Tag:J.P. Arencibia
Posted on: November 5, 2010 3:10 pm
 

What are the Blue Jays thinking?

Miguel Olivo
What's the deal with the Blue Jays? First they trade a player to be named later to the Rockies for catcher Miguel Olivo, then they promptly decline the 2011 option on Olivo's contract, paying a $500,000 buyout. So at this point, they are out a PTBNL and half a million dollars, and they have nothing to show for it.

Well, that's not entirely true. Olivo is now their property, so if he signs elsewhere, they get the compensatory pick for him as a Type B free agent, which is a sandwich pick after the first round. Is a sandwich pick worth $500,000? Actually, it might be, especially in a year when the draft is as deep as next year's is shaping up to be.

Let's look at the last really deep draft, in 2005. Sandwich picks that year included Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie, plus others who have seen time in the majors (Travis Buck, Garrett Olson, Ryan Tucker, Cesar Ramos). Is it worth $500,000 to have a Buchholz or Lowrie under control at low cost for six years? Definitely. But the Jays would have to hope they pick well there.

So maybe the Jays aren't nuts. Except, now general manager Alex Anthopoulos says the draft pick was not the reason he made these decisions. Actually, his comments in a conference call with reporters didn't leave things completely clear.

"No [on making the moves to get the compensation pick], and I've been reading a lot of that today. There's a lot of components with that. We didn't talk about the players that we pursued last offseason. When we signed John Buck, we were really agonizing over -- at the time -- Miguel Olivo and John Buck. ... Collectively, we elected to go with John Buck. Knowing that John's a free agent and, as we continue to gather information, whether it's just getting a sense of a market and so on, it seems to be, and rightfully so, that the market for John Buck is going to be incredibly strong."
OK, so the Jays acquired Olivo so they could keep him as insurance because they think Buck is going to end up out of their price range. And they definitely need a veteran catcher as they work Catcher of the Future J.P. Arencibia into the majors next season. So why not just pick up Olivo's $2.5 million option? If they are able to bring back Buck, they could just trade Olivo. If they do lose Buck and then try to sign Olivo, it's not like the catcher's agent is going to give them credit for the $500,000 they already paid him -- that's a sunk cost. Now every dollar over $2 million they pay him for next year would be money they might as well have set on fire. And it's almost certainly going to take more than $2 million to sign him.

Another danger: In order to get the sandwich pick, a team has to offer a player salary arbitration and the player has to decline. So the Jays will have to offer, and what if, Buck or no Buck, Olivo accepts? After batting .269, the second-highest average of his career, he's not going to get less than his $2 million 2010 salary in arbitration, plus he's already got half a million in his pocket. It's a win-win for Olivo.

And it looks like a lose-lose for Toronto. Maybe they've got an end game we're not aware of yet, but this is a curious series of decisions.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Jays pick up Molina option

Jose Molina
The Blue Jays have picked up its option on catcher Jose Molina for 2011. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says via Twitter the option was for $1.2 million, though Cot's Baseball Contracts says it's $1 million.

Unless the Jays plan to trade Molina, this is a pretty good indication Toronto is going to let John Buck leave in free agency and install J.P. Arencibia as the starter, with Molina remaining the backup.

Molina, 35, the middle of the three catching Molina brothers (Bengie of the Rangers is 36, Yadier of the Cardinals is 28). He batted .246/.304/.377 in 57 games last season.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:04 am
Edited on: October 7, 2010 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P. Blue Jays: Homer barrage falls short

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now batting: the Blue Jays.

An 85-win season, just four games behind third place in the tough AL East wasn't supposed to happen after trading one of the game's best pitchers.

But it did. Roy Halladay went south to Philadelphia, tossed a perfect game and no-hitter, and the Jays ended up with a stable of prospects, none of which made an impact at the major-league level until the final weeks of the season.

And yet, the Jays made noise all season -- thunderous noise. The team bashed a franchise-high 257 home runs, third all-time behind the 1997 Mariners and 2000 Rangers. It wasn't enough for a playoff season, but you can't call the year a disappointment either.

WHAT WENT WRONG

There were two things that held the Jays back from an improbable postseason berth: an inability to draw a walk and starting pitching.

The Jays hacked at the ball all season long. Sure, it paid off with 257 home runs, but many of these solo shots could have been turned into multiple RBIs, or even if you sacrifice some power to get on base, in the long run more runs likely would have been scored. On offense, the two most disappointing performances came from two of the best hitters from the 2009 squad: Aaron Hill and Adam Lind. Hill suffered from an extremely unlucky batting average on balls in play which dragged his average down to .205, but maintained his power by bashing 26 dingers. Lind, 26, tumbled from 35 home runs to 23 and a .305 batting average to .237. If both had performed up to par, the Jays very well could have finished third.

Jose Bautista While the Jays boast a young, exciting starting rotation, there were growing pains. Brandon Morrow shook off a slow start to the season and eventually threw a no-hitter but still ended with a 4.49 ERA. Marc Rzepczynski posted a 4.95 ERA in 12 starts, while Brian Tallet, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and Dana Eveland all posted a total of 26 starts of an ERA around 6.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

An awful lot went right -- how about a career season from Jose Bautista for starters? Bautista (pictured right) jacked an amazing 54 home runs after a previous high of 16 (set way back in 2006) thanks to a slight change in offensive philosophy.

John Buck had a career year of his own, posting a .802 OPS while catching and is in line for a lucrative deal in free agency. Vernon Wells enjoyed a bounce-back year, ending at .272/.331/.515. The bad news: there is still $86 million and four years to go on his onerous contract.

Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil (pictured, below right) paired with Morrow to give the Jays a fantastic top three of starters 25 or under, while Shaun Marcum returned from a one-year layoff to post a 3.64 ERA. The rotation, especially if Kyle Drabek flourishes in the No. 5 spot, will give teams nightmares in 2011.

HELP ON THE WAY

Drabek was part of the package acquired for Halladay and made three late-season starts, hurling 17 total innings while whiffing 12 and walking 5 for a 4.76 ERA. The 22-year-old is considered a future mid-rotation starter if not more, and will battle for the No. 5 spot next season among a host of candidates.

Brett Cecil One such candidate is Zach Stewart, Toronto's preseason top prospect according to Baseball America . Acquired in the Scott Rolen trade in 2009, Stewart made 26 starts at the Triple-A level and impressed. Even if Drabek beats him out, Stewart is likely a top candidate to make his major-league debut at some point. Brad Mills, who collected a few starts in 2010, will serve as rotation depth while Josh Roenicke could be a major weapon out of the bullpen if he can firm up his command.

Catcher J.P. Arencibia was the No. 2 prospect for Baseball America and had a debut to remember. He went 4-for-5 with two home runs on August 7, but didn't do much down the stretch. He showed enough down on the farm that he will likely start the majority of the games in 2011.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Jays certainly have a right to set a goal of finishing third, and could push for the wild card. Most of the offense is returning, and while regression to the mean has to be factored in for Bautista, bounce-back seasons from Aaron Hill and Adam Lind should make up the deficit. The starting pitching will be one year older and experienced.

What may bite Toronto in 2011, unless moves are made to address the situation, is the bullpen. The Jays will likely pick up closer Kevin Gregg's options, but there's no guarantee Gregg repeats his most successful season as a closer. Top relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are slated to hit the market and will likely not return, and the Jays are unlikely to shell out big bucks for replacements, instead choosing to go with internal replacements or low-cost alternatives.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

While the Jays have quite a few arbitration candidates to go before an actual budget can be predicted, they're likely to have at least $10 million, if not more, to spend in the free agent market that would get them to the 2010 payroll of $79 million. The priorities on offense are to find a first baseman as well as another bat that can play either second, third or right. With both Aaron Hill and Jose Bautista able to move to third, GM Alex Anthopoulous has flexibility when it comes to positions to chase.

Anthopoulous should focus on those who can take a pitch, with home run power secondary. First base/DH candidates who could fit in Toronto's budget (with Lind occupying the other position) include Jim Thome and Russell Branyan. Other candidates to play second, third or right are Bill Hall, Orlando Hudson, Juan Uribe and perhaps even Magglio Ordonez.

2011 PREDICTION

With Tampa Bay slashing payroll, the opportunity is there for Toronto to make a play for third -- and they'll try to do just that, but figure to fall just short, just like 2010. Poor Toronto -- if they weren't in the AL East, it'd be a near-lock to make the postseason.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. teams here.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 7, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 4:51 pm
 

Homer barrage for Jays, Arencibia

J.P. Arencibia
It's safe to assume J.P. Arencibia will never forget his first game as a major leaguer.

Toronto's catching phenom made a major impact in his debut, homering on the first big-league pitch he saw and later adding a solo shot as the Blue Jays played a highly entertaining game at home against the Rays. They hit eight homers in winning 17-11.

Tampa Bay starter James Shields tied a modern-era major-league record by giving up six home runs, all in the first four innings. According to Stats LLC, baseball's official stat-keeper, Shields is the eighth pitcher since 1900 to give up six in an outing.

Arencibia (pictured at right), called up Wednesday after John Buck was hurt, hit a two-run homer on a 93-mph Shields fastball in the second inning. He added a double in his second at-bat and a solo homer in the sixth. He was 4 for 4 in his first six innings as a big leaguer and finished 4 for 5.

Arencibia was the first Toronto player to homer in his first at-bat since Junior Felix in 1989.

The Rays had never given up more than six homers in a game. They also set a team record by allowing 48 total bases.

The Blue Jays have the major-league record with 10 homers in a game (all the more amazing because they only batted eight times) against the Orioles on September 14, 1987. Here is the box score from that game.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 4, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Toronto catcher Buck hurt

The Blue Jays are waiting to hear about the severity of a hand injury to All-Star catcher John Buck.

Buck was struck by a foul tip off the bat of Alex Rodriguez (who is apparently trying to ruin everyone's day today) in the fifth inning. He grasped his right hand in obvious pain and was attended by trainers before coming out of the game and being replaced by backup Jose Molina.

Hopefully it's nothing serious for Buck, who's having a really solid season (.277/.311/.502, 14 homers, 49 RBI). The good news, if you could call it that, is that if Buck does have to miss time it will likely give Jays fans their first look at top prospect J.P. Arencibia, who is lighting up Triple-A (.303/.360/.639, 31 homers, 79 RBIs) and knocking loudly on the big-league door.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: According to MLB.com (via Twitter ), Buck suffered a laceration of the thumb, X-rays were negative and he's listed as day-to-day.

UPDATE: Buck had three stitches in the thumb and has been placed on the disabled list. The Jays did not immediately say who would replace him on the roster, but Arencibia is a good bet.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com