The Texas Rangers are in Surprise, Ariz. to begin their preparations for the 2014 season. While there, the Rangers and their fans will be getting familiar with some new additions to last year’s team. One of the new faces will be catcher J.P. Arencibia. The question is, what will his role be for this year’s club?
Arencibia spent his first four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a highly touted prospect and most expected huge numbers from him. However, it just never quite panned out for him. He had decent power numbers, hitting 64 home runs in four seasons, but his career batting average is an extremely low .212.
Texas had expressed interest in Arencibia in the past, and when Toronto released him after last season the Rangers quickly made him an offer. Texas believes that a change of scenery could be just the thing that brings out Arencibia’s potential and jump-starts his career.
Arencibia will be competing with Geovany Soto for playing time at the catcher position. Most who follow the Rangers expect Soto will win the starting job—at least to start the season. Soto knows the Rangers’ pitching staff because he has been in the organization for a few seasons.
Even if Soto wins the starting job, that does not mean Arencibia can’t contribute as well. Arencibia could catch a game or two a week to give Soto a break. He could also DH some for Texas. Last season, Manager Ron Washington showed that if he has two catchers hitting well he is not afraid to play one at DH.
Arencibia will spend the spring getting to know his teammates and attempting to show Washington that he has something valuable to contribute. Washington has shown that he doesn’t care about how one played in the past. If you play well for him, he will find a spot for you in his lineup. If Arencibia has a good spring, I believe he will be in the lineup early and often.