The Toronto Blue Jays scurried on Monday and tried to find a taker for catcher J.P. Arencibia prior to the tender deadline. Unfortunately, no one stepped up as a trade partner for Arencibia and his project $2.5 million salary, and he was ultimately non-tendered by the club, making him a free agent.
That does not mean that there was not interested parties involved in negotiations.
On Wednesday, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com detailed how the Texas Rangers and Blue Jays were in serious discussions to add the beleaguered backstop but could not finalize a deal. Apparently the kicker had more to do with Arencibia himself, as Texas was ready to make the deal, but wanted to finalize a contract that would avoid going to arbitration and save the club some money.
In the end, a deal could not be reached and Arencibia was non-tendered, making him a free agent.
Texas’ decision to press for contract settlement is understandable. $2.5 million for a project player may have been tough to swallow, especially if the Rangers were having to deal even a minor prospect to land him. After Arencibia’s tough 2013 campaign, where he put together a bare bones slash line of .194/.227/.592, there was simply more value in trying to negotiate with him as a free agent than paying the cost in a prospect and arbitration.
The Rangers could also be tepid about adding a back-up like Arencibia, as incumbent “starter” Geovany Soto is a project in himself. Outside of a Rookie of the Year campaign for the Cubs in 2008 where he hit .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI, and solid season in 2010, where he put together a .280/17/53 season, Soto has struggled at the plate and carries a lot of similar baggage to Arencibia. However, Soto did put together a decent season in 2013, as the back-up to A.J. Pierzynski, when he hit .245/.328/.466.
Meanwhile, Arencibia will try to latch on with a new team, hoping to rebuild himself with a fresh start somewhere else. In an interview with John Fitz-Gerald of the National Post, Arencibia relayed that he had “no hard feelings” toward the Blue Jays and looked forward to beginning anew.
“I’m excited to turn the page and start a new chapter. Best of luck. And the fans are definitely the people who give us our opportunity to play … they’ll be missed, and I’ll always have a place in my heart for them.”