It’s too late to do a recap of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2011 season and too early to start previewing 2012, so let’s keep the content flowing with something in the middle. Starting now, I will be examining the club on a quick-hit, position-by-position basis to evaluate how the Jays stacked up and where they go now as they (hopefully) head into contention.
We’ll do this numerically, with the exception of the pitcher (which we’ll cover at the end), so let’s kick things off at the backstop.
The Previous Guy(s)
Starter: J.P. Arencibia
Back-Up: Jose Molina
Waiting in the Wings: Travis d’Arnaud, Carlos Perez
How Did The Jays Fare?
There may be a fight to be had in Toronto for the starting catcher’s job in the future, but for now it’s worth enjoying the depth that the club is afforded at the position. Arencibia’s rookie season could have been better (namely, his .219 average, .282 OBP and team-high 133 strikeouts), but his 23 home runs ranked second among rookies and his ever-improving defence helped keep him developing offensively without the concern that he might be a liability behind the plate. Meanwhile, Molina enjoyed a nice offensive bump from 2010, adding 35 points to his average and 38 to his OBP.
Where Are They Headed?
D’Arnaud, the franchise’s Minor League Player of the Year in 2011, may well push Arencibia for the top job eventually, but the 25-year old remains the man in the mask for at least the near future. Hitting coach Dwayne Murphy would do well to work with Arencibia on shortening his swing in order to cut down on K’s and raise his on-base numbers. Coming off a $1.2 million deal, Molina is a free agent again and may feel he can find a better situation for himself than the 30-40 starts he’d likely get behind the plate in Toronto, assuming Arencibia’s workload increases. Should the Jays be forced to look elsewhere for back-up help, some inexpensive free agent options could include Henry Blanco, Ramon Hernandez, Gerald Laird, Brian Schneider or Ivan Rodriguez.
About the Author
Written by Ben Fisher