Navarro signing means Arencibia all but gone

Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia. (AP/Mike Carlson)

TORONTO – J.P. Arencibia’s time with the Toronto Blue Jays is on the verge of running out.

Three sources told that general manager Alex Anthopoulos will non-tender the 27-year-old ahead of Monday’s midnight deadline if a trade partner doesn’t emerge.

The possibility of that happening wasn’t clear, as interest in Arencibia was described by one source as minimal, although a suitor might try to snag him before he hits free agency.

Arecnibia’s looming departure was triggered by pending signing of free agent Dioner Navarro to a US$8-million, two-year contract.

Navarro, once he passes a physical, will take over the starting duties with Josh Thole serving as the backup and primarily handling knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Prospect A.J. Jimenez, recovering from a nerve issue in his surgically repaired right elbow, should be fine for spring training and right now is the insurance behind that duo.

Either way, Arencibia’s three-year run as the Blue Jays’ starting catcher is over, a stint that began with such promise but ended in an ugly way last year, when he batted .194/.227/.365 in 138 games.

Once considered a franchise building block, his struggles last season and inability to make adjustments at the plate led to Monday’s signing of Navarro, an all-star in 2008 who hasn’t played 100 games since suiting up for 115 in 2009.

Arencibia’s power and durability should earn him a job as a backup at minimum, but teams are unlikely to offer the Blue Jays very much for his services.

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