Jeff Mathis Signs Extension, Should J.P. Arencibia Be Worried?

The Toronto Blue Jays smartly locked up a valuable backup catcher at a reasonable price when it was announced that Jeff Mathis has signed a 2-year, $3 million dollar extension today.  The news by itself is of course fairly unremarkable but if you look a little deeper (and enjoy conspiracy theories) the signing might be a pre-cursor to other bigger moves.

Heading into next season incumbent starter JP Arencibia would seem like the logical pick to once again get the lions share of at-bats however our top prospect also happens to play catcher and some feel he might be a better offensive and defensive catching option right now.

Travis d’Arnaud is one of the best overall prospects in baseball and had another monster season in Triple-A (303 PAs, 333/380/595 – .414 wOBA) while also displaying above average defensive skills.   A knee injury cut his season short or I would have fully expected a September cameo in Toronto.

With the Blue Jays completely focused on adding a starting pitcher (or two) could J.P. Arencibia be used as trade bait to possibly land a quality starting pitcher?  While Arencibia has his warts (namely a career .276 OBP) he is still a power hitting backstop who plays hard and is almost a lock for 20 homeruns per season with a full season of at-bats. 

His career .444 slugging percentage is a fine selling point if a team is looking for a young, cost controlled catcher who has a comparable starting pitcher available.  Or could the Blue Jays try and land an even higher quality of arm and dangle their top prospect Travis d’Arnaud knowing that they can live with what JP Arencibia/Jeff Mathis can provide?

What do you guys think?  Who would you be more willing to move depending on the return?

 

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5 Responses to “Jeff Mathis Signs Extension, Should J.P. Arencibia Be Worried?”


  1. 1 chief00 August 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Ha, I never even considered that the Mathis signing might be a precursor to a JPA move! I guess I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist… :) That said, the Jays also have Yorvit Torrealba in the fold albeit on a minor league deal for the rest of the season.

    I believe that everyone’s tradeable–I’m an Oilers fan: the Gretzky trade opened my eyes–so the more interesting question to me is, ‘who would JPA bring in return?’

    JPA has good power, drives in runs, and is a growing defensive catcher. That said, there are a bunch of small parks out there and I’m pretty sure he could pick up the skills necessary for 1B or could be a DH. His value jumps a bit when we realize that he can play 1B or DH, perhaps like Jesus Montero.

    He would be a serious C upgrade in HOU and, while they don’t have any attractive pitching, they have prospects (notably from the Pence deal).

    MIA has John Buck, who’s done very little since signing as a FA. Plus JPA is a Miami boy. It’s nice to consider a package of JPA++ for Josh Johnson.

    OAK traded Suzuki and he was replaced by Kottaras. They still need a FT catcher, imo. I don’t want Brandon McCarthy because he’s made of glass (see Bailey, Andrew). AJ Griffin+ or Sean Doolittle+ might be intriguing.

    The Cubs dealt Soto, leaving them with next-to-nothing. They have Jeff Samardzija, who’s very interesting. Garza? He just went on the 60-day DL.

    How ’bout JPA to the LAD for AJ Ellis and Scott Elbert, then flip Ellis to HOU for Bud Norris? Or JPA to PIT for James MacDonald? I don’t expect 36-year old Rod Barajas to be back…

    To me, the Nats are the most intriguing trade partner. JPA is a serious upgrade over all of their catchers combined and they have pitching depth. Also, Strasburg is unlikely to have the same innings restriction next year. Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, and John Lannan are the most likely options. Frankly, I believe that JPA is such a major upgrade that both Lannan and EJax would be a fair return for JPA+. That said, it piles up a few too many #3-#5 starters unless ‘flips’ are considered…

    I haven’t checked the contract status of a single player I’ve mentioned, but those are my preliminary thoughts. The ‘flip’ to HOU for Norris has already been sent to the recycle bin…

    • 2 AL Eastbound (@ALEastbound) August 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      I agree if they keep JPA I won’t be upset as catchers like him don’t grow on trees. He is a proven power source at the big league level and doesn’t kill you behind the plate.

      I have always liked Josh Johnson. I think Jordan Zimmerman is a pipe dream but you are right Washington has great depth on the mound. I like Detwiler a bit and he seems to be a swing man for them at this point.

      EJax and McCarthy are both free agents I believe and I like both of them as well (EJax more because he has shown he can stay healthy for the most part).

      I have always been intrigued by Bud Norris, solid K rate. Maybe a Brandon Morrow type reclamation??

  2. 3 Idiot Fan August 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I say Travis d’Arnaud is handed the reigns next season with Jeff Mathis serving as a mentor and backup.

    I think Arencibia could definitely score a half way decent SP.

  3. 4 Misty Barry August 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Mathis does not have the heart Arencibia has and will remain secondary. Arencibia is the only catcher in many seasons to grab my attention, and the Jays would be ridiculous to change that dynamic.


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