The Orioles have reportedly been looking to add another catcher (despite having five on the 40-man roster), and they did so today, announcing the signing of J.P. Arencibia to a minor league deal. The CAA Sports client will receive an invite to Major League Spring Training.
Arencibia, who just turned 29, handled most of the catching duties for the Blue Jays over the 2011-13 campaigns. His low-OBP, high-strikeout approach yielded a steady diet of ~20-home run campaigns, but reached an extreme in his final year in Toronto, when he managed only a .227 on-base percentage while striking out 148 times and walking only 18 times in 497 turns at the plate.
It was much the same last year in Texas, where Arencibia scuffled to a .177/.239/.369 slash with ten long balls in 222 plate appearances. On a Rangers team beset with injury issues, he split his time evenly between catching, playing first, and slotting in as the designated hitter.
Arencibia will presumably challenge for a similar role in Baltimore or serve as depth while starting the year in the upper minors. As Connolly notes on Twitter, Arencibia put up big numbers at Triple-A during his time in Texas, when his swing was being overseen by new O’s hitting coach (and then-Rangers minor league hitting coordinator) Scott Coolbaugh.
From a defensive standpoint, Arencibia has prevented base stealing at a roughly league-average clip throughout his career (26 percent). He’s also typically graded out as a plus pitch-framer, according to both Baseball Prospectus and Matthew Carruth’s Framing Report at StatCorner.com.