I know the fact that J.P. Arencibia spent spring training and the first part of the 2015 season in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization slipped my mind coming into this series. Arencibia, who has spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, was at first assigned to triple-A Norfolk. He was injured in spring training, and was eventually released.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a very interesting article surrounding that very topic early this morning (linked here). Read for yourself and come to your own conclusion. Topkin’s a great writer and very well respected around baseball. But is Arencibia using him to troll Buck Showalter and the O’s?
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This is where it’s tough to judge comments, which may or may not have been taken out of context. It’s also tough to judge something that’s written on paper and has the absence of someone’s tone of voice, facial expressions, etc. However here are Arencibia’s comments to which I’m referring (quoted directly out of the Topkin article I cited above:
"What is funny though is that my last meeting with (Orioles manager) Buck Showalter he said, “You know, we’re going to keep you here and send you to Triple-A and keep you because we know if we let you go you’re going to be beating us at some point.” So what he told me came to fruition. And I’m glad I could be a part of the win."
That could be interpreted as just an athlete who was greatful for an opportunity to be a part of a great game for his team. But is there also a not-so-well-hidden sense of angst over being released from the Orioles’ organization as well? Now with that said, some of you might suggest that it’s only natural for Arencibia to feel that way – perhaps it is.
However keep in mind that we live in a world where professionalism and integrity means something. It’s really not fashionable to make comments to that affect, no matter who you are. Least of all, a veteran who went through spring training with a team only to be released after being hurt.
I suppose that my point is that this would have been an opportunity for Arencibia to take the high road and just say that he was happy to have been a part of a win last night. Instead his comments were left open to interpretation, and he potentially comes across as throwing salt in the wound of someone who probably didn’t wish him any ill will.
There’s also a quote at the end of Topkin’s article in which Arencibia says that if you want to know why the Orioles released him, you’d have to ask them. Obviously we can’t be sure what that is supposed to mean, however again I suspect that he’s trying to create a story out of nothing. Many athletes dream of being able to say I told you so when they’re cut. Arencibia also said that he was glad that the Orioles released him when they did. Interesting.
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In fairness, we shouldn’t forget that Arencibia comes from a culture in Toronto whereby it’s fashionable to speak one’s full mind regardless of whether or not it’s right or just. However luckily that’s not how the Orioles do business when it comes to clubhouse quotes among other things. People can say what they want about what happens on the field, but Buck Showlater wouldn’t be happy if a player made comments like that which could be left open to interpretation. In the NFL it could be called or construed as “bulletin board material.”
Keep in mind folks, there may be no malice behind these comments. However if so, as a player you need to have enough media savoir faire to know not to say anything that could be left open to interpretation like that. Otherwise you come off as foolish. Some will say that Arencibia was just stating a fact; however facts don’t always absolutely have to be stated. Incidentally if there was some sort of gamesmanship behind those comments, it might possibly shed some light onto why the Orioles released him – maybe.