The writing was on the wall for beleaguered Toronto Blue Jays catcher, J.P. Arencibia.
#BlueJays non-tender JP Arencibia, making him a free agent.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 3, 2013
With Sunday’s signing of Dioner Navarro, the Blue Jays officially cut ties with their once beloved prospect. Toronto offered arbitration to Esmil Rogers, Brett Cecil, and Colby Rasmus, but J.P. Aaaaye was sent packing.
It’s a harsh reality for the one time minor league stud. Every level J.P. went to, he hit the ball, and he hit it hard. He typically hit for 20+ HRs and 2010 was his “I’m Here!” party with 32 deep flies and a .301 BA in AAA Las Vegas. He did this in just a mere 104 games. Also promising was his improved ability in understanding of the strike zone and taking a walk. What never improved, was his ability to be a good everyday catcher. This often left pundits wondering if Arencibia would eventually get moved to another position or another team in favour of Travis d’Arnaud becoming the everyday backstop.
Arencibia became the Blue Jays everyday catcher in 2011, and as to be expected, he hit 20+ HRs (23), but his batting average and OBP were not good (.219/.282). Also to be expected, neither was his defense behind the plate, as he produced a below league average 24% CS. Despite this, he was still a positive dWAR at 0.3 and a 1.3 overall WAR.
In 2012, with a little more than 100 ABs than 2010, Arencibia hit 18 HRs and his BA improved to .233. His OBP however, managed to drop in what became a disturbing trend; Arencibia’s ability to strike out and inability to take a walk, as Jays fans saw both rates climb and regress respectively.
Then came 2013. It’s well documented, but as if you needed a reminder, Tip of the Tower writer Travis Bateman predicted it here. This past season was brutal for JP. The .194/.221/.365 slashline. He did manage to hit 21 HRs, but 12 came between April and May, and the other 9 came over the last 4 months of the season. In each month after April, his best month, JP’s BA would be .232 or worse. August and September were particularly awful, as he would only walk four times over 130 ABs with a .131 BA/.169 OBP. September was his swan song, as he only reached base seven times in 63 ABs. No, that is not a misprint.
JP will no doubt latch on with another team, as his power is intriguing at a position that doesn’t offer much of it. It’s just an unfortunate end to a seemingly good guy once envisioned to be a strong part to this Blue Jay future.