The Blue Jays signed a catcher and JP Arencibia will not be returning to Toronto. Does anything need to be said? Well actually yes because the new catcher is actually fairly useful as well, both offensively and defensively.
A rumoured acquisition target has actually come true today when the Toronto Blue Jays announced the signing of catcher Dioner Navarro to a 2-year $8MM dollar contract. Fans of the team have grown disenchanted with the body of work from former starting catcher JP Arencibia and are glad there is a new sheriff in town so to speak.
My initial reaction was “alright I like this signing” and after looking at the thin free agent market and alternatives I am happy the Blue Jays brought in a serviceable backstop at a reasonable rate. Navarro, who will turn 30 at the beginning of the season is expected to be the starting catcher in 2014. Steamer projects a pedestrian 2014 slash line of 254/321/398 in 334 PAs – good for a .316 wOBA.
That isn’t amazing however do not forget he is replacing JP Arencibia who managed to post a horrendous .259 wOBA & 57 wRC+ in a full season of games last year. I think the projection systems will punish Navarro, deservedly so, for a few putrid offensive seasons prior to last.
Last season Navarro slashed a very fine 300/365/492 in about a half seasons worth of plate appearances (266 PAs) for the Chicago Cubs. He cracked 13 HRs and walked at an 8.6% clip while only striking out in 13.5% of his at-bats.
Defensively UZR has pegged him as above average every season in the bigs. Any way you slice it this is a huge upgrade for the Blue Jays. Hopefully he will have a shiny new starting pitcher joining him over the next few weeks. Oh and in case were wondering about the future of JP Arencibia, he will not be a Toronto Blue Jay next year according to MLBTR.
Sadly, in the end I think this signing is more about who is not coming back than who was added. That is just how pathetic JP Arencibia was in 2013.