's least-productive hitters in 2013, but MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects that his home run totals would net Arencibia $2.8MM via arbitration in 2014.

Meanwhile, three sources confirmed to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that if the Blue Jays aren't able to trade Arencibia by tonight's non-tender deadline, he will be non-tendered and hit free agency. One source described the interest in Arencibia as "minimal," writes Davidi. Arencibia does have power on his side, having averaged 21 homers per season over the past three years.