The Toronto Blue Jays finally made their first big move of the offseason by agreeing to sign catcher Dioner Navarro to a two-year $8 million contract pending a physical.
Various media outlets immediately saw this as a clear-cut sign that starting catcher J.P. Arencibia’s time in Toronto appears to be over. Last month, GM Alex Anthopoulos expressed on Prime Time Sports that the club has never considered a scenario where Arencibia would be a back-up option as Josh Thole currently fits well in that role, specifically in managing R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball.
The 2013 season for Arencibia amounted to a layer of frustrations on and off the field. Although he racked up 21 home runs, the starting catcher for the past three seasons hit just .194 with a .227 on-base percentage. He also made headlines after he took personal shots at Sportsnet analysts who criticized his performance and growth as a player and, soon after, he made the decision to leave Twitter with this parting message to fans:
I give way too much of myself to have others try and make me out to [be] something/someone I’m not.
Toronto has until 11:59 p.m. ET tonight to tender Arencibia’s contract along with Brett Cecil, Colby Rasmus and Esmil Rogers, otherwise, they will immediately become free agents. It is more likely the club will tender him a contract, which would allow Anthopoulos to upgrade other positions by exploring the trade market with a team that believes in Arencibia’s ability to produce the solid numbers of his previous years.
Navarro, 29, is a switch-hitting, 10-year veteran who saw his career-best offensive season with the Chicago Cubs in 2013, hitting .300/.365/.492 with 13 home runs in 266 plate appearances.