Blue Jays promote catching prospect J.P. Arencibia

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The Blue Jays are finally ready to reward top catching prospect J.P. Arencibia for the astronomic numbers that he has posted this season at Triple-A Las Vegas.  With John Buck needing a stint on the disabled list due to a laceration on his hand, the 24-year-old Arencibia had his contract purchased on Wednesday afternoon.

Arencibia was drafted in the first round of the 2007 first-year player drafted and has flashed solid power numbers at nearly every minor league stop.  This year he’s managed a Pacific Coast League-leading 31 home runs in 379 at-bats, along with 79 RBI and a total of 71 runs scored. 

The Jays are hoping he will carry some of that “pop” with him to Toronto, where he is likely to start behind the plate for Friday’s series-opener against the Rays.  If Arencibia proves capable of handling major league pitching in his first tour through the bigs, the Blue Jays could let John Buck walk this winter. 

Buck was signed to a one-year contract this offseason and has produced at a better-than-expected rate, but Arencibia is cheaper and already more talented.  We’ll get an abrupt chance over the next two weeks to see if he is also more productive.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.