J.P. Arencibia Rumors
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.
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."
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.
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.
Mark DeRosa didn't stay unemployed for long. After the Blue Jays announced his retirement from baseball yesterday, the MLB Network announced that DeRosa will be coming aboard as a studio analyst. Here's more out of the AL East..
- There's mutual interest between the Yankees and Brendan Ryan and a deal could happen quickly, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The free agent doesn't offer much in the way of offensive firepower but he does boast a career 11.7 UZR/150 at the shortstop position.
- Multiple teams have expressed interest in Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, prompting the Blue Jays to explore the free agent catching market for a possible replacement, sources tell Rosenthal. The Jays have contacted all of the free agent catchers but have yet to make an offer, one source said.
- The Red Sox have not come to Mike Napoli with a contract offer since he rejected their one-year, $14.1MM qualifying offer, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. However, the Red Sox want to keep Napoli and the veteran would like to stay.
- Rays GM Andrew Friedman says that rather than committing to a true closer, he'll be searching out a reliever or two capable of handling late-inning, high-leverage duty, creating the possibility that Jake McGee or Joel Peralta will become the primary ninth-inning option, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- Friedman added that the Rays are looking externally for a first baseman and a catcher to pair with Jose Lobaton while keeping an eye on their own free agents James Loney and Jose Molina. They also aren't planning to go for a true DH, instead eyeing a rotation consisting primarily of outfielders David DeJesus, Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, and Wil Myers, plus possibly a player off the bench.
- Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter) would be shocked if the Orioles moved J.J. Hardy. Earlier today we learned that the O's discussed a deal involving Hardy with the Cardinals to get Shelby Miller, but St. Louis extinguished those talks pretty quickly.
- General Manager Brian Cashman has no delusions of Robinson Cano taking a hometown discount to stay with the Yankees, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. “He loves the money, but I think we’ll have a substantial offer,” Cashman said. “Somebody might come in and have a much more substantial offer. It’s just the way it works.”
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) proposes six trades for the Rays' David Price.
- Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke with reporters, including Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger, about the club's efforts to get under the $189MM tax threshold and the club's interest in Masahiro Tanaka.
- Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com wonders if the Marlon Byrd signing could hurt the Orioles. Yesterday, the Phillies agreed to sign Byrd to a two-year, $16MM deal.
Here's the latest on the Blue Jays, who look set for another busy offseason...
- The Jays have made inquiries about such catchers as Carlos Ruiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi reports. Davidi also suspects Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has checked in on Brian McCann, to boot.
- The Jays were known to be looking to improve behind the plate this winter and current catcher J.P. Arencibia has drawn trade interest from other teams. Davidi says there is some feeling that Arencibia has too much "accumulated baggage" in Toronto and might not reach his potential in a Blue Jay uniform. Arencibia is projected to earn $2.8MM as a first-time arbitration eligible player this winter and the Jays would certainly prefer getting something back for him in a trade than simply non-tendering him.
- Ervin Santana, Tim Hudson and Hiroki Kuroda have all received calls from the Blue Jays, Davidi reports, noting that Hudson and Kuroda probably don't have any mutual interest. Hudson is being courted by over 10 teams while Kuroda seems to be set on either re-signing with the Yankees, returning to pitch in Japan or retiring.
- Also from Davidi, Munenori Kawasaki could sign a new minor league deal with the Jays that would pay him more than the $600K base salary he earned last season.
- In another piece from Davidi, Melky Cabrera is looking much healthier and fit after a tumor was surgically removed from his spine, Anthopoulos said. Cabrera looks to be the Jays' everyday choice in left field, though obviously that could change if he suffers a setback in his rehabilitation.
- Rajai Davis is likely to leave the Jays for a team that can offer him more playing time, Davidi reports. The club's hope is that Anthony Gose or Moises Sierra can be a low-cost replacement for Davis as a backup outfielder.
- Sierra is out of options and "is a prime candidate to be shopped," MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes. Brad Lincoln could also be part of a trade package, as Chisholm breaks down possible scenarios for the Jays' nine out-of-options players.
Here are some news items looking ahead to what will surely be an eventful Blue Jays offseason...
- The Jays are under great pressure to improve in 2014 but have relatively little payroll space or minor league trade options to work with, and Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi warns that "operating under such need can often lead to poor choices." Davidi cites the Angels and Phillies as teams that have bloated payrolls and thin farm systems after making ill-advised moves to stay competitive, and he thinks there is potential for overspending on free agent pitchers who wouldn't necessarily represent the clear upgrade Toronto needs in their rotation.
- Speaking of pitching, GM Alex Anthopoulos told media (including The Toronto Star) that the rotation is "the most glaring hole on this team and that’s the most glaring area we need to address." What exact kinds of starters will be acquired, however, is still up in the air. “Can it be done with five mid-rotation starters? Would we be better off with two front-of-the-rotation guys and three guys that are five-hole or four-hole guys? ... I think it’s as much about guys who give you a chance to win games," Anthopoulos said.
- Anthopoulos also defended J.P. Arencibia, yet didn't give any hints either way if Arencibia would be brought back in 2014, simply saying "we need to upgrade the production" from the catcher's spot. Arencibia entered tonight's action hitting .194/.229/.365 with 21 homers in 490 PA and is on pace for one of the worst full-season OBP years in baseball history.
- Esmil Rogers was acquired as a reliever but was pressed back into service as a starter this season and hopes to continue in the rotation in 2014, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm writes. Rogers, 28, posted a 4.77 ERA, 2.18 K/BB and 6.3 K/9 over 44 games (20 of them starts) this season, and he is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.
- Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith examines the trade value for every member of the Blue Jays roster.
Jose Reyes ran the bases yesterday and today practiced taking double-play relays. The big question posed to GM Alex Anthopoulos, when he met with reporters before the Blue Jays' three-game winning streak ended with a 6-4 loss to the Rangers, was the timing of Reyes' return. "Our medical staff had said about 10 days or so, maybe a little bit less, but he’s certainly getting close and it’s great to see," Anthopoulos said (as quoted by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca). "Then it will be a question of how many at-bats is he going to need and how do his legs feel playing seven innings, nine innings, and so on. We’re definitely going to be anxious to have him back." Based on that timeline, Davidi speculates Reyes, on the disabled list since April 13 with a left ankle sprain, could begin his rehab June 19 and rejoin the Jays for the start of a four-game series in Boston June 27. In other Blue Jay notes:
- The injury news isn't as encouraging for Brett Lawrie, who is now wearing a protective boot to speed the healing of his high left ankle sprain. "I don't really have a timeline [for his return], because it just takes time to heal," said Anthopoulos (as quoted by MLB.com's Evan Peaslee). "Again, he's going to have to get back to running and all those kind of things. It's not as severe as Reyes, but it seems like it's certainly healing very slowly right now."
- Anthopoulos is taking a game-by-game approach with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who was signed Friday to a $500K contract, reports Davidi. "We hope he makes a lot of starts for us, but we don’t want to go in and promise x-number amount of starts," the GM said. "Hopefully, he does well and we catch lightning in a bottle with him. But he understands, his agent understands, that if things don’t work out, we have the right to turn the page."
- Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star feels the offseason moves made by Anthopoulos will only be judged as a total failure if he starts a firesale at the Trade Deadline and continues in the off-season to quickly turn some of his off-season acquisitions into prospects because he would invariably receive less in return than what he surrendered.
- Asked in a readers' mailbag about the possibility of trading slumping catcher J.P. Arencibia, Griffin writes this is one question the organization has to really think about moving forward, but there are no internal, minor-league options after trading away Travis d'Arnaud. If Arencibia (owner of a .220/.240/.436 line with 72 strikeouts and five walks in 225 plate appearances this year) were to be dealt, Griffin thinks it would only happen during the off-season when a quality replacement could be acquired.
- Griffin still sees the Blue Jays as contenders in the AL East because, even though all five clubs could finish with winning records, it is unclear whether there is a 100-win team in the division and 90 wins could quite possibly be enough for the second Wild Card berth.
Padres starter Edinson Volquez is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, but his preference is to sign an extension with San Diego, says Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Before considering a new contract, the Padres want to see Volquez improve his control, Center notes. Volquez allowed 105 walks in 2012. Here are more notes from around baseball...
- The Dodgers' surplus of starters is yet another factor working against Kyle Lohse as he tries to find a suitable deal this winter, rival officials tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). Teams looking for pitching can pick up the phone and call the Dodgers to ask about Chris Capuano or one of their other available starters. Lohse is obviously a stronger option, but he's also more expensive and teams have less flexibility than they did earlier this winter.
- Pitcher Kyle Davies agreed to a minor league deal with the Twins that does not include an invite to big league camp, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The 29-year-old owns a career 5.59 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 across seven big league seasons.
- New Indians outfielder Michael Bourn says that the offseason market for his services took a turn for the worse after the Twins traded not one, but two center fielders in Denard Span and Ben Revere, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports. The trades of Span and Revere took the Nationals and Phillies out of the market for a center fielder. "I was looking at that like, ‘Man, are you serious?' Those were two teams I pretty much thought would be fighting for me," Bourn says.
- The Phillies discussed trading Domonic Brown to the Astros this offseason, Jon Heyman reports (on Twitter), but the Phils, still low on talent in the outfield, are reluctant to deal him. The former top prospect is current competing for time in left field with the Phillies.
- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hints that the club might turn to Josh Thole or Henry Blanco, rather than J.P. Arencibia, to catch R.A. Dickey, Richard Griffin of TheStar.com reports. The Jays will go with a personal catcher for Dickey, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm notes. Arencibia wants to catch for Dickey, but Thole and Blanco both caught Dickey and his knuckleball when Dickey played for the Mets.
The Blue Jays have been very busy this offseason swinging a 12-player trade with the Marlins, acquiring R.A. Dickey from the Mets, and signing Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis. MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm touched on what these moves mean for the franchise and the other roster decisions that still need to be addressed when he recently opened his inbox.
- This offseason will determine the legacy of GM Alex Anthopoulos, not based on the timeline of winning but on the amount of money spent. Chisholm writes it's a similar investment to the one former GM J.P. Ricciardi made in 2006 by signing A.J. Burnett, B.J. Ryan and trading for the likes of Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay. When those big moves didn't pan out, it reflected negatively on Ricciardi and ultimately led to his firing.
- Darren Oliver is still leaning toward retirement and the Blue Jays aren't expecting to hear a final decision until January.
- Anthony Gose is set to begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo with Rajai Davis assuming the role of fourth outfielder and late-game pinch-runner.
- The Blue Jays have one bench opening left to fill. With the versatility of Davis, Izturis, and Emilio Bonifacio, look for that final spot to go to somone invited to Spring Training on a minor league contract.
- In a separate article, Chisholm writes J.P. Arencibia has solidified his spot in the Toronto lineup for the forseeable future. Anthopoulos made the rare move of reaching out to Arencibia telling him not to concern himself with the trade rumors. "Not only does that make me feel good, but it makes you want to go out and work harder, go the extra mile and go the extra distance for this organization," Arencibia told Chisholm. "If they tell me I need to run through a wall, I'm going to try and run through that wall."