Sep 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) is congratulated by left fielder Kevin Pillar (22) for hitting a home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays' Anthopoulos Fails To Give Arencibia Vote of Confidence


At this point in the season, general managers often field questions about the future of their rosters and their management situation. For teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, i.e. eliminated from the postseason, those questions often come hard and heavy from the local media as they try to find answers to the failures of the present.

Well, in terms of the Blue Jays, the managerial questions have already been answers, and the coaching staff will be addressed in the offseason without much fanfare. That leaves the roster, and its many holes, that have fans and the media alike looking for answers.

One of those holes, a big one at that, is the catching situation and the future of J.P. Arencibia on the roster.

When asked about about the upcoming changes for the roster in 2014, general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Toronto media Wednesday that there were many holes to be filled and that the entire roster would be evaluated accordingly. When pressed further about Arencibia in particular, A.A. had this to add.

“Offensively has probably been the one area that I’m surprised by. One thing you felt confident was J.P. would be a .700 to .720 OPS guy with some upside to do better than that. He’s always had the ability, he’s got power to the opposite field. He’s shown the ability to use all fields and you felt that was probably going to be what the floor was for him. Didn’t expect it to go the other way.” (h/t Bruce MacArthur, TSN.ca)

Going the other way, I’d say that’s a pretty accurate assessment, albeit a bit of an understatement. In fact, Arencibia is on pace for a season that is horrible to historic proportions. How bad? Well according to Baseball-Reference, Arencibia is on pace to have the 17th lowest Batting Average (.194) of any player in the history of the game with 450 or more plate appearances. His .229 On-Base Percentage? Well that would rank in at the 3rd lowest in the AL Era.

Those are some difficult numbers to achieve, and they were indicative of the production that the Blue Jays received in general from the catching position. The team ranks dead last in Batting Average (.195) and On-Base Percentage (.237), 29th in fWAR (-1.1), 28th in wRC+, 27th in K% from the catching position. Granted, that group includes Josh Thole and Henry Blanco, two men that will never be accused of being magicians with a baseball bat, but Arencibia received the bulk of the duties and hence, the bulk of the weight on those numbers.

“I would say this: one thing you’ll never see me do is criticize players openly other than stating the obvious when they’re on the roster. I think I can say this for the entire team, we’re going to look to improve anywhere we can.” (h/t Mike Rutsey, Toronto Sun)

Now, I can applaud Anthopoulos for not calling out players publicly and labeling anyone in any capacity, but in reality the cat has to be out of the bag here. Yes, the Blue Jays have more pressing needs in their rotation and that is where the team’s focus will be, but catching needs to place a cool second on the pecking order. To think that replacing Arencibia is not an option on the plate would be shortsighted on anyone’s part. So short of giving in to the media and admitting that the team will make a change, Anthopoulos said what he could say in respect for the player in question.

He doesn’t want to be having this conversation next season, and neither do we.

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  • Andrew van Laar

    Wow… I never realized just how bad historically his numbers are.

    • Rocky

      Yup statistically one of the worst all time.

  • Justin Jay

    It doesn’t help that his defense isn’t stellar either. When Rasmus was struggling early in the season, at least he had that to lean back on. JP can’t catch Dickey and has difficulty framing a pitch. I feel bad criticizing the guy because he’s super nice, positive, and a great sport… but the all around numbers can’t be denied. They’ve got to bring somebody else in. I hope they go after Navarro. Young enough, can hit, decent defender, and shouldn’t be too pricey

    • Kyle Franzoni

      What about a guy like Pierzynski?

      • Justin Jay

        Pierzynski is going to be 37 and the Rangers have a stadium that increase his batting numbers. So I think he’ll be a bit costly, but the guy is probably one of the best out there defensively as well as all around, even at his age. He wins wherever he goes. Aside from age, the only knock he has is a history of rubbing people the wrong way. Night and day difference between him and JPA

    • Andrew van Laar

      I thought I read an article on here (or Bluebirdbanter) where JP actually leads the league in called strikes on ball. As well I think that article said he also leads the league in strikes that are called balls which is REALLY odd in my opinion. JP just baffles my mind lol.

      Does anyone think Jimenez should be given a serious shot or do you want proven vets?

      • Kyle Franzoni

        I would love to see Jimenez get a shot, but the truth of the matter is that he needs more at-bats at Triple-A, as well as proving the shoulder issues are behind him before he can become a legitimate candidate.

        • Andrew van Laar

          Ya unfortunately you are right. For whatever reason I have always loved catchers with cannons for arms ever since a few WBCs back when there was a young kid on the Dutch team who could throw faster from his knees than any major leauger could from their feet.

          • Justin Jay

            Are you talking about Kenley Jansen… or his teammate Dashenko Ricardo?

          • Andrew van Laar

            Kenley Jansen is a pitcher no? And it’s not Ricardo. I want to say his last name was De Jong but I can’t be too sure about that.

          • Justin Jay

            Sidney De Jong I think was his name? He just recently retired. Heck of a hitter too. Never latched on to a major league club but played well in the WBC almost every year.

            Somewhere in your message I thought I saw “played for the Dodgers.” Don’t know how I made that mistake, but anyway, Jansen DID play catcher and converted to pitcher. Apparently, there’s a lot of former catchers that couldn’t hit, but because really hard throwing pitchers. Chris Hatcher of the Marlins, Jason Motte of the Cardinals, and Randy Wells for the Cubs are 3 converts I’m aware of.

          • Andrew van Laar

            I checked out Sidney and I didn’t recognize him and his CS% numbers didn’t look like they lined up with the guy I saw. Maybe it was Jansen but once again looking at his CS% it seems low for the numbers of the guy I saw. I may have to give up on this search because I am having no luck at all.

  • Kerd9999

    You can call out players all you want… but when most of the players tank, it is obviously the coaching staff that is at fault… Starting with the manager…

    • er1922

      you nailed it!