Wait, there are actually teams interested in J.P. Arencibia?
That was probably the general reaction from the Toronto Blue Jays fan base after Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports mentioned the rumor earlier this week, and for the most part, I’d say that the incredulity was followed by laughter, then depression at the fact that the team might actually be stuck with him for a while.
Then again, perhaps the idea deserves a little more attention. After all, Rosenthal’s work has been rock solid, so there’s good reason not to dismiss it, despite the unlikeliness of it all.
Still … multiple teams interested in the Bluebirds’ backstop? The same guy who posted a .592 OPS, -57 wRC+ and -0.6 fWAR in spite of his considerable home run power that led him to hitting 21 balls out of the park in 2013? Even if it is the case that other organizations might see him as a bounce-back project — after all, you can’t teach power — it sounds like a stretch.
But let’s just say that there’s some fire to that smoke, who might some of these teams be?
Though a fake tweet kind of debunked the whole thing, the Philadelphia Phillies might have actually made sense … at least if you consider the mixed track record of Ruben Amaro Jr., anyway. It was probably always too good to be true that Toronto might have been able to convince any team to give up a talent like Domonic Brown for JPA, but with the Phillies potentially needing a catcher if Carlo Ruiz lands elsewhere, it was at least a nice fleeting thought.
There’s also the Los Angeles Angels, who are rumored to be looking to offload a catcher for some pitching. The Blue Jays were linked to both Chris Ianetta and Hank Conger, and it wouldn’t be crazy to see a scenario where the two sides swap backstops with Toronto throwing in Arencibia as a secondary part of a deal that would also involve a pitching prospect.
It’d be nice to think that such a deal might be expanded to include more players like second baseman Howie Kendrick, but whether GM Alex Anthopoulos can swing another major blockbuster deal with a fellow would-be contender, when the Blue Jays’ desperate needs are so apparent, is a little questionable.
Then there’s the nightmare scenario where Arencibia gets traded to the Boston Red Sox (after Jarrod Saltalamacchia moves on), becomes an All-Star and wins a World Series with John Farrell at the helm, but that can’t happen … right?
One particularly intriguing team that hasn’t generated much buzz in rumors this offseason but could definitely be in play are the Colorado Rockies. With talks of Wilin Rosario finally moving from behind the plate to first base (or corner outfield) heating up this summer, the team has already been linked to Ruiz as a replacement.
Should they lose that bidding war to a mystery team, would they be one of those teams that’d be interested in Arencibia? The power potential is certainly a fit with the home park, he would come much cheaper than Ruiz, and the Rockies do have infielders Jonathan Herrera and Josh Rutledge who might both be trade chips that would as least help Toronto rebuild their bench and push the Ryan Goins/Maicer Izturis duo that’s set to take over second base in 2014.
It sounds like there’s a deal in there somewhere, but as Arencibia isn’t likely to be any team’s first choice for a catcher, the Blue Jays will likely have to wait for a couple of backstops to sign before the situation becomes clearer.