Scrapheap Roundup: Could Rays Acquire J.P. Arencibia or Daniel Bard?

By Robbie Knopf

In recent baseball news, the Toronto Blue Jays are about to either trade or non-tender catcher J.P. Arencibia, the Chicago Cubs have non-tendered Daniel Bard, and the New York Mets have non-tendered shortstop Omar Quintanilla and right-hander Scott Atchison. Could any of those players be of interest to the Rays? Let’s discuss each player in brief

Arencibia, who we have discussed previously, is interesting as a trade target for the Rays as a catcher with power who has worked hard to improve his pitch framing. However, his lack of plate discipline, bad reputation overall behind the plate, and the fact that he is arbitration-eligible for the first time this year makes it hard to see where he would fit in with the Rays already having Jose Lobaton and Jose Molina. The Rays have never had a catcher with Arencibia’s power, and if they think his defense surpasses Lobaton’s, maybe they give him a shot. There is no reason to think that is the case. Arencibia is an interesting Rays target because he has nowhere to go but up after his rough 2013, but even if he gets non-tendered, it does not look like the Rays would offer him anything more than a minor league deal.

As recently as 2011, Daniel Bard was a superb setup man for the Boston Red Sox. Now, he can’t find the plate, even in the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League in Puerto Rico, and his career prospects are looking bleaker and bleaker. The thing about him, though, is that his stuff is still electric if he could ever figure out how to control it. If the Rays see something they could fix with Bard, they have nothing to lose offering him a minor league deal. Their pitch is as good as anyone’s: struggling pitchers come to Tampa Bay and leave receiving multi-year offers. At this point, though, you have to wonder whether Bard is a lost cause.

Quintanilla is interesting for one reason and one reason alone: he is a lefty batter capable of playing a solid defensive shortstop. The other side of that, though, is that he has little power, little speed, and hasn’t hit at the major league level. Nothing wrong with him as Triple-A roster filler, but that is about all the Rays could expect him to be.

Atchison has done pretty well since returning to the major leagues prior to the 2010 season, managing a 3.47 ERA, a 5.9 K/9, a 2.2 BB/9, and a 0.7 HR/9 in 187 innings pitched. Despite being 37 years old, Atchison still has some stuff, touching 92 MPH to go along with a good slider. However, Atchison has never commanded his fastball well, leading him to use his slider more than his fastball the last three years, and that limits what he can do. No harm pursuing him for depth, but Atchison would be better off heading to a team that might give him the opportunity for big league time.