Rangers Acquire Andres Blanco

Gordon Wittenmyer tweets that the Rangers have acquired Andres Blanco from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later.

Blanco, 26 in April, posted a line of .252/.303/.341 in 53 games (138 PAs) for the Cubs last season, while playing plus defense at second base, but below average at shortstop (warning: small sample sizes). Blanco's .644 OPS from last season is directly in line with his minor league numbers.

Wittenmyer writes that Blanco was out of options and out of opportunities to make the club this spring. The Rangers have been looking for a back-up infielder since having to void Khalil Greene's contract earlier this spring due to his ongoing struggles with social anxiety disorder.

Blanco is the third infielder acquired by Texas recently. On Wednesday, they traded Edwar Ramirez to the A's for Gregorio Petit, and earlier in the spring claimed Hernan Iribarren off waivers from the Brewers.


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21 Comments on "Rangers Acquire Andres Blanco"


crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

While Blanco is a better 2b than a SS, that UZR rating is based on far too small a sample size to have any real meaning. Blanco played pretty well at both positions last year, in my opinion. Not a bad pickup, I’ve been suggesting his name at nearly every “team needs utility infielder” posting, but only the usual list of suspects were ever mentioned. Blanco comes cheap and he’ll give you what you need from a backup utility IF in short doses…but if he has to play for an extended period of time, it probably means Texas is in some trouble.

Threat_Level_RedSox
5 years 5 months ago

The D-Backs are dropping the ball with Augie Ojeda. The Rangers and Red Sox neaded a middle infielder and went out and got one. Why not trade Ojeda who is obviously better then Fransden and Blanco to one of two teams that have the top farm systems in the game.

A C+ prospect from either is better than what you would get from the 20 other teams that Might be interested.

Oh ya its the same team that traded scherzer and shlereth For Edwin “First Half” Jackson and Ian “6.14 era and counting!” Kennedy, Epic fail.

Hey at least they were smart enough to draft Justin Upton

5 years 5 months ago

So I guess that
C- Koyie Hill
OF- Tyler Colvin
OF/1B- Xavier Nady
2B/INF- Baker/Fontenot
1B/3B/OF- Kevin Millar
Will be the Cubs bench

Zumi10
5 years 5 months ago

Actually, I think it will be
C- Koyie Hill
OF- Tyler Colvin
OF/1B- Xavier Nady
2B/SS(Hell yes)- Mike Fontenot
1B/3B- Chad Tracy
I’m not really looking forward to seeing Fontenot at short. Last time he was there (2007) he had a UZR/150 of -257. Granted, it was 3 games, but I still hope our PTBNL is a SS with a decent enough bat.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

I think this bench is more likely, except that Fontenot will probably start at 2b and Baker will be the backup — or at least on the short end of a platoon. I don’t think our PTBNL will be a SS with a decent bat because if Texas had one, why would they need to trade for a utility infielder?

Zumi10
5 years 5 months ago

True, but I’m just trying to be optimistic. Plenty of Cubs fans have lost the “there’s always next year” feeling.

jb1996
5 years 5 months ago

I guess this really means that they have loss interest in Ramon Vazquez, who will either be traded or release next sunday.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

nooooooo!!!

How can Hendry and Lou be so stupid as to give away the only real shortstop on the entire club (Fontenot, Baker and even Theriot are NOT people that should be playing at short) just so we can keep no-hit, no-field, old and way past his prime, completely beyond annoying Kevin (expletive) Millar??? It’s just beyond all logic

And one even worse thing will come out of it – HireJimEishen has started a charity drive in which people are agreeing to donate $1 to the American Diabetes Association for every game Millar DOESNT play in this season. He doesnt make the club its 162 bucks per person. He does and he is keeping money away from the charity!

Yeah, thats how much most Cubs fans dont want this guy on the club! But with this trade it seems inevitable now… :( Man I cant wait till we get a new management/front-office structure

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

As impatient cub fan says, this move was made with one eye on Starlin Castro, whom they probably plan on bringing up in a couple months anyway. The other eye is on adding a bench bat, whom I hope is Tracy and not Millar, so a roster spot had to be created somewhere. Any chance the Cubs had at using Fukudome as their backup CF was shot when it became apparent Xavier Nady wouldn’t be able to play the outfield regularly until at least May. Since, they are unwilling to DL Nady for whatever reason, the Cubs can’t afford to go with 4 OF’ers when one is basically a DH right now.

If Castro struggles and isn’t ready in a couple of months, the Cubs have the option of adding Darwin Barney to the roster. He’s a defense first SS who can fill Blanco’s role if they need to. Barney gives the Cubs some flexibility in that he has all his options left too. In the meantime, while Theriot isn’t a great SS and a better at 2b, it isn’t like he’s awful at SS. He’s rated pretty well there over the past 3 years. They can probably afford to play Theriot 99% of the time early in the season, so thankfully we won’t have to see too much of Fontenot at SS. I’m not grieving too much over the loss of Blanco, he was probably the one guy the Cubs could afford to let go to create roster space. Now if they do wind up giving that space to Millar, I’ll admit that it’ll be a big disappointment (it effectively gives them 2 RH pinch-hitters on the bench — and, historically, Millar hasn’t been good at that role either), but the loss of Blanco by itself won’t be a big deal over the course of the season. It’s doubtful he would have lasted the whole season on the roster anyway.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“We like chemistry, we like for this team to be loosey-goosey and have fun,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella told the Chicago Tribune last week. “He fits in all of those categories … We’ll see how this thing works out. He’s actually performed well in camp, and we enjoy having him.”

Millar is making this club. Shoot, he already has his team motto picked out:
“It’s such a better time when you have guys that care about each other, that laugh together, that go out together, that eat together and shower together. Let’s do it.”

Clearly the team chat is “Let’s shower together!” amongst themselves and “Let’s do it” for the rest of the public… It seems its time you ‘Cowboy Up’ ( :/ ) and just accept it

Anyhow, Castro needs the year in the minors and Barney is going to be extremely hard pressed to ever be as good as Blanco even; he has career AAA UtilityIF written all over him. But those two dont even matter much – its Fontenot that is the real question here! If we were going to get rid of one of the overstocked middle infielders, why not get rid of the one that can do nothing for a club other then play 2B? Sitting around hoping a 30 year old somehow overnight learns to play SS and actually hit a ball at a respectable level is idiotic when we have a 25 year old making half as much money who can already play SS and hits just as poorly. But we give away the 25 year old UI that fits what we actually need to keep the 30 year old 2B that can do nothing but field 2B?

Our bench should have been this

Blanco/Tracy/Nady/Colvin(/Fuld) – and backup catcher Hill

and instead it will be

Fontenot(/Baker)/Millar/Nady/Colvin – and backup catcher Hill

which will leave us with merely 1 defensive player and 1 pinch hitter sitting on the pine out of a possible 4 on each count.

And just because it should be said:
“Theriot isn’t a great SS and a better at 2b, it isn’t like he’s awful at SS.”

While he isnt a horrible fielding SS, he also cant make the throw to 1B which has always made him a giant liability in late and close games. Blanco should have been kept to provide a late inning defensive replacement for Theriot but instead we will keep two guys that shouldnt be at the position as well. If they really insisted on removing one to add Millar and keeping Fontenot for 2B, then Baker should have been the one to go – keeping both while sacrificing the defensive flexibility we desperately need is just foolish.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Fontenot can’t hit lefties, and I really don’t want to see Blanco starting 30-40% of the time. Offensively, he doesn’t walk, has no power, and hits about .250-.260…I think Barney could easily duplicate that while also playing good defense. And having Blanco as your first option as an infielder off the bench is an offensive liability. And I don’t think his defensive edge over Baker makes up the difference. I just don’t see the loss of Blanco as affecting the Cubs season much, if at all, one way or the other

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“I really don’t want to see Blanco starting 30-40%”

Why do we have Baker? He hits as well against righties as Fontenot does and destroys lefties. There is zero need for Blanco to start 40% of the time if we were keeping Baker/Blanco/Tracy for the infield; and when keeping that group there is zero need for Fontenot.

“I think Barney could easily duplicate that while also playing good defense.”

Barney can barley hit that in the minors, and has a rough equivalent of about .300 OPB/.320 SLG *IF* he is able to hit ML pitching as well as he hit minor leaguers. So at best, we might get lucky and he hits as well as Blanco does. Again, at best. I have never understood your obsession with this guy, he is practically worthless. Zero power, zero speed, average MinorLeague plate discipline, average MinorLeague contact skills, and only fair defense. Might as well call up Tony Thomas and have him give Short a try – better option then Barney.

“And having Blanco as your first option as an infielder off the bench is an offensive liability”

Tracy would be the first such option with Blanco serving as the defensive replacement. Now having Fontenot as the first infielder off the bench is a liability though, cant hit Lefties to save his life and can only play 2B. If the other team is in a position to bring in a leftie, there is no reason for Fonetnot to ever pinch hit for Theriot or Baker and he is the worst defensive flexibility guy of the bunch. He brings nothing we need to the table.

“I just don’t see the loss of Blanco as affecting the Cubs season much, if at all, one way or the other”

It means we have zero defensive minded infielders outside Lee and to a lesser extent, Ramirez.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Zero power, zero speed, average plate discipline, average contact skills…

For a minute I thought you were describing Blanco.

I always respect your opinion, Suzysman, but I just disagree here. And I’m just using Barney as an example of how players like Blanco are replaceable (after all, Blanco was a replacement level player in 2009) and losing players like that is nothing to get so worked up about. If it’s not Barney, it can be another prospect or the Cubs can find another minor league free agent the way they found Blanco. And for what it’s worth, CHONE and most projection systems project Barney as a similar offensive player to Blanco in 2010. And as far as defense goes, scouts grade Barney as a plus defender, not average. His arm and range are both above average, he reportedly has soft hands and he reads the ball very well. I just don’t see the big dropoff if the Cubs eventually need him to play Blanco’s role. As for Tony Thomas, he has fallen off the radar as a prospect, he can’t play SS and he’s a below average at 2b defensively. His biggest asset, his bat, has been a disappointment so far. At any rate, I’m just not going to lose any sleep over the loss of Blanco.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“For a minute I thought you were describing Blanco”

Yeah, it does describe Blanco. Well, except that we know for sure Blanco is able to replicate the numbers at the ML level and of course Blanco is merely average at the minor-league level with zero power and speed while providing an unknown as far as reaching that low ceiling in the show. Also, we know Blanco is about two to three times the defender Barney is as well.

“And as far as defense goes, scouts grade Barney as a plus defender, not average.”

Which is why CHONE has him at a projected -5.3 over 133 games, right? And you mentioned CHONE having the offensive projections similar to those of Blanco, but I dont see it – they have Blanco at -7.8 and Barney at -13. That is CHONE saying Barney would be almost half the hitter and no where near the defender.

“and losing players like that is nothing to get so worked up about.”

Correct, unless said player is what the team needs and is removed just so they can keep two players they dont need at all (Fontenot and Millar). Besides, no one is worked up over anything other then Millar making the roster – but dont go telling me keeping Fontenot and getting rid of the only defensive minded infielder on the club is the smart thing to do. Really, we would have been better off non-tendering Fontenot as per the plan before finding someone to take Miles off our hands.

“As for Tony Thomas, he has fallen off the radar as a prospect, he can’t play SS and he’s a below average at 2b defensively. His biggest asset, his bat, has been a disappointment so far.”

His disappointing bat is still duplicating to even outproducing that of Barney, with better defense at second (not sure where you got that below average stuff) while we have no idea if he can play Short as he hasnt been asked. Oh, and of course Thomas also comes with the 20+ SB capability and the inherent skills to outproduce the pitiful lines Barney has as a ceiling.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

Not necessarily the smart thing, but dropping a replacement level player like Blanco is least likely to hurt you and replacement level players, as evidenced by the name, are not difficult to replace.

Blanco projects .265/.314/.368
Barney projects .260/.305/.345

That’s not twice the player. The difference is negligible.

Every scout since college has been calling Thomas’ defense below average and few thought he’d last this long at the position…much less move to a more difficult one. I’ve thrown out my old BA books (and this year he didn’t make the top 30) but I do have a 2008 BP book that states, “Thomas has a weak arm and limited defensive playability anywhere but second, so to escape a future as an organizational type, he’s going to have to develop at the plate.” He’s a longshot at this point.

Suzysman
5 years 5 months ago

“Not necessarily the smart thing, but dropping a replacement level player like Blanco is least likely to hurt you”

True – unless said RLP fits a niche your team otherwise doesnt have. Such is the case with Blanco I fear. What happens in the pressure situations when we have Millar in the lineup and Lee on the bench because his back or neck hurts? We are forced to leave Theriot at short and pray that his short hops will somehow be picked up by the out-of-place statue at first. That isnt the way to win games, its the way to lose them.

“That’s not twice the player. The difference is negligible. ”

The difference is a .301 wOBA to a .290 wOBA – nearly three times the projected difference between Fukudome and Byrd. And yes, the value of those wOBA marks are -7.8 to -13 – getting close to twice as many runs difference between them.

“Every scout since college has been calling Thomas’ defense below average and few thought he’d last this long at the position…”

I remember that from when he was drafted, but everything we have since shows that he has not only adapted extremely well, but been above average for the position. And yeah, he is a longshot – but that doesnt change the fact that he is much better with much more upside then Barney. Remember, that is the conversation – Barney; and is Thomas better then him. Well, it isnt hard to be better then Barney so it doesnt take a stud.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

He’s no stud, but Barney with almost complete certainty will be a major leaguer. And if he continues to improve with the bat, he should at minimum be a replacement level player like Blanco. I think he’s got a little Ryan Theriot in him, though (a guy whom I once had a similar debate about on this very site, years back while Theriot was still being panned by the sabermetric faithful), and like Theriot, I believe he’ll continue to improve and surpass expectations. I’m not as proficient with numbers as you are, my own background is understanding personalities and behavior. And we all know that talent and innate ability isn’t the sole measure of success. There’s just something about Barney and his mental makeup that tells me the kid is just going to make it, possibly even as a league average starting SS.

Now, if Thomas doesn’t breakout with the bat soon – maybe even by this year, he will not be a major leaguer…so really, what difference does it make if he is more talented than Barney? In his defense, he didn’t breakout in college until his last year at FSU, so maybe he can be a late bloomer once again at the minor league level, but right now, his defensive limitations almost prohibit him from being anything but a starter at 2b – and right now, he’s nowhere near good enough to do that at the MLB level. He’ll probably repeat AA and may find himself stuck at the minor league level soon if other Cub middle infield prospects continue to progress. In fairness to Thomas, he was probably pushed too aggressively by the Cubs. Perhaps another year at the same level is what he needs to finally break through.

Anyway, this has gone off quite a tangent! Although we disagree on Blanco’s worth and his replaceability, we both can agree that using Millar to fill his roster spot is a complete waste. I’m still rooting hard for Tracy but the feeling that it’s going to be Millar keeps creeping in…by the way, did you see the recent post that Texas is looking at Millar? Weird. I thought the Cubs were the only ones crazy enough to give this guy a shot.

Suzysman
5 years 4 months ago

“Barney with almost complete certainty will be a major leaguer.”

Dude, seriously? I mean, with this clubs illogical obsession with a stockpile of crummy middle infielders, maybe he makes the majors sometime for us. But Barney just provides nothing to a club, and 4 year from now will almost certainly still be playing in AA-AAA as a utility infielder for someone (possibly us once we out the GM/management team and bring in someone who knows what they are doing). Afterall, no-power, no-speed, borderline-Def (as people big-time disagree on him in that aspect), low-patience, average-contact middle infielders are just not hat desirable. And like I said, if Barney ever even turns out to be as productive as Blanco, you should consider it a blessing – that is after all about what his ceiling is.

Oh, and to this:
“a guy whom I once had a similar debate about on this very site, years back while Theriot was still being panned by the sabermetric faithful”

The person you were talking to back then must not of been much of a stat guy. Theriot has always provided extremely strong walk rates which is, to this day, the only real value he brings to our club. If you take away the Walks, Theriot becomes AAA material, or a backup infielder in a pinch. Well, Barney has been walking at a well-below to average rate against minor league pitching.

crunchy1
5 years 4 months ago

Yes, seriously…and it isn’t just me or the Cubs that call Barney a future major leaguer and a good defender. It’s Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus too. I’ve already quoted BA, and BP states he has “good defense…and a phone likely to ring if the Cubs need shortstop or middle infield help.” And this from Kevin Goldstein, who ranks Barney as the 15th best Cub prospect: “15. Darwin Barney, SS: He’s one of the minors’ best defenders with enough bat to be a nice utility player.” One of the best…that’s a pretty solid endorsement from a respected baseball guy who isn’t a Cub fan at all.

I haven’t seen where it’s highly debatable anywhere…maybe there’s some guy out there writing a blog who crunches questionable, highly variable numbers and decides which guys can field and which can’t – I don’t know. But the consensus among the more respected, more connected publications seem to be that Barney plays anywhere from “above average” to “among the best in the minors” defense. There isn’t much doubt among most, if not all, experts that, walks and natural talent notwithstanding, he is the better prospect than Tony Thomas right now.

disgustedcubfan
5 years 5 months ago

Maybe the Cubs are thinking Castro will be taking over at short very soon, and they can find somebody, somewhere to not kill the team at 2nd.
It looks like Fontenot has a job for life in the Cubs organization.

crunchy1
5 years 5 months ago

If it becomes apparent they need a backup SS later, there’s always Darwin Barney at AAA. He showed enough this spring to be considered a reliable backup plan. He’s good defensively at both SS and 2b and should be able to fill that utility role if needed.