Blue Jays explain decision to cut Arencibia
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t determined to
part ways with catcher J.P. Arencibia after the former first round
pick suffered through a career-worst season in 2013.
But after reaching an agreement Monday on a two-year, $8 million
deal with former All-Star Dioner Navarro, Toronto decided not to
offer Arencibia a contract for 2014, making him a free agent.
”It was about the alternatives and what was out there, and if
we felt there was a chance to improve the club, we were going to do
it,” Anthopoulos said in a conference call Tuesday. ”We didn’t go
into the offseason with the decision of we were certainly going to
make a change.”
Arencibia hit 21 home runs in 2013, the second-highest total
among big league catchers, but posted career-low numbers in batting
average (.194), on-base percentage (.227) and slugging percentage
(.365). His team-high 148 strikeouts were also the most of his
While Anthopoulos said the decision to non-tender Arencibia
”was certainly not set in stone,” he acknowledged that the Blue
Jays need more consistent production from behind the plate.
They’ll hope to get that from Navarro, who hit .300 with a
career high 13 home runs in 240 at bats with the Chicago Cubs in
”We looked into everybody on the free agent market that we
thought could start and this was definitely the best fit for us,”
Anthopoulos said of Navarro, an All-Star with Tampa Bay in
”It’s nice to have a switch-hit bat, nice to have more of a
contact bat and someone that has some on-base skills,” he
Anthopoulos said cutting Arencibia loose was ”not an easy
decision at all,” and predicted that the 27-year-old would improve
”I do think he’s going to bounce back,” Anthopoulos said. ”He
was a little banged up, and the one thing about JP, he’s a very
durable guy, very tough, plays through a lot of injuries.
”He knows he’s certainly capable of more. I certainly believe
he’s capable of more.”
Anthopoulos conceded that Navarro has a poor reputation for
blocking balls in the dirt, but praised his relationship with
”Everyone really raved about his game-calling,” Anthopoulos
said. ”Guys love throwing to him.”
Navarro, who’ll earn $3 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015,
will get the bulk of the catching duties in Toronto, with Josh
Thole backing him up. Thole is also the primary catcher for
knuckleballer and 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.
Anthopoulos said he ”wouldn’t rule out” a move for another
catcher, but said the Blue Jays are content with the tandem.