J.P. Arencibia: Too Legit To Quit?
March 23, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) hits a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsFrom the time the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Travis D’Arnaud from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade to the second before it became news that the Jays would have to trade D’Arnaud to get R.A. Dickey it was assumed that D’Arnaud was going to be the Blue Jays catcher of the future. It was assumed that it was just a matter of time before D’Arnaud was ready for the big leagues and when he was that Arencibia would be out the door in a trade.
J.P. Arencibia supposedly didn’t let this bother him. In every interview he did over the years he said he knew he was going to be the Blue Jays catcher.
He was right. Mainly because D’Arnaud had more trade value but it doesn’t matter how JPA was right as long he’s right!
When the Blue Jays acquired R.A. Dickey it was assumed that Dickey would have a personal catcher and that Arencibia would never catch him. Arencibia said he was going to work at catching Dickey and hopefully be able to catch him during the regular season. Again Arencibia’s confidence was brushed off.
Luckily for Arencibia, Dickey lives in the same place JP does, Nashville. They were able to work together during the offseason and Arencibia’s hard work payed off as he did a good job catching Dickey in the World Baseball Classic and in Spring Training. So much so that the Blue Jays announced that Dickey wouldn’t have a personal catcher after all and that Arencibia would get to catch Dickey, including opening day. Once again Arencibia was right.
When Arencibia isn’t getting traded or learning to catch a new starter he’s trying to prove he deserves to be the Blue Jays catcher of the future. In all seriousness it’s far from guaranteed.
A lot of Jays fans don’t want Arencibia to be the catcher of the future because as fun as homeruns are he still hasn’t shown the ability to get on base or to even be an adequate defensive catcher yet.
The thing is catchers take longer to develop offensively which could be the case for Arencibia. He really started heating up before his injury last season and he’s been tearing the cover off the ball in Spring Training for whatever that’s worth. And the fact that the Blue Jays feel he can catch Dickey tells you something about his progress playing defense.
Arencibia’s 27 years old now so he’s either going to get better soon or not. He’s either going to be the Blue Jays catcher of the future or the Jays are going to get someone better one of these years. The popular opinion would probably be that he’s not going to get better. But Arencibia hasn’t let popular opinion get in his way yet so why start now?