Posted by: Peter Houston | December 13, 2009

Blue Jays signings

The Jays have re-signed three players today and signed two more, but none for more than $2.4 MM. AA continued his big moves in the free agent market (see Alex Gonzalez) by signing C John Buck (1 year, $2 MM) and OF Joey Gathright (minor league deal).

The three players re-signed were Jose Bautista ($2.4 MM), Dustin McGowan ($500,000) and C Raul Chavez (minor league deal) who I thought was gone for good after being non-tendered last night.

What does this mean for the club? At catcher, barring another move, we’ve got John “Big Bucks” Buck as our starter after shelling out $2 MM. As Bastian speculates, Joey Gathright might be in the mix for Jose Bautista’s leadoff spot, purely because of his speed. The McGowan money is just depressing because he obviously doesn’t think he’ll make a big impact in 2010, and according to Bastian “remains a big question mark heading into the spring”. Sad to see something like this happen to a guy with so much potential.

But back to our new starting catcher, John Buck! Can’t say a lot of exciting thoughts are popping into my head when I read that name. Isn’t John Buck that awful catcher from that awful team? Ya, he is. Take a look at the stats for yourself. Career .235 hitter, .298 OBP and .407 SLG. I will admit, he has shown flashes of power (18 HR in 347 ABs in 2007 and 8 HR in 186 ABs last year) but that doesn’t really mean anything. That’s ok, he can’t hit, he’s probably great defensively. Wrong. If you check out that page, you’re probably going to do what I did and skim the the method bit (it seems legit enough) and go right down to the list and  spend the next 48 minutes scrolling down to find John Buck all the way at #106. Who knew there were 106 + catchers in the MLB? Well apparently there were 114 (last year I’m guessing). So for those of you who read the State of the Farm balk, we don’t have the 9th worst defensive catcher, we’ve got the 106th best! Funny thing is, the Jays catching duo from last year (Barajas, Chavez) came in at 11th and 9th respectively. I don’t know about you, but now I’m intrigued how much Rod Barajas will sign for (the Jays paid him $2.5 M last year).

Also in an previous balk, I decided that Jose Bautista, the way the roster stood, should be our leadoff man in 2010. Now that we’ve signed Joey Gathright, I’m starting to have my doubts. For all of you out there who just punched your laptop in the face and screamed at me that Gathright has a career .327 OBP, bear with me.

What I’m thinking is that Jose and Joey could be a nice double-J OF/leadoff platoon combo. Jose bats right, Joey bats left. Jose’s got an arm, Joey’s got speed. Any time Gathright’s got some decent playing time, he’s been very good defensively, and everybody knows the Jays need to beef up their defense, especially in the outfield. As for his speed, it’s something Blue Jays fans haven’t seen on the basepaths in a loooong time, and how nice would that be at the top of the lineup? When the Jays face a lefty, Jose is the perfect replacement. He mashes LHP and isn’t a significant downgrade defensively. I don’t know about you, but double-J sounds good to me.

Then again, Gathright might not even make the team, which would surely cause the season to plummet into the depths of the AL’s basement. But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…

“With the first pick in the 2011 draft, the Toronto Blue Jays select…”




  1. Buck seems like a pretty average fielder statistically from the information I’ve gathered.

    His last season in which he played significantly, he threw out 27% of batters and was middle of the pack in range factor (Not sure how this is calculated at the C position, and is probably not that important, but without much else, it is noteworthy) and fielding %.

    I don’t think it very kosher to judge without seeing someone play at all, but I think it’s fair to say the Jays are not going to have a + player behind the plate.

    Is JP Arencibia ever gonna amount to anything?

  2. Did you look at the link I referred to for catchers defense? I don’t know how accurate it is but I’m sure it’s fairly close, and it doesn’t look good. According to AA he works with young pitchers well, but who knows how true that actually is. Kind of just another way of saying he can’t hit or play D. As for Arencibia, he took a step back in AAA last year, so he’s going to need to put up some numbers this year if he wants his shot. He’s proven he definitely has power, but he needs to work on his discipline at the plate for sure. But, at the press conference AA sounded like he thought d’Arnaud was the guy of the future. Either way, Buck has to be the most overshadowed signing in the history of the MLB. What % of Jays’ fans do you think don’t even know he got signed?

  3. Actually, for truly overshadowed, so overshadowed I didn’t even remember him when discussing the Jays catching situation, see Ramon Castro.

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