Jays sadly sign Veteran C Jose Molina


Warning – this post is a bit of a rant, so if you’re a fan of the newest Jays signing, please avert your eyes. Before I begin to examine this signing, and before I look into all of the facts, I can tell everyone without a doubt that I am completely and utterly against this signing by the Jays. The concept makes sense – get a veteran catcher who can help guide young pitchers through their growth – but it goes completely against their “youth movement” and sets a precedent that scares me a little. Instead of handing the backup role to a young catcher like J. P. Arencibia or even to veteran Raul Chavez (who’s use in MLB would in turn assure a ton of ABs for JP in AAA), we get to watch a horrible hitter who gives us a huge hole in the lineup whenever he plays. So, while we may get a great defensive backstop who helps the pitchers defensively, they get no run support to go along with his starts. Great.

This is the first move that Alex Anthopoulos has completed which I really don’t understand. If he really wanted to give $400,000 away, he could have just given it to me and I would have made better use of it. The Jays guaranteed $400,000 to Jose with the chance to make another $400,000 if he makes the opening day roster. They even asked for a $1,200,000 club option in 2011. Why? For crying out loud, what is it that Jose has that I can’t see? They have Brian Jeroloman, J. P. Arencibia, Travis d’Arnaud, Sean Ochinko, Yan Gomes – all great young catchers who I would rather watch play instead of Jose “I’m an out” Molina.

I’ll humour the signing and look at his stats:

2009: .217 average in 138 ABs (’08 was no better with a .216 average in 238 ABs), a .292 OBP, ridiculously low .268 SLG, and .560 OPS. Of his 30 hits in ’09, 4 were doubles and 1 was a HR. He has a whopping 20 HRs in 1449 ABs, so we can safely assume he won’t have a surprise season.

All that was done in the Yankee lineup – if he hits that badly in NY, he won’t be any better in Toronto’s weaker lineup at a year older. I would look at the splits, but when your average is near the mendoza line, it doesn’t really matter how well you hit RHP and LHP.

Worse still, base runners stole 23 bases against him in a very short period of time, and he only threw out 28% of the attempts against him. So, although he may call a great game and help develop the young SP, he isn’t going to help them out by throwing out runners or hitting.

Maybe it’s because I am still high from all of the great moves Alex has completed in recent months (Wallace, Morrow, Drabek, d’Arnaud, ect..) that I expect each move to be an impact move. Maybe. But what gets me most about this is that it goes flatly against giving young guys an opportunity to play – whether it be in AAA or MLB. Now, if Jose makes the Jays J. P. Arencibia will split time with Raul Chavez in AAA and will get fewer games to call than he needs. What’s wrong with using JP the majority of the time in AAA with Brian Jeroloman as his backup and Raul Chavez with John Buck in Toronto? Perhaps there’s an injury that’s yet to be made public that helps this move make sense, or maybe Alex wanted to force other teams to grab Rod Barajas instead of settling for Molina (in turn netting the Jays the pick they want). If the latter is correct, Alex is more of a strategist than we’ve ever seen with the Jays. If not……ugh. Sorry for the venting, but I’m just hoping this doesn’t lead to more blocking of young players and a return to the ways of yesteryear. I want the Jays to pick a strategy and go with it. If you’re going young, go all the way.

Speaking of injuries, the Jays placed Jesse Litsch on the 60-day DL to make room for this move.