Let’s get right to the point, Travis d’Arnaud is our catcher of the future and he will eventually be given the reigns from incumbent J.P. Arencibia. There is no other way around it as d’Arnaud is one of the top rated catching prospects in baseball, if not number one.
He has been our top prospect for two straight seasons and if not for a knee injury late last season I believe he would’ve been given an extended opportunity to show off his skills in the big leagues. With that said is this the season to hand over the ever important job of handling a pitching staff to a daisy fresh rookie?
Trade rumours have been swirling around JP Arencibia, who turns 27 this season since he was hitting homeruns in the minor leagues. There has always been someone seemingly better or ready to push him out the door yet here he is, fresh off another campaign where he hit would have hit 20+ HRs with 400+ PAs.
Let’s glance at his past two seasons to get an idea of what he can contribute:
While the occasional homerun is nice his plate discipline and on-base skills leave a lot to be desired. Given the way d’Arnaud has dominated minor league pitching over the past two seasons I am not sure he couldn’t out produce Arencibia almost immediately (in the triple slash line department) besides homeruns.
Let’s take a look at how Bill James projects his 2013 statistics:
|2013 Bill James||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||2B||HR||wOBA||wRC|
John Gibbons strikes me as a bit old school and I find it unlikely he would hand over a fragile pitching staff to a player with no major league experience but if the Blue Jays get an offer for JP Arencibia that would upgrade the pitching staff I think a platoon of Buck/d’Arnaud could be workable.
The most prominent trade rumours have come out of Texas where the Rangers are looking for a replacement for Mike Napoli (not that he was really a fully fledged catcher) and apparently have had eyes for the powerful bat of Arencibia.
The stadium in Arlington would be a near perfect fit for a bombs away approach and let’s be honest I don’t see Mr. Arencibia reinventing himself as a patient hitter anytime soon. He would be a solid addition to almost any club (without a blue chipper waiting in the wings like Toronto) and Texas in particular.
If he were dealt to the Texas Rangers what could the Blue Jays expect or want in return? I would have to guess that the Jays would be targeting pitching and more specifically a starting pitcher. The Rangers do have half decent depth there (is there ever enough?) with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Colby Lewis, Scott Feldman, Martin Perez Alexi Ogando though none of these starters are really top notch or without some risk of injury or regression.
Yu Darvish will definitely not be on the move considering the sizeable investment the Blue Jays Rangers made when they won the bidding process. He had a pretty solid rookie season (191 IPs, 10.4 K/9, 3.52 xFIP) all things considered and I think he can be better than what he showed in 2012.
Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz are both talented hurlers however both are coming off recent Tommy John surgery and aren’t expected to pitch until late into the upcoming 2013 season.
I have liked Derek Holland in the past and feel he still has potential to develop into a top of the rotation (#2-3) starting pitcher. However the Rangers may value him higher than his actual worth and his stats have never seemed to catch up with his perceived ‘stuff’. Martin Perez is a highly touted prospect who has disappointed over the past couple of seasons.
Alexi Ogando is a very talented relief pitcher and has had one pretty decent season as a starting pitcher in 2011 however he is not without durability concerns and certainly not a guy I would trade a 500+ PA catcher for.
I guess that leaves Matt Harrison.
Harrison is coming off another solid season in the Rangers rotation and is a serviceable guy sort of in the Ricky Romero mould. He won’t dominant or overwhelm opposing batters but he does a nice job keeping the ball in the yard and is a pretty decent southpaw to plug into a rotation.
Let’s look at his past two seasons:
Given their own issues with the starting rotation the Rangers might be hesitant to move anyone who can possibly give meaningful innings, especially one who is relatively consistent like Harrison. There is currently talk the Rangers are looking to extend Matt Harrison so whether that is posturing or not remains to be seen.
If this offer were on the table would you accept it if you were Alex Anthopoulos? I’d have to say yes but again I am not so sure the Texas Rangers can afford to lose a pitcher who has put up over 8 WAR in the past two years.
Would it perhaps be prudent to deal Travis d’Arnaud instead? It is not likely his value will ever be much higher than after two years atop most top prospect lists. Considering the hyper-inflated value of young, cost controlled assets this could be a great time to add a really good young arm (i.e. not Matt Harrison).
The thought process behind this is that JPA is basically ‘good enough’ behind the dish for the foreseeable future, has experience handling a staff and the return d’Arnaud would bring back would definitely be higher than what Arencibia would return.
Considering that I am writing this you know there is virtually no chance of this trade coming to fruition. Has any blogger ever predicted an Alex Anthopoulos transaction?
What do you guys think? Will we trade JPA? Should we trade JPA? Any (realistic) trade ideas or targets?