, frequently linked to the Mets in early trade rumors, is merely a mild upgrade. He hits for way more power, but his production is mitigated by his inability to get on base with any frequency. His 88 career OPS+ is only a tick higher than Thole’s 85, and his .275 career on-base percentage is about exactly the same as Thole’s post-injury mark in 2012. And he’s not much of a defender.
Arencibia will be 27 in January, so he could still improve a bit — though so could Thole. Plus he hits right-handed and he won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2016. If he were practically free, or a part of a larger trade package, he’d make a decent right-handed complement to Thole in a platoon. But since he hasn’t hit lefties as well as free-agents Kelly Shoppach, Chris Snyder, Ronny Paulino
or even Bobby Wilson
, none of whom seems likely to command a whole ton of money, Arencibia hardly seems worth targeting in a trade unless he lands in the Mets’ laps.
Arencibia’s Minor League history should also sound a small warning about the Blue Jays’ more coveted young catcher, Travis d’Arnaud
. d’Arnaud moved through the Minors at a younger age than Arencibia and typically posted more promising walk rates. But though d’Arnaud’s .333/.380/.595 line as a 23-year-old at Triple-A Las Vegas looks enticing to a Mets fan dreaming of an All-Star catcher, it’s not far off from the .301/.359/626 marks Arencibia posted in Vegas as a 24-year-old in 2010. d’Arnaud carries a better reputation in prospect circles than Arencibia ever did, and, again, he’s younger and far more likely to emerge as a Major League star, so worth way more in a trade than Arencibia. But he’s far from a guarantee to immediately succeed in the Majors. Sometimes what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.