Stop me if you have heard this one before. In the process of evaluating their roster after another failed the season, the Toronto Blue Jays have plucked an unwanted catcher from the Los Angeles Angels.
Hmm, sounds familiar huh? Well it should, because the Blue Jays have now done that in three consecutive offseasons, picking the leftovers out of the Angels teeth.
On January 21st, they exercised a four-day rental on Mike Napoli, acquiring him in a trade that sent Vernon Wells and his astronomical contract to Los Angeles before trading him four days later to Texas for Frank Francisco. Then, last December, Alex Anthopoulos traded Brad Mills to the Angels in exchange for Jeff Mathis, who served at back-up to J.P. Arencibia in 2012.
Not to be outdone, AA got a head start on the winter by claiming catcher Bobby Wilson off of waivers from the Angels on Monday. The 29-year-old Wilson has played parts of five seasons for the Angels, primarily as a back-up catcher. He owns a lifetime .208 batting average and a .593 OPS, and has thrown out 27% of would be base-stealers.
To make room for Wilson on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated reliever Chad Beck for assignment. Beck appeared in 14 games for the Blue Jays, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) in just 21 innings pitched in 2012.
The move is a bit questionable for Toronto, who now has a glut of catchers, with the aforementioned Arencibia, Mathis, Wilson, and also top prospect Travis d’Arnaud on the 40-man roster. Arencibia is the unspoken starter at the position, with Mathis being the primary back-up, and d’Arnaud expected to start 2013 in the minors after tearing a knee ligament on June 25th.
It does open up the possibility of a corresponding move, with MLB.com reporting that the Rangers are interested in either Arencibia or d’Arnaud. The Blue Jays could certainly center a trade around either piece and use one to acquire a pitcher or possibly a left-fielder. It is doubtful that a deal would come about this early in the offseason, but names like Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, and Jurickson Profar are already being brandied about, no matter how unlikely any of them are.
Still, this is a strange move for the Blue Jays, and When you smell cheese, you can usually find a rat. Stay tuned Jays fans, something is up Anthopoulos’s sleeve.