It’s not every day that a 27-year-old catcher with 62 home runs over 3 seasons of play (369 games) becomes available on the free agent market in Major League Baseball, but this is exactly the case with former Blue Jays backstop J.P. Arencibia.
C J.P. ARENCIBIA was non-tendered and becomes a free agent.
— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) December 3, 2013
The announcement that Arencibia was non-tendered (i.e. not offered a 2014 contract) by the Blue Jays doesn’t come as a surprise, as it was widely expected that Toronto would either trade him or let him walk after inking Dioner Navarro to a multi-year deal on Monday. However, that doesn’t change the wild fact that he is now on the market for the highest bidder, despite being one of the bigger prospects in baseball just a couple years ago.
Arencibia has the aforementioned power that makes any scout drool, but his real issue has been the “hit” tool over his 3+ year MLB career. In 1,392 plate appearances, he has an on-base percentage of .258, which is utterly unacceptable at any position, not to mention for a below-average defensive catcher. His power can certainly make up for some short-comings as an overall hitter, but he’d have to be a 30-40 home run hitter to get past a .258 OBP.
Nonetheless, there is sure to be interest in his services, as anyone with his pure skills at his age will be in high demand. It will be very interesting to see where Arencibia lands.