Toronto Blue Jays Should Not give Henry Blanco R.A. Dickey Duty Alone
Henry Blanco is a great back-up catcher. The guy does a stand-up job on the field and is decent with the bat from time to time as well. The Toronto Blue Jays announced that Blanco would be the starting catcher next time R.A. Dickey is ready to toss his knuckleball fluttering towards the plate. That could be looked at as a smart choice but the Blue Jays should take care not to fall into the trap of only letting Blanco catch Dickey.
World class catchers have had trouble catching knuckleballers before. J.P. Arencibia has nothing to be ashamed about with his three pass balls from the opening day game while Dickey was on the mound. It happens sometimes with knuckleballers that the ball just gets away. I question how anyone could call it a pass ball (giving the catcher the responsibility instead of calling it a wild pitch) when by nature of the knuckleball, not even the pitcher himself knows where the thing is going. A pitch designed to be so wild it is unhittable should always be a wild pitch if the catcher misses it.
Moving on, Blanco and Dickey have a history together since Blanco was his personal catcher with the New York Mets. The Blue Jays have not come out and said that Blanco will be the personal catcher for Dickey and well they should not. Why is Blanco good at catching the knuckleball? Because he has done it a ton of times! For just a middle of the road team this would not matter. Who cares if the guy catches the same pitcher all year long every fifth day? Well, other than the starting catcher who surely cares a great deal.
The Blue Jays should care because they are planning on going to the post season. That can turn into a situation where Arencibia has to be in the game for offensive reasons but then has no experience catching the knuckler. Since they plan to still be playing well into October, the Jays had better get Arencibia some real game catching experience of Dickey for both their sakes. Otherwise they will nullify one of their best pitchers once the postseason comes and his catcher isn’t starting.