Tag: J.P. Arencibia

Texas Rangers: Ron Washington’s Best Moves of the 2014 Season

The 2014 baseball season hasn’t been the kindest to Ron Washington and his Texas Rangers.

After all, they have led the big leagues in trips to the disabled list, and at one point, they had 16 players on it for one injury or another. And with 13 players currently on the DL and sitting 26 games under .500, the club is just hoping to finish the rest of the season unscathed.

Washington has had next to nothing to work with for most of the season. He was forced into converting two relievers into starters and platooning a handful of players at second base, and his lineup cards soon became filled with prospects and minor leaguers.

And although the Rangers are tied with the Colorado Rockies for the worst record in baseball, Washington has done a decent job with the roster he has.

The eighth-year manager isn’t going to be taking home any awards this year, but he continues to show an ability to lead this team.

Here are his best managerial decisions of the 2014 season. They in no way rank with his back-to-back trips to the World Series, but they do carry some significance considering the team’s current standing.

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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Week 3’s Buy Low, Sell High Trade Advice

Last week, two of my three “Buy Low” picks, Carlos Gomez (10-for-18, HR, 3B in last week) and Homer Bailey (8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K in last start), came through while the third, Ike Davis, finally broke out on Friday with a two-homer game. One of my “Sell High” picks, Barry Zito (2.2 IP, 9 ER, 8 H), also made me look pretty smart in my first week of this feature.  

Just in case last week wasn’t a fluke, here’s some advice for next week  …


Sell High

J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto Blue Jays 

His six homers and 11 runs batted in this month shouldn’t be much of a surprise. He had eight homers and 19 runs batted in last May and also hit six more long balls in July. 

The other months when he’s not red-hot, however, are when you need to be concerned as an J.P. Arencibia owner. In April, June, September and October of 2012, he combined to hit three homers with 13 walks and 72 strikeouts in 204 at-bats.

You have to figure that cold streak will return very soon, and it won’t be the last of the season. The question is whether it’s worth it to ride out another homer binge. The catching depth is too deep to wait out the streaky Arencibia, in my opinion. Sell now. 


Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, Atlanta Braves 

Before anyone realizes Chris Johnson will go back to a platoon at third base with Juan Francisco once Freddie Freeman returns from the disabled list early next week, see if someone wants to give up something of value to acquire him and his .412 batting average (21-for-51). 

The 28-year-old is a career .282 hitter, coming off of a season in which he set career highs in homers (15), runs batted in (76), doubles (28) and several other categories. He’s a pretty good major league hitter.

Unfortunately, though, he’ll see most of his playing time in Atlanta versus left-handed pitching. The problem is that he doesn’t hit lefties (career .702 OPS) as well as right-handers (.780 OPS).


Buy Low

Victor Martinez, DH, Detroit Tigers

Slowly but surely, Victor Martinez appears to be getting more comfortable at the plate. He is, after all, coming back after missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL

In case any Martinez owner in your league doesn’t realize that and is disappointed with his 11-for-56 start without a homer, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to convince them to make a trade. 

Now, in case you did need a reminder, the 34-year-old switch-hitter has a .304 batting average since 2004. During that span, he’s averaged 18 homers, 90 runs batted in and 34 doubles per season. He can flat-out hit. He’ll figure it out soon enough.


Carlos Marmol, RHP, Chicago Cubs 

This may sound familiar if you were paying attention to the Chicago Cubs last year. Remember when Carlos Marmol’s shaky performance had him demoted from the closer’s role. He moved into a lower-leverage role and pitched much better. The “closer-by-committee” isn’t terrible, but no one in the group is exactly striking fear into opponents or making as much money as Marmol, so they eventually give him the job back. 

In 2012, he was really good in his second stint as closer (1.52 ERA, 12-for-13 in save opportunities, 29.2 IP, 20 H, 17 BB, 39 K). He’ll get another chance in 2013 for the same reasons. 

Kyuji Fujikawa, once he returns from the disabled list, gives the team another solid option in the ninth inning, but the Cubs would much rather see Marmol build his value and then trade him to open the spot first.

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MLB Spring Training Means JP Arencibia Is Back with Tim Kurkjian Impression

The sights and sounds of Spring Training remind us that the coming summer is going to be a wonderful time. They also remind us that J.P. Arencibia does a perfect Tim Kurkjian impression. 

On Monday (h/t Big Lead), baseball fans got to hear yet another rendition of the high-pitched enthusiasm that can only be delivered by Tim Kurkjian or the Blue Jays 27-year-old catcher of course. 

In a video best consumed with your eyes closed, the catcher now tasked with catching knuckleball ace R.A. Dickey, delivers one of the more peculiar peripherals upon baseball’s return. 

Of course, this isn’t the first time we have heard this particular impression.

Last year, the catcher managed to get both Terry Francona and Kukjian busting out the giggles on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight

Ryan Dempster got in on the fun last year and joked that some scouts seem to think about 25 to 30 players are actually doing Kurkjians around the league. 

Enter any locker room and you may just hear the high-pitched squeal of the analyst’s voice. 

Even Elliott Johnson attempted one in 2012, but the master continues to be Arencibia, who is trying to keep things light as the pressure of a pennant run is just around the corner. 

Since players you have never heard of are hitting camp and split-squad games are in full swing, now is as good a time as any to bust out those baseball impressions you have been saving up all winter. 

Follow me on Twitter for more MLB madness. 

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New York Mets Offseason Outlook: Catcher

The offseason is just starting to heat up, and the New York Mets are looking to make some moves. The team has a whole lot of weaknesses in their roster at the moment, and these next few weeks will prove to be crucial for the team’s future success.

One of the main needs for the Mets is at the catcher position. Josh Thole was the team’s starting catcher on Opening Day last season, and fans were hoping for him to solidify himself as the Mets catcher of the future. Sadly for them, that did not happen. Thole had a lackluster 2012 campaign, and might have even took a few steps backwards, as far as his talent goes.

His batting average plummeted and his strikeout rate went up. His defense didn’t look like it improved much either. Thole isn’t a bad player, but he just shouldn’t be the team’s starting catcher. He is a much better fit as a backup catcher, in my opinion. 

With that said, the free-agent market for catchers isn’t that deep this year, so the Mets will have to look hard to find someone. The top free-agent catchers are Mike Napoli and A.J. Pierzynski. Russel Martin was somewhere on that short list too, but he just recently signed a contract with Pittsburgh, so he is obviously not an option anymore.

Mike Napoli is a very solid player, and is in the top tier of catchers in the league. Because of the thin crop of catchers, Napoli has been garnering a lot of attention from teams all over. It has been confirmed that him and his agents have already engaged in talks with Seattle, Boston and Texas.

Napoli will most likely be awarded a contract of at least three years, worth $30 million, and don’t be surprised if it turns out to be more. He has a decent amount of pop behind the plate, and the Mets could desperately use some help in the power department. 

We will see how things look for Napoli and the Mets once the Winter Meetings progress. Napoli‘s price tag might be a bit high for what the Mets are looking for right now, but he is certainly worth a look. 

Pierzynski is also a pretty good option for the Mets, as the veteran knows what he’s doing behind the plate, and knows how to win. His age might raise a red flag though, but the truth is that he had a career year last season.

He is also a New York native, and he might want to make a homecoming, for all we know. That is just speculation though, and I don’t believe that the Mets should go too crazy for him. He is worth a look, but only at a reasonable contract.

That is basically it for the free-agent catchers that could be an upgrade for the Mets, so now let’s take a look at the trade market. 

One of the most intriguing options for the Mets is to talk to Toronto about their young catchers. The Blue Jays have just recently acquired veteran catcher, John Buck, from the blockbuster Miami deal. The arrival of Buck makes the Toronto catcher scene pretty crowded. 

J.P. Arencibia has been rumored to be on the trade market, due to the simple fact that the Jays don’t really have room for him anymore. Buck will probably be the Opening Day catcher for Toronto, and then it will be top prospect Travis d’Arnaud’s time to shine. 

The Jays are looking for pitching, and that is one of the few positions that the Mets are deep in. That makes these two teams look like a pretty great match. J.P. Arencibia is a power-hitting catcher and can hold his own behind the plate. He is also pretty young, at 26 years old.

A deal built around Jon Niese and J.P. Arencibia could definitely be in the works in the near future. That would help both teams out, and give the Mets the catcher that they have been looking for a long time. 

As always, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding this offseason, but the upcoming Winter Meetings will help give the fans a look into what direction the Mets want to go in. All of the previously mentioned options would be an upgrade for the Mets, and we can only hope that Sandy Alderson and Co. make something happen.

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Toronto Blue Jays Sign Catcher Jeff Mathis to 2-Year Extension

According to CBSSports, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year extension worth $3 million with a $1.5 million club option through 2015. 

Mathis, 29, had spent the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Angels before being sent to Toronto in 2012. In his career he’s batting .196/.256/.312, but he hasn’t been in MLB for eight years for his bat.

Mathis has been key behind the plate for the Blue Jays this season ever since the injury suffered by J.P. Arencibia, maintaining a .997 fielding percentage to go along with an A.L.-leading 39 percent rate of throwing out potential base stealers. 

With the signing, Toronto has opened the door for discussion about the starting job behind the dish in 2013.

With highly touted prospect Travis d’Arnaud on the verge of cracking the big club’s roster, much is to be said about whether he or Arencibia will be traded this offseason for potential pitching help. 

Arencibia is batting .242/.279/.466 in 2012, but is currently on the disabled list recovering from a fractured hand.  

Coming into 2012, d’Arnaud was the Jays’ No. 1 prospect, and he hasn’t disappointed, batting .333/.380/.595 for Triple-A Las Vegas. He was ranked 19th on MLB’s preseason prospects list.

This offseason just got a little more interesting for Toronto, a team who is hoping to put together a championship caliber team in the very near future. 

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5 Benefits Vladimir Guerrero Could Provide the Blue Jays in a Pennant Race

The signing of Vladimir Guerrero comes as a low-risk/high-reward move for the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million, which will be prorated based on his time with the club this season. 

At 37 years of age, it remains to be seen how much Vladdy has to offer.

He is probably Hall of Fame bound as he is a career .318 hitter with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBI. 

Adam Lind will likely be most affected if Guerrero can play his way onto the Blue Jays’ roster.  As of May 15, he is batting just .184 with three homers and 11 RBI in 31 games.

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Brett Lawrie and the Blue Jays Connect to Toronto Like No Team Before Them

There is a certain feeling in the air in Toronto about this year’s Blue Jays team. Jose Bautista is coming off his second straight season as the American League’s home run king while the Blue Jays’ farm system is jam-packed with top prospects such as Anthony Gose and Travis D’Arnaud. Finally, ownership has given Alex Anthopolous the resources to become a player in free agency.

This gives the Blue Jays a realistic chance at signing top free agents Prince Fielder or Yu Darvish. 

These are not exactly new ideas for the Blue Jays. They have had All-Stars before, their farm system has produced very good players such as Alex Rios and Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays have made big free agent signings in the past such as Frank Thomas and Troy Glaus.

However, this time around, it seems like this Blue Jays team is innately “Toronto” and connects to the fan base like no Blue Jays team before. 

The first, and arguably the most overlooked part of the rebirth of the franchise, is the logo and jersey rebranding. This offseason, the Blue Jays introduced a modernized version of the uniforms that they wore during their two World Series runs. To no surprise, this renaissance was met with rave reviews.

Although the uniforms are not exactly the same, they are close enough that a hat, jersey or T-shirt is surely on every Torontonian’s Christmas list. The uniforms remind fans of the magic from nearly 20 years ago; now fans can create a link between their former heroes to their current ones.

Each time Jose Bautista puts one over the fence in the Rogers Centre in his new number 19 split-scrit jerseys, fans will be reminded of the old number 19, 1993 World Series Most Valuable Player, Paul Molitor.

Secondly, the young Blue Jays stars have used social media to connect to the fan base in a way that former Blue Jays never had the opportunity to. J.P. Arencibia, Brett Lawrie, Ricky Romero and Jose Bautista have used Twitter to connect with a fan base in a way that resonates with them.

In fact, as I write this article, and watch the Maple Leafs, my Twitter feed shows a tweet from Arencibia stating, “Yeahhhhh and power play coming up!!!! Not over till the fat lady sings!!!” just as Phil Kessel scores.

It is no secret that nothing matters more in Toronto than the Maple Leafs, and to see the Blue Jays showing their support for the Leafs shows the City of Toronto that every player on the Blue Jays is one of them.

In fact, the Blue Jays have befriended the Maple Leafs through Twitter with the creation of #TeamUnit, a Toronto sports fraternity consisting of the city’s biggest young stars. Whether its asking fans for Fantasy Hockey advice, or tweeting pictures of Tyler Bozak at batting practice. The young Blue Jays are showing that they are proud to play for, and represent, the City of Toronto.



Finally, the Blue Jays’ rebirth is led by a national hero, British Columbia’s own, Brett Lawrie. Every city has and needs a player that represents its city. New York has Derek Jeter, the calm and collected Shortstop who grew up a Yankees fan and is unfazed by the big lights of New York City.

Minnesota has Joe Mauer, the St. Paul native who was an All-State athlete in three different sports. Although Lawrie is not from Toronto, he connects with the city through Canada’s national pride. The Blue Jays’ number one marketing scheme is to market themselves as Canada’s team.

They represent a nation, not just one city, as the only major league team in the country. It is only fitting that (although he hates to be called it) “The Saviour” comes from the other side of the country, but still connects with this team on a personal level.

The entire country loves Brett Lawrie and Brett Lawrie loves Canada. He has been willing to represent the country in international events such as the World Baseball Classic and the Baseball World Cup.

     Ultimately, unless the Blue Jays show that they can contend with the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League East, the excitement will eventually die out. However, the optimism that it can be done this year is higher than ever. That optimism will fill seats, and maybe give the team the moral support to play their first playoff game since Joe Carter “touched them all.”

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Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Projections & Prices: Fantasy Baseball Team Preview

Previously, The Fantasy Fix reviewed and gave projections for the 2011 Blue Jays rotation. Now it’s time to dive in and analyze these north-of-the-border bombers’ positional players.

Don’t forget to check out our 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

Mixed League Rotisserie Auction Values in Parentheses 

The Blue Jays led the majors in slugging percentage and home runs last year with 257, and the next closest was the Red Sox at 211. In fact they hit 56 more home runs than the vaunted Bronx Bombers.

The 2011 Blue Jay’s version is also loaded with possibilities and question marks. 

Can Jose Bautista hit 50+ HR’s again? Will Aaron Hill and Adam Lind regain 2009 form? Can rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia handle the pitching staff and show his minor league power at the next level? There is a ton of value here but at what price?

CATCHER: J.P.ARENCIBIA ($6) – The Blue Jays are giving the rookie a chance to start. He has shown big power numbers in the minors hitting .301 with 32 HR. His ADP is around the 14th catcher of the board in mixed league drafts. JP’s flying under the radar and will be a good source for HR/RBI totals. Grab him in the late rounds as a sleeper catcher.

FIRST BASE: ADAM LIND ($19) –  Keep an eye on your league’s games played by position rules because Lind only played 11 games at 1B and 16 in the OF. He is slated to handle the first base duties this year. Adam struggled mightily last year with a .237/23/72 line. He did have a better second half though hitting .267 and clubbing 13 home runs. I am projecting him to be more like the 2009 version with .265/28/100 totals. He will need to improve on the .117 BA against lefties to get there though. He’s a solid tenth round or later pick mixed league pick. 

SECOND BASE: AARON HILL ($23) – I like Hill to have a bounce back year after fighting through a miserable 2010. Hill will never again match the 2009 totals of .286/36/108 but the power is there as well as the .270 career batting average. He has huge value pick potential here also because of his down year last year. His ADP for 2nd basemen has been 11th this year in ESPN leagues. He’s a top ten second basemen you can wait awhile on. 

SHORTSTOP: YUNEL ESCOBAR ($9) – Esco is a solid second tier SS with an ADP around 18th round. He is another player with bounce back potential and will be a solid contributor in BA with a mix in of some power and runs scored. The call is yours here although I’m not a fan. I feel he is strictly a backup on your fantasy roster. 

THIRD BASE: JOSE BAUTISTA ($30) – Wow look at this stat line for 2010 .260/54/124, nine SB and 109 runs. Jose is a top three pick who qualifies as a 3B/OF in all formats. Temper your expectations on Bautista though; a regression in his production would be logical since season’s like 2010 are tough to reproduce. ADP is end of third round being the fifth ranked third sacker off draft boards. I like him to have another solid year but I’m curbing my expectations to more like .250/38/100.

OUTFIELD: TRAVIS SNIDER ($12) – The kid is 23 and has proven he can hit at all major league levels. He played only a half season last year posting 14 HR while hitting .304 in September. With the chance for an every day job Travis’ line projects around .265/25/80 making him a solid 12th round or later pick in mixed leagues.

RAJAI DAVIS ($15) – The move out of Oakland to a much more potent offense should boost Davis, who finished 2nd in the A.L. last year in stolen bases with 50. He is projected to lead off and will be a solid contributor in SB, BA and run categories. The knock on Rajai though is that he doesn’t reach base enough. Will the move out of Oakland cut down on his stolen base attempts? He is the 39th OF taken in ESPN drafts this year three rounds later than Brett Gardner. Scott Podsednik is also looming on the Blue Jay roster so check The Fantasy Fix updates to see if Davis nails down the job. He is a bargain just do not take him too early. 

JUAN RIVERA ($5) – Rivera came from Anaheim in the Vernon Wells trade. He posted pedestrian stats last year for the Angels .252/15/52. I see a possible 20 home run season in the making. Late round flier pick only.

SCOTT PODSEDNIK ($5) – Tough to assign value to Pods not knowing how much he will play. He has back to back 30 steal seasons but nagging injuries for the 35-year-old journeyman have hurt his value. The foot injury that sidelined him last year is still an issue this spring. He is going 20 spots higher in most mixed league drafts than fellow teammate Rivera. If he gets a starting gig, boost his value. I think his best years are behind him. 

DESIGNATED HITTER: EDWIN ENCARNACION ($8) – Encarnacion is eligible at third base. He is having a decent spring and has some sleeper value IF he is guaranteed playing time. He hit 21 HR in only 332 AB last year. He’s going in late rounds in many drafts. This is a late round pick that can win you a league if it pans out. Worth taking a chance on. 


Written exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com by John Marino 


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