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J.P. Arencibia Rumors
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.
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.
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.