J.P. Arencibia Rumors

Blue Jays Notes: Gibbons, Coaches, Payroll, Buck

Earlier today the Blue Jays announced the hiring (or re-hiring) of former manager John Gibbons, though not everyone around the game is impressed by the move according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Here's the latest out of Toronto…

  • "I've got more conviction in this hire … than in any other transaction," said GM Alex Anthopoulos of the Gibbons hire according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (on Twitter) Gibbons received a two-year contract plus an option for a third year, tweets Davidi.
  • The Blue Jays have not yet made any announced about the rest of the coaching staff, but MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm says (on Twitter) they want to take care of that quickly.
  • The team has exceeded payroll expectations, but Anthopoulos reminded everyone that he promised the money would be there when the time was right according to Mike Wilner of The Blue Jays Radio Network (on Twitter).
  • Anthopoulos said he will now focus on improving the team further, specifically mentioning both rotation and bullpen depth, tweets Davidi.
  • John Buck will serve as the backup catcher to J.P. Arencibia according to Anthopoulos, tweets Davidi.

Rangers Interested In Arencibia, Buck

The Rangers are known to be seeking catching help this offseason, and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com tweets that both J.P. Arencibia and John Buck appear to be on their list of targets.

The Blue Jays have three serviceable catchers on their Major League roster following this past week's blockbuster trade, including top prospect Travis d'Arnaud. With nearly every position on the field accounted for following the Melky Cabrera signing, it's safe to speculate that the Blue Jays would seek more pitching in return for one of their backstops.

Texas' primary catcher for the past two seasons has been Mike Napoli, but it appears there's a good chance that he'll sign elsewhere via free agency. General manager Jon Daniels acquired Geovany Soto from the Cubs over the summer, but the former Rookie of the Year's projected $4.6MM salary and dwindling production make him a non-tender candidate.

Arencibia, who will turn 27 in January, has averaged 29 homers per 162 games to date in his young Major League career, but also has an underwhelming .275 career on-base percentage. He won't be arbitration eligible until after the 2013 season.

Buck, 32, cashed in on his career year in 2010 (.281/.314/.481 with 20 homers) to the tune of a three-year, $18MM contract with the Marlins that offseason. He has one year and $6MM remaining on his contract, but has slumped since signing his deal. In two full seasons with the Marlins, he batted just .213/.308/.358 with a more than half of his walks coming from the eighth spot in the order, ahead of the pitcher.

The Rangers have also been connected to Russell Martin so far this offseason.


Silverman’s Latest: Greinke, Royals, Rays, Blue Jays

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald that he was unsure if he'd be able to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis) in 2007. “A lot of clubs were involved and I didn’t think it was going to work for us for where we were financially,” said Dombrowski. “Once we sat down with the Marlins, it took us just a day to work out that deal. It happened very fast.”

Here are Silverman's rumors…



Quick Hits: Giambi, Cano, Arencibia, Phillies, Angels

Jason Giambi was a surprise candidate to become the Rockies' next manager, but now that the job has gone to Walt Weiss, the team has offered Giambi the job of hitting coach, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  Giambi had said he would continue playing if he wasn't hired as manager, though he's taking a few days to consider Colorado's offer.  If he turns it down and wants to keep playing, agent Joel Wolfe tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that "several teams" have shown interest in his client, who will be 42 years old on Opening Day.

Here are some more items from a very busy day around baseball…


Rangers Targeting Catchers This Offseason

Given Mike Napoli's status as an impending free agent, the Rangers will be looking for catching help this offseason, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Rangers have been ambivalent when asked if Napoli will receive a qualifying offer, according to Sullivan. As we learned last week, that offer would be $13.3MM on a one-year deal.

Sullivan also writes that it's likely the Rangers and Blue Jays will enter into trade discussions this offseason, given Toronto's catching surplus. The Blue Jays have J.P. Arencibia at the Major League level, with Travis d'Arnaud knocking on the door in Triple-A. Both profile as starting catchers, and the Jays also have Jeff Mathis and the recently claimed Bobby Wilson on their 40-man roster. Toronto would likely seek pitching depth in any deal involving a catcher.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels acquired Geovany Soto over the summer as a means to bolster the position for the stretch run. Soto currently profiles as the starter in Texas, but would become a non-tender candidate if the Rangers were to add a significant piece in the offseason. The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year earned $4.3MM in 2012 and would be due for a raise through arbitration despite hitting just .198/.270/.343. MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Soto as a non-tender candidate back in August.

All of this, of course, is assuming that the Rangers are unable to retain Napoli's services. Napoli hopes to return to the Rangers, according to Sullivan, but that will be dependent on what kind of offers he receives. Another factor could be how he's used in the lineup. Napoli went on record in July stating that he prefers catching to playing first base, so he could have interest in a team that will use him beind the plate more (though that's just my own speculation).

Check out MLBTR's 2013 free agent list for a full look at the upcoming class of catchers that the Rangers could pursue.


Rosenthal On Ethier, Santana, Blue Jays, D’Backs

Here's the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports

  • Impending free agent Andre Ethier is "the first opportunity for the Dodgers’ new ownership to make a statement in the post-McCourt era," and while Ethier has let it be known that he's willing to negotiate a new deal during the season, Rosenthal thinks Stan Kasten would prefer to see Ethier perform well and stay healthy for the entire 2012 season before offering him a contract extension.  Rosenthal predicts Ethier will look for a deal similar to Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126MM contract with the Nationals, and given the lack of proven power bats on the market, Ethier "probably can name his price" this winter if he keeps producing.
  • Johan Santana's hefty contract and no-trade clause will make it hard for the Mets to move him without eating a lot of money in a deal.  Rosenthal thinks it makes more sense for the Mets to just hang on to Santana, who can be a valuable mentor to the team's young pitchers.
  • The Blue Jays are unlikely to trade either J.P. Arencibia or Travis d'Arnaud before the end of the season, as the Jays like Arencibia's game-calling and d'Arnaud's overall potential.  Rosenthal cites the Diamondbacks as one of several teams interested in Toronto's catchers, which follows up on his report in March that the Snakes were looking at Arencibia.  Arizona's interest would seem to indicate that the D'Backs are preparing a backup plan should they not be able to re-sign Miguel Montero.
  • It "does not appear out of the question" that the Rockies will make changes to the coaching staff given the team's pitching woes, defensive struggles and overall poor start.
  • A scout tells Rosenthal that Andy Pettitte "does not look close to ready" and will need several more minor league starts before he's ready to return to the Yankees.

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.

Rosenthal On Braves, Blue Jays, Nationals, Gonzalez

Rival executives believe Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez may already be on ‘probation,’ Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Last year’s team lost its grip on a playoff spot down the stretch under Gonzalez, who’s now entering his second season as Atlanta’s manager. Here are the rest of Rosenthal’s notes from around the Major Leagues…

  • Special assistant Jim Fregosi may be the Braves’ leading candidate to manage should they replace Gonzalez internally.
  • The Diamondbacks would have interest in catcher J.P. Arencibia if the Blue Jays made him available. Arencibia isn’t going anywhere just yet, but top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud could force the Blue Jays to make some difficult decisions within the year.
  • The Blue Jays, Royals, Tigers and others are in the market for starting pitching and many options are available, Rosenthal writes. Joe Blanton, Gavin Floyd and John Lannan are among the potential trade targets for teams seeking starters.
  • The Tigers, who are currently leaning toward left-hander Andy Oliver for their final rotation spot, could be a fit for Lannan. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined possible fits for Lannan last week, including the Tigers.
  • The Padres’ financial outlook is improving, so owner John Moores may be less eager to sell the team to CEO Jeff Moorad. Moorad has two years to complete his purchase of the club, but the deal won’t be finalized in the near future.
  • The A’s are no longer interested in free agent reliever Mike Gonzalez and the White Sox aren’t currently pursuing him, Rosenthal reports. The lefty is “about ready to go” following arthroscopic knee surgery.
  • Some in the industry question shortstop Ian Desmond, but the Nationals like him.

Jays “Shocked” By Asking Price For Free Agent Closers

Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun has a host of Blue Jays news including numerous quotes from GM Alex Anthopoulos:

  • Elliot hears that the Blue Jays have been "shocked" by the asking prices they've received when contacting the representatives for free agent closers. Anthopoulos sounds wary of signing closers to four- and five-year deals. Noting some research he did on injuries long-term deals for relievers when he was still an assistant GM, Anthopolous said: "…basically if you were giving out a five-year deal you were only going to get a player for four seasons."
  • When asked what the club's greatest surplus was, Anthopoulos replied "prospects," which Elliot speculates could hint that the Jays may try to acquire a closer via trade.
  • The Blue Jays aren't prepared to trade J.P. Arencibia because of Travis d'Arnaud's minor league success. The 22-year-old d'Arnaud ranked 36th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list prior to a 2011 campaign that saw him hit .311/.371/542 and crush 21 homers at the Double-A level.
  • The organization is at least one year away from considering d'Arnaud for the Major Leagues, and the same goes for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
  • The Blue Jays are content with Colby Rasmus as their center fielder for 2012, and Anthopolous calls him an upgrade defensively.
  • The Jays need an everyday second baseman, which leads Elliot to speculate on Brandon Phillips.