Slow Start to the Offseason Begins with Addition by Subtraction

Looks like the sluggish start to the offseason has ended at the non-tender deadline, with several teams making relatively major moves…  I doubt I’m going to go into too much detail:

  • The Athletics had a busy day, adding 5 players to their roster via the trade market
  • The Tigers traded Doug Fister (who dominated in the playoffs) for effectively nothing
  • the Yankees and Red Sox are making big free-agent signings (McCann, Ellsbury & Pierzynski respectively).

So, pretty much business as usual.

The Blue Jays made a deal of their own, opting to sign Dioner Navarro at a reasonable price and non-tendering previous glorious harbinger of the master farm system J.P. Arencibia.  We’ve had plenty of experience waiting for a player to ‘arrive’ to his full potential, but our noble GM decided it wasn’t worth the wait.  I’m inclined to agree.

Arencibia was a black hole in the line-up, slashing a miserable .194/.227/.365 in 138 games as Toronto’s primary backstop.  He also led the majors in passed balls and errors commited as a Catcher.

Navarro appears to be a fairly significant upgrade on 2013 Arencibia, slashing .300/.365/.492 in 89 games for the Cubs last year.  This is well above his career slash line of .251/.313/.371, but even that is a significant improvement.

Navarro won’t exactly turn heads with his hitting or even his defensive ability, but he’s a relatively consistent veteran, so at least you know what you’re going to get, with the possible exception of the number of games played, which should be interesting to watch.  Expect more playing time for Josh Thole, or whoever will be back-up behind Navarro this year.

I’m not exactly teary eyed about Arencibia’s departure, not in the same way I was with Aaron Hill, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells, and other players who had massive potential and were not performing up to the standard billed for them.  There are many reasons, and I happen to love lists:

  • Unwillingness to handle criticism, in any forum.  If someone like Zaun or Hayhurst were getting on my nerves, I wouldn’t listen to them, I’d go to the nearest coach, and ask him honestly if they have a point.  The biggest ally in handling criticism is objectivity.  If you can’t separate yourself from the problem, you’re going to make poor decisions.  Which leads to…
  • The bull in a china shop.  The extended twitter rants, radio show appearances, allegations regarding present-day television analysts using PED’s, the whole shebang.  In one instance, he concocted a rant for a morning radio show the next day, SLEPT ON IT, and proceeded to deliver said rant anyways!  You’d think there would be a little voice that said: “Y’know, perhaps this isn’t the best way to further my career…”  You answer your critics with your play on the FIELD, not on the radio.
  • Unwillingness to adapt.  This kind of stems from the first bullet, with respect to criticism.  He didn’t feel his approach at the plate needed refining.  With every swing, he was swinging for the fences.  It didn’t matter, he was going to get his 15 home-runs a year.  Drawing a walk was impossible.  Very selfish approach at the plate, in my opinion.  Even Bautista tries to go the other way when the situation requires it (sometimes).

Regardless of what happens, I wish the guy well.  I hope he does prove all of the critics wrong, and proceeds to have a long and successful career in baseball, but sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can bounce back up…


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