FanPost

Is this Offseason the Right Time to Trade J.P. Arencebia?

*I should start this with any player could be made available given the right offer this is meant to examine a pro-active versus re-active approach to this particular player, also I will not be proposing specific trades in this post*

We've been told by JP himself that he is not going anywhere and that we should #GetUsedToIt but his name continues to be bandied about in trade talks both on sites like mlbtraderumors and on this site as recently as yesterday when K931 proposed moving him in a deal for R.A. Dickey. I myself have been guilty of suggesting leveraging JPA into a package with Texas involving Holland and/or Ogando.

This got me thinking if this offseason is in fact the right time to move JP. The purpose of this is post is not to examine his statistical value or surplus value but to examine a simple pro/con argument for the trade of J.P. Arencebia.

At a base level we know what J.P. brings to the table. He is an everyday major league catcher with average defense, above average power and below average OBP. He has 4 years of control remaining and there is no suggestion that he will break the bank of any team in his arbitration years starting in 2014. In fact I would imagine many teams would seek to extend him through his arbitration years and a few FA following this season (ala Morrow). So let's start with the Pro's to moving J.P.:

Pro's:

Depth in the Organization:

- Travis D'arnaud is our #1 Prospect, likely the top catching prospect in all of baseball, and he appears to be major league ready assuming he is healthy and has his timing back following his knee injury. He projects to be a better hitter then JP albeit with less power.

- John Buck and Bobby Wilson are on the Major League roster and could provide a serviceable 1-2 in the interim and in fact John Buck, to spite his offensive troubles and high salary, provides unique insights and defensive value as he is the only Jay catcher to have caught 4 of the 5 starters previously.

- We also have Jimenez who projects to be a high level defensive catcher that could be a very good back-up to D'arnaud as early as 2014, and Nessy who projects similar to J.P. in the sense that he is a poor OBP but above average power hitter.

The Market:

- Catching appears to be thin, with many contending teams looking to upgrade at backstop. Texas, the Rays, and the A's just to name a few could certainly use a young-cost effective, power hitting catcher and after the few free agent catchers sign, they might be willing to overpay.

J.P.'s Value:

- With 2 years of service time JP is a known commodity but with 4 years of team control left. With the market shortage of catchers, his improved defense and established power, this may be the peak of J.P.'s trade value, barring a breakout year where his OBP improves drastically.

Fill Another Need:

- The Marlins trade as well, the signing of Izturis and Cabrera have addressed many of the Jay's off season needs. It still seems however that we are in need of one more SP. I don't think we should pigeon hole that need into a frontline guy, versus a mid rotation, even a valuable swingman (a role previously served by Carlos Villaneuva) could help address SP depth. There's also been speculation about an upgrade at 2B, or upgrade in the DH spot. Overall, J.P. could provide value by helping us fill another need

Summary of Pro's:

- We can see why this continue to be discussed, there is considerable rationale for making a deal to help the ball club with J.P. as the centre of the package, but it is not without pitfalls (many of which pair with the Pro's)

Con's:

Depth in the Organization:

- This was also a pro, but as many have mentioned, D'arnaud does not have a single major league AB under his belt and we don’t know the full length of his injury recovery. If we move J.P. and D'arnaud struggles, falling back on Buck and Wilson could make for an awful dead-spot in our line-up

Role (and Value) on the Current Roster:

- J.P. appears to be a valued member of this team both to management and his teammates. While many of us lament his struggles to get on-base, we have also seen tremendous improvement in his defensive skills and love his power. He is familiar with much of the pitching staff and this should not be underestimated. I also often wonder if some coaching on his hitting and approach at the plate could help him develop. He seems consistent with much of the team in favouring trying to hit the Longball all the time.

The Potential Cost – Effective Two-Headed Monster:

- Is there a reason D'arnaud and JPA can't coexist on this team? If D'arnaud's bat is what it appears to be, this team could use the DH spot, Catcher and (as some rumours suggest 1B) to keep both of these guys busy and in the line-up. To have J.P. in his arbitration years while Travis is in his "league minimum" years could provide tremendous stability and surplus value. Arencebia could be utilized in a trade later as Jimenez gets closer to the majors if he continues to project as a high value defensive back-up.

The Ability to Fill Needs in Other Ways:

- Utilizing J.P. in a trade is one way to fill a need but certainly not the only way. There are still some appealing buy-low FA pitchers available (Marcum, McCarthy), some higher end guys like Sanchez, Haren or Jackson, we have depth in other spots on the roster. I'm simply suggesting that it may be detrimental to jump to a trade to JPA as the only way to round out this roster.

Summary of Con's:

- Simply put, don't ignore these, you have to give value to get it for sure, but perhaps he should not be shopped so aggressively that you lower his value and forget these potential pitfalls

So that's my pro/con list, after putting it on paper what are my thoughts:

- Arencebia may be at the peak of his value and our most expendable major league piece

- J.P. Arencebia needs to be respected for the asset he is in this market and conversely on this team, I would be willing to explore other opportunities to make the team better (mostly free agency on the pitching side) before I pulled the trigger on an Arencebia trade

- There is a tonne of appeal to a D'arnaud/Arencebia tandem

- Moving J.P. is not without risks

- Lastly, I would wait a little until the market settles and see who might be willing to overpay before I pull the trigger on the trade. AA has addressed many of the team's needs and provided a position of strength for future negotiations so that he doesn't need to overpay in any deal involving Arencebia

If you have read through this whole piece I appreciate it and now thankfully it is your turn to answer the initial and several other questions:

Is this Offseason the Right Time to Trade J.P. Arencebia? Why? What are you looking for in return? If you did, does D'arnaud get 6 weeks in AAA or is he in the show on opening day?

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