Tag Archives: J.P. Arencibia

Backup of the future

Watching last night’s Jays game, I was a little surprised to see both Jose Molina and J.P. Arencibia in the starting lineup. “What happens if Molina goes down?” I thought to myself. “Is John Farrell really OK with giving up the DH spot that easily?”

“Wait… isn’t Brian Jeroloman on the bench? He can’t be, can he? I mean, he’d have to have played by now, and I’m sure I’d have heard about that.”

The head cold I’ve been dealing with was enough to keep me on the couch and keep me from looking it up, but waiting over night saved me from doing any research. John Lott answered my questions for me.

Yes, Brian Jeroloman was on the bench. He has been since Aug. 23. And no, he hasn’t seen any game action yet.

Normally, when a young player gets a call to the majors and spends a lot of time on the bench, there’s a call for him to get some playing time to “see what we’ve got in him.” Jeroloman is different though.

Alex Anthopoulos said at the time of his call-up that Jeroloman wouldn’t play. Farrell has said that Molina and Arencibia have earned the little playing time that remains. The coach and GM have stuck to their word — so much so that it’s sometimes hard to remember that Jeroloman is in fact in the major leagues right now.

So, if he’s not playing, why are the Jays paying Jeroloman a major-league salary to sit on the bench? The guy is almost definitely not Toronto’s catcher of the future, after all.

But that may be the exact reason he’s with the big club right now.

With Arencibia holding his own to the point that there’s some minor rookie-of-the-year movement behind him and with the steam train that is Travis D’arnaud making his way through Toronto’s farm system, it would seem that the best possible outcome for Jeroloman — in a Jays uniform, anyway — is the role of backup catcher.

What better way to prepare for that role than riding the pine? Well, playing would obviously be better. But if the options are going home or travelling with and learning the art of calling a game from Molina, a guy who’s pretty good at catching, then travelling, learning and enjoy the post-game spread is probably the way to go.

And with Molina’s expiring contract and Type-B status, there’s a chance Jeroloman may even be the backup catcher as soon as next season.

So, as the Jays get ready for their final game of the season this afternoon, it’d be nice if Jeroloman got a little playing time to, you know, see what we’ve got in him.

1 Comment

Filed under Toronto Blue Jays

The Age of Aaron Cibia

As the Chicago White Sox roll into town for tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays, it would be easy to look at it as just another late-May game. But there’s more to it than that. Take a look at the lineup:

On first glance, it may not look particularly interesting, but take another look and you might catch it. Brandon Morrow is starting and Jose Molina is NOT catching.

For years now, J.P. Arencibia has been Toronto’s Catcher of the Future. He’s played well so far this year — both behind the plate and at it (128 OPS+ !!!1) — and now he’s broken Molina’s hold on being Morrow’s personal catcher.

This is really the last step in removing the Catcher of the Future title; I think we can officially say that Arencibia is the Catcher of the Now.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Toronto Blue Jays

Aaron Cibia!!1

When John Buck got hurt, the Tao of Stieb beat me to the punch on Twitter to register his excitement about J.P. Arencibia getting his shot with the big boys. For this, he was called an idiot. Who’s the idiot now?

Without doing any research at all, I’m going to go ahead and call Aaron Cibia’s MLB debut the best of any player ever.

In case you missed it, here’s the video of his amazing day at the plate.

The most impressive thing that Arencibia did, to me anyway, was to make the usually-moribund crowd at the SkyDome come to life. Sure, the 8 home runs the Jays hit in total likely had something to do with it as well, but make no doubt: Arencibia was the star of the show. Aaron Hill also hit two dingers, but didn’t earn a standing ovation for every at bat. The Catcher of the Future Now even earned a bit of a standing O when he flied out to right in his last at bat.

I stuck around for a little while after the game and I saw the nice moment J.P. had with his mom. Their hug was nice, but as I saw Mrs. Arencibia walking up the aisle, she was wiping tears from her eyes. As much as a scene involving two strangers being emotional about something that ultimately doesn’t matter can touch me (and that’s an unreasonable amount) it did. I’m happy as a Jays fan, but I’m even happier for J.P. and his mom.

One more thing

I usually watch the games from the 500 level. The seats are good enough and cheap enough that I’m more than happy to watch from above. Today though, I used my voucher from the relocated Phillies series and got a prime seat behind the Tampa dugout. Other than the Jays offensive masterpiece, the most enjoyable part of the day for me was watching Yunel Escobar play shortstop.

Watching from the 500s, you can see the great plays he makes. Watching close up, you can see how much fun he has doing it.

Great players are impressive, great players who play with a smile on their face are something else entirely. Escobar has fun out there and I love it. Watching him toy with B.J. Upton when Upton was on second was great fun for me and it looked like for both of them as well.

If Arencibia and Escobar are both here for the long haul (and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be), we Jays fans are going to be in for a real treat.

1 Comment

Filed under Toronto Blue Jays