“Catching” Up With Trade Targets

An article by posted on November 28, 2012

Hey guys, do you think the Mets are looking to upgrade at catcher this offseason? I mean, I haven’t heard any rumors at all and I just had this crazy idea that it might make sense for them to look into it.

Okay, so I’m just joshing you. Obviously this has been a big topic since the season ended for the Mets almost two months ago. There have been many names thrown around and a plethora of possibilities. The two names that make the most sense, in my opinion, are Toronto’s J.P. Arencibia and Boston’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia. With the Red Sox signing David Ross to a two-year deal and reportedly in talks with slugging C/1B Mike Napoli, Saltalamacchia has become very expendable. Likewise in Toronto, super-prospect Travis d’Arnaud seems to be Major League ready, and the Jays recently pulled off a mega-trade that brought catcher John Buck across the border (some throw-ins were also included in that deal, I believe. I think their names were Reyes, Johnson and Buehrle? Correct me if I’m wrong.), which would make you think that Arencibia is on the block as well.

When I first got the idea for this post, it was going to be more of a pro-Saltalamacchia and anti-Arencibia argument. But then I started doing some research and I realized that what my girlfriend has been saying all along is true: I’m an idiot. There’s no way you can praise one and bash the other because, when you look at the numbers, they’re basically the exact same player! I was astonished to see just how close the numbers were. Take a look at Arencibia’s 2011 side-by-side with Saltalamacchia’s 2012:

2011 Arencibia: 129 G, 486 AB, .219 BA, 23 HR, 78 RBI, 47 R, .282 OBP, .438 SLG, 32% CS

2012 Saltalamacchia: 121 G, 448 AB, .222 BA, 25 HR, 59 RBI, 55 R, .288 OBP, .454 SLG, 23% CS

Aside from the RBI numbers (which is not the best stat to judge a player) and Arencibia having more success against base stealers, they are almost identical. However, it’s when you flip the years when the comparisons become even more similar. Let’s now look at Arencibia’s 2012 season side-by-side with Saltalamacchia’s 2011 season:

2012 Arencibia: 102 G, 372 AB, .233 BA, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 45 R, .275 OBP, .435 SLG, 42% CS

2011 Saltalamacchia: 103 G, 386 AB, .235 BA, 16 HR, 56 RBI, 52 R, .288 OBP, .450 SLG, 45% CS

To note even further just how equal their seasons were, Arencibia had a 1.3 WAR in 2012 while Saltalamacchia posted a 1.7 WAR in 2011 (per Fangraphs).

So basically, 2012 J.P. Arencibia was 2011 Jarrod Saltalamacchia and 2012 Jarrod Saltalamacchia was 2011 J.P. Arencibia. You follow me? Good.

TWINS!

It is were noting that both catchers played half their home games in hitter-friendly parks, and if they were to be shipped to the Mets we should expect the power numbers to drop at least a little bit. Still, both would provide more power than Josh Thole even if their batting average and OBP numbers might not be as high. And both seem to do a good job at keeping runners at bay, which is always a welcome asset for a catcher.

Given the similarities in their numbers, the question should not be which one the Mets should target.  Whichever one they end up with, they’re essentially getting the same player. The key becomes which one will be cheaper to acquire. If Toronto demands Jon Niese, whereas Boston is asking for something less, then the Mets should obviously take up Boston on their offer and vice versa.

I will admit though, now that I’m more informed I have changed my mind and hope the Mets acquire Arencibia. Why is that, you ask? Because I’ve found throughout the course of this post that I hate typing “Saltalamacchia.”

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