Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hot Commodity in Abundance

           The Blue Jays 40-man roster, once the trade is approved, will consist of 4 catchers that arguably could all be on major league rosters. J.P. Arencibia, John Buck, and young, highly touted prospect, Travis d’Arnaud should be starters in professional baseball, although some might argue Travis belongs in AAA because of his injury last year. Bobby Wilson is also on the 40-man, but he’s an above average fielding catcher who hasn’t been able to establish his bat at the major league level. Nevertheless, Wilson is a legitimate back up who can catch a game per week to give the starter a rest, without a brutal falloff. A major league club truly only needs 2 catchers, and to be frank, a major league club would have to be completely ignorant to keep more than 2 because of the value they hold caused by the rarity of legitimately good catchers.
            With that being said, Alex Anthopoulos will probably take calls from many teams interested in acquiring a major league catcher. The teams interested:

Texas Rangers:
             Unlike the other possible trading partners, the Rangers did have a better than league average catcher in 2012, but with Mike Napoli most likely moving out of town, the Texas Rangers will be in the market for a catcher.
            The Rangers will probably find Arencibia the most intriguing of the Blue Jays catchers, and not because they’re looking for the best catcher from Toronto—that’d be Travis D’arnaud. If the Rangers are at all interested in acquiring Travis from the Blue Jays, it would cost them Jurickson Profar. Jurickson is an untouchable for Texas, so the idea of trading for D’arnaud seems infeasible. I also don’t foresee Texas “cheeping out” and acquiring Buck rather than Arencibia because Buck has been terribly inconsistent, and less than lackluster since his move from Toronto after the 2010 season.
            The Blue Jays would want Matt Harrison from Texas in exchange for Arencibia, but a Holland-Arencibia swap seems more likely.

New York Mets
            The Major League average SLG% out of the catcher position last year was .400, and the second worst percentage from catchers on a team came from the Rays at .322. And then there is the Mets… their catchers slugged to a TOTAL of .285, and played to a negative WAR. With no catcher-in-waiting in the system, you have to believe the Mets will make a call to the Alex and the Blue Jays with regards to a catcher.
            With the position the Mets are in, not quite ready to contend, you would believe they’d be willing to take a risk on John Buck—hoping he returns to 2010 form. Or are the Mets tired of pitiful performance from the position and ready to make a big statement. I don’t know if Alex is willing to part ways with D’arnaud to the Mets, but if he is it’d take at least Zack Wheeler, and would somehow involve Ike Davis coming back as well. Although Buck would be worth a shot, I think that just like the Rangers, the Mets would show the most interest in Arencibia, because you know what you’re getting: a 20 HR guy with a mid-low .200’s batting average, and he’d come much cheaper than D’arnaud.
            Jonathon Niese would be considered fair value for Arencibia, but the Mets may not want to trade away their recently signed starter. A deal could ultimately be formed around a Davis-Arencibia swap.   

Pittsburgh Pirates:
          Although they have a prospect by the name of Wyatt Mathisen they still need a catcher if they seriously want to contend, because Mathisen is a long way away from the Majors and may never make it as a catcher, or at all. The Pirates catchers in 2012 were not good, which was to be expected from them.
            The Pirates have been completely reluctant to trade Jameson Taillon or Gerrit Cole from day one. With that being said, d’Arnaud is out of the question. The last thing the Pirates would want is to acquire a catcher, only for him to perform no better than their catchers of 2012, saying that I don’t see them being interested in Buck. Arencibia is a different story, although Pittsburgh doesn’t match up perfectly, Pittsburgh does have one player with similar value that would upgrade a position that was already upgraded this offseason—twice. Although the Blue Jays have already acquired Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis this fall, adding a legitimate starting second baseman that could be an allstar, would not only make Toronto's bench very good, it would add depth to the line up.  
            With the emergence of Brock Holt at second base, a traded based upon Neil Walker and J.P Arencibia seems feasible.

Who do you think should be traded?Leave your comments below.

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