It’s a move that simply makes sense. Despite J.P. Arencibia’s enthusiasm to catch knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, it appears manager John Gibbons will go the other way.
Gibbons explained to the media that catching a knuckleballer is a full time job, even if it’s every fifth day. He also mentioned that Arencibia will need days off and he might as well take them when Dickey’s pitching.
That means opening day catching duties will fall on either Henry Blanco or Josh Thole. My money is on Blanco – it appears to be his job to lose since Thole has options and can provide minor league depth. Both catchers have experience catching Dickey.
No doubt Dickey will also feel more comfortable floating the ball to the same catcher every time out.
You have to love JP’s character and willingness, but if he’s in the line up when Dickey’s pitching, it will most likely be as DH (especially if the Jays are facing a tough lefty and want to give Adam Lind a day off).
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There is a lot of chatter out there right now regarding a potential multi-player trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets that would bring the Jays last seasons NL Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey. It’s rumoured that the Mets want a centre fielder and a catcher in return. What remains to be seen is what combination of these players would Toronto give up. If the Mets are looking for “major league ready” players, it would most likely be a combination of two of the following four players: Colby Rasmus, John Buck, Anthony Gose, and JP Arencibia.
The Jays do have depth at both these positions, but I’m still not sure they are that close to making a move. I remember all too fondly the Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder rumours of last offseason. Usually, if it’s a rumour and the Blue Jays are involved, it’s not happening. Alex Anthopoulos is the stealth of GM’s and operates in the dark.
Dickey’s contract is intriguing, however. At 38 years old, he has gotten better every season over the last three. Last year he won the NL Cy Young with a 20-6 record and a sparkling 2.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. He is under contract for only 2013 for $5 million (which seems like a bargain in this market). Dickey is reported seeking a 2 year, $26 million extension. It’s easy to say: 3 years at $31 million makes a lot of sense, even for a 38 year old.
Dickey is a knuckleballer and therefore is thought to possess a rubber arm. These types of pitchers often pitch soundly into their early 40s. But is a combination of, say, JP Arencibia and Anthony Gose too much to give up for Dickey?
I definitely think yes. I’m all for the move if it does go through, although I doubt it will since it’s rumoured (not Anthopoulos’ style), but that’s more because I trust AA to know his team. Pat Gillick sat in front of me last season during spring training and told me that the two Jays prospects he was most excited about were single-A pitcher Noah Syndergaard and triple-A outfielder Anthony Gose. If Gillick says this, I’m hesitant to move either of these players.
Also, the Jays gave up quite a bit to get J.A Happ – someone that had been in Anthopoulos’ crosshairs since the Roy Halladay deal with Philly. The Jays sent two major leaguers that were not part of the future – Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco – and four minor league prospects – Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Carlos Perez – and a player to be named later to Houston for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter. Lyon was a free agent at the end of last year and looks to be gone. Carpenter was traded to the Red Sox along with John Farrell for Mike Aviles (and then claimed off waivers by the Braves this offseason – Aviles, of course was traded with Yan Gomes to Cleveland for righty reliever Esmil Rogers). So, we got Happ for four minor leaguers – two who are quality prospects in Musgrove and Wojciechowshi, and two guys we wanted to get rid of, basically.
That’s still a lot for just Happ, though. Isn’t it? I was super shocked when Farrell didn’t immediately replace Brett Cecil in the rotation with Happ (you’ll remember my blog on Darren Oliver – To play or not to play where I discuss Cecil’s attributes as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen) and instead had Happ “prove himself in the ‘pen” before putting him in a rotation that was more beaten down than Tina Turner circa 1970.
I know AA wants to upgrade the rotation and I’m fine with this move if he makes it. But we gave up a lot for Happ and I really don’t mind him as a 5th starter. I don’t think AA minds him either. But if we can get Dickey without giving up too much, well, I might just win my bet after all (see my first blog ever on this site for reference).
Recently, the Blue Jays claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees (Yankees claimed him from the Giants a few weeks ago). Whiteside is on the move again. Readers will remember I predicted he would get claimed from the Jays, as it was doubtful the Jays would put him on the 40-man roster.
Whitside, a career .215 hitter with little power shouldn’t be missed.
It was a low risk claim by Alex Anthopoulos that didn’t work out. However, the Jays are still in an enviable position with arguably three major league ready catchers on the 40-man roster: JP Arencibia, John Buck, and youngster Travis d’Arnaud.
My guess is that d’Arnaud sees time at the majors this year,either as a Blue Jay or after a trade near the July deadline.
The question becomes: who do the Jays keep long term? Arencibia or d’Arnaud?
Last Friday, Mike McDade was picked up by the Cleveland Indians off waivers, ending the youngsters time within the Jays organization.
McDade, a 6th round draft pick in 2007, hit .275 with 15 homers and 49 rbi in double-A last season before a late season call up to triple-A. While the Jays would have like to keep McDade, there are only 40 spots on the roster and Toronto elected to go with David Cooper for their 1st base depth.
You’ll remember that both Mike McCoy and Joel Carreno were also removed from the 40-man roster. Both have accepted a triple-A assignment and will be playing for Buffalo to begin 2013.
Also, the Jays catching situation may have become a bit clearer in recent days. Toronto has non-tendered Bobby Wilson, making him a free agent. With this moves, it looks less likely that the Jays will trade a catcher. Wilson had been brought in for depth and would’ve made approximately $600,000 in 2013. After the trade with the Marlins, it looks like the Jays will go with JP Arencibia as their starter and use John Buck to backup. Travis d’Arnaud will begin the season in triple-A and try to regain his top prospect form (1st prospect in Jays system and ranked 11th in all of baseball – #1 catcher) after he had season ending knee surgery last year. All reports show that d’Arnaud is fully recovered and ready to go. While the Jays could still move either Arencibia or Buck, it seems less likely to see a move before the beginning of the season now that Wilson is gone.
To me it makes sense to keep both Arencibia and Buck to start the year. Arencibia knows the Jays pitching staff, Buck is familiar and has been praised by the two newest members of the rotation, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Also, while d’Arnaud’s value is certain high as the #1 catching prospect in the game, he is coming off a knee injury and should have even more value if he comes out strong in the first couple months in triple-A. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a catcher be moved before the July trade deadline but after a couple months of the season.