September 24, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) singles in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 4 - 1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Mets Potential Trade Target: J.P. Arencibia

In his recent article for the Boston Globe, Nick Carfado talked about the developing trade market for catchers, specifically talking about Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the three catchers sitting on the Blue Jays roster. Carfado said interest is starting to form for Salty, and he’s the one more likely to be moved than Ryan Lavarnway; the Red Sox see the newly acquired David Ross as a potential mentor for their 25-year-old backstop, so they would be hard-pressed to trade him. In Toronto, their latest blockbuster trade with the Marlins have netted them an extra catcher, adding John Buck to J.P. Arencibia and Travis D’Arnaud. The team seems open to dealing any of the three, but prefers to trade one of their two incumbents. So, this week I will be looking at the potential trade targets the Mets could go after north of the border, starting with Arencibia.

Selected in the first round (21st pick) of the 2007 amateur draft, J.P. Arencibia made his MLB debut in August 2010. He hit .143/.189/.343 in 37 plate appearances and 11 games played that season, then started seeing the majority of the playing time behind the plate for the Jays, as he’s played 100+ games in both 2011 and 2012. Although his batting average hasn’t been the highest (.219 BA in ’11, .233 BA in ’12), he’s shown a propensity to hit with power, as he’s slugged 41 homers over his last two seasons, while also driving in 134 runs. Since his debut in 2010, his offensive WAR has increased each season, from -0.2 to 1.4.

Does he has the ability to hit for a respectable average? Before becoming a permanent member of the Major League roster in Toronto, Arencibia spent parts of five seasons in the minor leagues, and put together a .275/.319/.507 line. He’s spent most of his time in Triple-A (220 GP out of 410 career games), and hit .267/.320/.530. His career in the minors included three seasons of 20+ homers and 75+ RBI. So, I think he has the ability to turn into a solid overall hitter with some more MLB experience.

By looking deeper into his Major League statistics, he’s shown growth through his first three years, even though his walk-rate decreased and his strikeout-rate increased in 2012. Arencibia’s BABIP increased from .255 to .281  last season, while his line drive rate has increased from 12.5% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2012 and his fly-ball rate has decreased from 58.3% to 45%.

This would be a fantastic pick-up for Sandy Alderson and the Mets for 2013 and moving forward. He’s a right-handed hitting catcher with some power that could fill the void on their current roster, and still has plenty of room to improve. At the young age of 26, he’s still under team control until he becomes a free agent in 2017, and doesn’t become arbitration-eligible until 2014. In his column for the Globe, Carfado said the White Sox could be in the market for another catcher if they’re unable to retain A.J. Pierzynski (which looks likely) and could enter the fray to trade for one instead of looking at other free agent options.

What would the Blue Jays’ price potentially be to move Arencibia? Gavin Floyd‘s name was thrown around as a type of pitcher Toronto would be interested in to solidify the back-end of their rotation. For the Mets, who would be the equivalent? Michael Baron of MetsBlog said Dillon Gee would be a pitcher of comparable talent to offer up in a trade; he should be the more attractive trade candidate, as he would be under team control until 2017, whereas Floyd becomes a free agent after next season.

If this were a perfect world, Alderson would make a deal with the Jays here; they would be able to get the catcher they need to compliment Josh Thole, while also gaining a player that could develop into a solid everyday Major League catcher shortly. If I were Sandy Alderson, the Blue Jays would be getting plenty of calls from me regarding their available backstops. As if the Toronto-Miami mega-trade didn’t help New York enough by weakening the Marlins roster for the immediate future, it’s also created another potential trade partner this winter.

Don’t worry,we’ll take a look at Travis d’Arnaud later in the week, the 23-year-old catching prospect with a world of talent that was one of the major players moved in the trade that netted the Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay.

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Tags: J.P. Arencibia New York Mets Travis D'Arnaud

  • Jeremy Russell

    Dillon Gee would not be valuable enough for the Jays to trade JP. The Jays are looking for either depth at starting pitching, or a #1-2 starter. Considering that Dillon Gee would fit in at the #5 spot, he would not be worthy of trading JP Arencibia. The Jays are probably willing to trade JP, but only for the right price.

    • Joe Turner

      JP for Jon Niese

    • ajd121

      JPA for Niese is laughable. Any trade for Niese starts with D’Arnaud.

    • Jeremy Russell

      … and ends with d’Arnaud.

      Jon Niese had an FIP of 3.80 last year. Decent, but not what the Jays are looking for. When some people suggest a Ian Kisnler for Travis d’Arnaud straight up trade, Niese is not enough.

    • ajd121

      Niese was top 25 among qualified starters in ERA, Whip, xFIP, and had the 8th best QS%. opposing players had an OPS of just .663 good for 13th best in the majors and he is a young left handed pitcher signed to a very favorable contract. If I were the BlueJays and could decide between Niese and Kinsler, I would choose Niese.

    • Jeremy Russell

      The Jays biggest weakness is 2B, their rotation is second best in the AL East. The only reason they would acquire Niese is for more depth. If the Jays want depth, they will get a guy that is closer to JA Happ, so they dont give up too many prospects, if they want a #1-2 they will trade/sign someone like Greinke. Since Niese fits neither of those, it doesnt make sense.

      Now for math:

      Toronto’s curent 2B is Maicer Izturis, last year he had a fWAR of 0.7. Toronto’s current 5th starter is JA Happ, last year he had a fWAR of 1.8. Ian Kinsler had a fWAR of 3.2 (in a down year). Jon Niese had a fWAR of 2.4. Lets be conservative and say that Ian Kinsler has a war of only 4.5 (considering he had a war of 7.5 in 2011, this is reasonable), that is a 3.6 fWAR improvement. Jon Niese is a 0.6 fWAR improvement. The value of a win according to Fangraphs is $4.5 million. Ian Kinsler’s value improvement would be $16.2 million over the incumbent 2B. Jon Niese’s on the other hand is a measly $2.7 million. The difference between the two is $13.5 million.

      Jon Niese’s contract breaks down to an average of $5 million a year over the next 5 years. Ian Kinslers contract breaks down to $14 million a year over the next 5 years. The difference is $9 million. You subtract the contract difference from the fWAR difference and you get $4.5 million. Boom, right there, Ian Kinsler is worth $4.5 million more per year (which is 1 win). Considering 2B is the hardest position to upgrade, and the fact that there are other SP that could fill in depth, I would go with Kinsler.

    • jaysbooster

      Neise for Darnaud. You are dreaming. Darnaud would probably fetch Halladay back…

    • TdotJays

      JP for Niese is a lopsided trade for Mets…a young power hitting catcher for a soft tossing lefty who avg’d only 90 mph and gets padded stats playing in a pitchers ballpark. Niese would get lit up in AL East. JP plus 2 low level prospect for Dickey at the very least. Even that’s not worth it if Dickey doesn’t sign an extension.

    • ajd121

      3.74 ERA at home 3.04 ERA on the road this year for Niese, nice try.

    • TdotJays

      if he has a 3.74 ERA at home then if he comes to Rogers Center he would get lit up. We already have a soft tossing lefty in Buehrle who has struggled against the AL East…we don’t need two of em. JP I feel is about to have a break out year. Better to hold on to him than trade for what would be a #5 starter in our rotation.

  • Ikarn Johal

    Not sure if Dillon Gee will be enough to acquire JPA. Sure Alderson could offer more for JPA but if Travis D’Arnaud is available then why not target him? JPA strikes out too much and doesn’t get on base enough. Travis D’Arnaud is the better all around player (power, contact, defence) and who knows, might even get a discount on him if the Jays want to win now.

    • Jeremy Russell

      The Jays wont provide a discount on d’Arnaud. Although most teams would sell their prospects at a time like this, Toronto wants to remain competitive for the future.

    • jaysbooster

      Discount for D’arnaud. Is that a joke? Neise is not enough for JPA. What I would look to do if I were the Jays I would be looking at a Rasmus for Neise swap. They could then look to do a JPA + a prospect for Kinsler. Could you imagine a Reyes, Kinsler, Bautista, Encarnacion, Melky, Lawrie, Lind, Bonifacio, Darnaud/Buck line up??? That is deadly. Match that with that starting rotation and you have a major world series contender at least on paper.

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  • Dennis

    Good luck getting d’Arnaud for Niese. Surplus demand for pitchers in the market but no way the Jays give up their top prospect (and the top catching prospect in baseball according to BA) for a 3/4 SPer. Much rather sign Brandon McCarthy…

  • Thanksalot

    Arnaud is not in any way available. And this article likes JPA wayyyyyyyyy too much — he’s not getting any better at this point and the way he swings will always hit around .220. Defence is also pretty junky. You have to like 20 HR power a LOT to call Arencibia an excellent pickup. Gee just isn’t that much better than Happ as a 5th starter so T.O. probably wouldn’t bother sending a guy they developed out of town for more.

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