Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Doumit at-bat against the Blue Jays in 2013.
Whether or not J.P. Arencibia should be the Blue Jays starting catcher in 2014 is a highly contested battle amongst fans. Arencibia, like many Blue Jays, performed below expectations in 2013 and the argument from his doubters is often that he is simply not good enough to lead a major league club.
Arencibia hit .194/.227/.365 in 138 games for the Blue Jays last season. He was replaced every fifth day when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took the mound, and found himself unable to get into a groove all season.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos has said that he doesn’t think Arencibia will return in a back up role. So if he is on the team in 2014, he will start. But the question is: Will he be on the team?
If he is not, who will find themselves behind the plate for the Blue Jays? To begin with, let’s start within the organization where A.J. Jimenez has been on a fast-track to the major leagues since returning from injury last year. He started the year in Single-A and was promoted all the way to Triple-A before the year was done. Look for him to make his MLB debut in either 2014 or 2015.
Elsewhere, the catchers market is quickly drying up. Carlos Ruiz just signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, but one possible acquisition may be Minnesota Twins catcher Ryan Doumit. The 34-year-old catcher has one year left on his contract worth $3.5 million and hit .247/.314/.396. Doumit brings a bit of flexibility to the table as he has experience playing first base, catcher, and both of the corner outfield positions.
An intriguing name that has been surfacing in the free agent market is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. At 28-years-old, Saltalamacchia represents a considerable upgrade from Arencibia and a long term acquisition that wouldn’t cost the organization any personnel. His expected contract would be somewhere between three to four years and in the $25-40 million dollar range. If the Blue Jays are able to sign him, it will almost certainly make Arencibia expendable.