Barajas is out...so who is the replacement?

I recently talked to some Phils fans that could not believe I liked Barajas as much as I do. Then again, he didn't have the type of year with the Phillies as he had last year with the Jays, which leads me to believe that it could be the peak of his potential and output. The 34 year old catcher had a couple of decent years in Texas with 3 seasons of 10+ homers with a mediocre average. He then spent one year in the bang box that is Philadelphia and only hit 4 homers, albeit in only 122 ABs.

It seems to me that because Rod had many clutch hits during the season, his output was actually over valued. He only hit .249 on the year in 349 AB, a .294 OBP, and had 11 HRs to go along with 23 doubles. Is that really worth a multi year deal when you have guys like JP Arencibia coming up through the minors? At his age, definitely not. So Alex is reportedly doing the right thing, taking advantage of his Type B FA status by offering him arbitration and letting him go thereafter. Rod will hook on easily with the likes of the NYM or a similar team for 2-3 years and the Jays move on to something else.

The candidates?


Raul Chavez - will be 37 in 2010, not really the ideal candidate to take over a starting role (understatement) but will do well as a backup.

Kyle Phillips - played very well in AAA last season. He had 317 AB, 90 hits, 13 doubles, 9 home runs, 30 RBI, a .284 avg, .355 OBP, .410 SLG, .765 OPS. He's only 26 and getting right into that zone where catchers develop quickly. He would be a better choice to split time with whoever the Jays sign than Arencibia due to more experience at a high level and would also allow JP the chance to gain some confidence in AAA.

JP Arencibia - He's simply not ready to take the role over yet. Halfway through 2010, it may be a different story, but for now JP needs to get more experience.

FA possibilities:

Yorvit Torrealba (31) Type B - No, no, no, no, please no. He's more injury prone than a 95 year old lady and will cost too much in terms of salary and years.

Jason Kendall (36) - Type B - may be a viable option. Doesn't knock any out due to lack of power, but he can hit and actually runs the bases well. Usually keeps a nice average and is looking for a starting gig if possible at a very low cost.

Jason LaRue (36) - hasn't had more than 170 AB in 5 years

Bengie Molina (35) - Type A * the Jays can't afford a type A FA or his salary and demands

Jose Molina (35) - only viable defensively

Miguel Olivo (31) - Type B - if the Jays are looking for a cheap and offensive oriented catcher, he is their best option. He's only going to be 31 in 2010 and hits 20+ HRs per season, better than the Jays have had from the position in quite a while. He made $2,700,000 in 2009, so a 1-year $3,250,000 deal may do it if he knows he can start. The downside here is that he doesn't really call a good game and has some holes defensively.

Ivan Rodriguez (38) - Type B - I'm a big fan of his and believe the Jays need his leadership abilities and grit. He'd be the guy to get if JP Arencibia is to start the year in the bigs.

Brian Schneider (33) - lots of experience, may be in higher demand than some other options. Has equal value in terms of offence and defence.

Gregg Zaun (39) - Type B - The Jays know him well and he does the job defensively

Eliezer Alfonzo (31) - one of the more intriguing FAs out there, he had the potential to be great in SF but ended up having too many injuries to get a chance to prove himself. Could easily knock 15 home runs per season with a good starting spot. Would also be a cheap option with high upside.

Ramon Castro (34) - it would be interesting to see how well he does with a full time gig, but thus far he's been used sparingly and is getting older.

If none of these guys is signed, the only other option is to get a catcher through trade. Chris Snyder from ARI has been talked about, but health issues scared the Jays off, so other options will have to be considered. Interestingly, the LAA have three great catcher options in Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis, and Hank Conger. Should a Roy Halladay trade occur, one of these is surely to be included in a package to the Jays.

Miguel Olivio and Ivan Rodriguez seem to offer the best value and stop gap option for the Jays. Neither is looking for a long term contract and neither will cost much. However, if the Jays can nab one of the LAA catchers, that would be my first choice. If not, I say let the internal options have a chance and let them learn through the growing pains.

My #1 option - Trade Roy to LAA and nab Mike Napoli as part of the return. More likely to occur, the Jays nab Miguel Olivo or Jason Kendall and bring JP Arencibia up in July.

1 comment:

  1. I'm cool with Chavez as the full-time catcher. I don't know if he's built to play 100+ games behind the plate though.

    I'm starting to warm up the idea of I-Rod, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Zaun back with the Blue Jays as well.