Right before the midnight Eastern deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Toronto Blue Jays announced via a media release that they have non-tendered catcher Bobby Wilson, who would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.
Wilson was claimed on waivers on October 22 from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with reliever Chad Beck being designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Wilson. When the Blue Jays protected A.J. Jimenez from the Rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40-man roster on November 20, it left the club with five catchers on its roster (Wilson, Jimenez, John Buck, Travis d'Arnaud, and J.P. Arencibia). This move frees up a roster spot, allowing the club flexibility in the upcoming Winter Meetings to sign a free agent or claim a player on waivers.
Wilson, 29, served as the Angels' primary backup catcher for the past three seasons hitting .208/.272/.321. Although the former 48th-round pick is light-hitting at the plate, he is a solid defender behind it.
He was briefly seen as a possible backup to starter J.P. Arencibia when 2012 Blue Jays backup Jeff Mathis was sent to the Marlins for John Buck as it was expected that Buck would be flipped to another team. Since Wilson is out of options, he would have to be exposed to waivers in order to be sent to the minors. I picked him to be a likely candidate to be designated for assignment when the Jays needed roster space to protect Jimenez and Ryan Goins, but the club chose to designate Mike McDade and Joel Carreno instead.
This move potentially leaves the 2013 Blue Jays without a former Angels catcher--possibly spelling the end of an era. The Jays have had a former Angel catcher for five of the past seven seasons: Bengie Molina caught in 2006, Sal Fasano was behind the plate in 2007, Jose Molina was on the team in 2010 and 2011, and Mathis was in Toronto this season. Of course, Toronto also had Mike Napoli transiently in the 2010 offseason.