The Tampa Bay Rays have signed catcher J.P. Arencibia to a minor-league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Durham, according to Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
#Rays sign C J.P. Arencibia to minor-league deal, will join Triple-A @DurhamBulls— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 16, 2015
Arencibia has spent the entirety of his big league career to date with the Blue Jays and Rangers, hitting .207/.255/.403 with 74 home runs in five seasons. He was in spring training with the Orioles this season, but did not make the team and was released.
What does Arencibia bring to the Rays?
Arencibia has never been a big hitter for average, his best batting average for a season was .233 in 2012. His best season in terms of getting on base came the previous year when he had a .282 on-base percenage. However, Arencibia will bring power to the table, with double-digit home runs in each of the last four seasons, including 23 in 2011 and 21 in 2013.
Arencibia played just 63 games with Texas last season, hitting a paltry .177/.239/.369, but did manage 10 home runs and nine doubles in 203 at bats.
Where does he fit in the Rays' catching setup?
Tampa Bay currently has Rene Rivera starting behind the plate, but the veteran backstop is just 3-for-30 at the dish this season after posting a .751 OPS and 11 home runs in 103 games with the Padres last season. He is backed up by Bobby Wilson, who sports a career OPS of .595 and has never played more than 75 games in a season.
There are currently three catchers listed on Durham's roster, with the bulk of the playing time split between 26-year-old Curt Casali and 24-year-old Luke Maile, neither of whom is lighting things up at the plate this season, so with a shaky situation at catcher at both the major league and Triple-A levels, it is easy to see why Arencibia found a match with the Rays.