Hank Blalock Rumors
The latest from SI's Jon Heyman...
- Heyman writes that the Rays and Marlins are thought to have interest in Hank Blalock. We discussed Blalock here; his prospects are dim now that the Indians, Orioles, Braves, and Pirates have gone in different directions.
- Heyman notes that the Yankees love Carl Crawford and that could be one reason they were reluctant to give Johnny Damon a two-year deal. We discussed Crawford's situation earlier today.
- The Diamondbacks offered Mark Reynolds an extension to cover his first three arbitration years, in the $11MM range. That'd be quite a concession, since he should easily top $5MM in his first arbitration year.
- Heyman tweets that the Braves and Reds "could be in the mix" for outfielder Garret Anderson. Presumably, Anderson is in line for a minor league deal. He was linked to the Dodgers before they signed Reed Johnson.
Blalock, 29, is represented by Scott Boras. He hit .234/.277/.459 in 495 plate appearances for the Rangers last year. It was his first healthy season since '06, but he posted the lowest batting average and on-base percentage of his career.
Blalock came up as a third baseman, but played only nine innings there in '09. He logged 567.6 innings at first base, spending the rest of his time as a designated hitter. In recent years Blalock had a rib removed due to thoracic outlet syndrome and also had shoulder and wrist surgeries. The Indians are the only known Blalock suitor, as the Orioles, Braves, and Pirates have gone in different directions.
Some Tuesday night links...
- Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweets that neither Tim Lincecum nor the Giants have budged in their negotiations, and his arbitration hearing is set for Friday.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson still haven't made any progress towards an agreement. Their arbitration hearing is now just eight days away.
- In addition to having interest in Russell Branyan and Jermaine Dye, the Indians are also talking to Hank Blalock, reports Rosenthal. He adds that the Blue Jays are also in on Branyan.
- In a pair of tweets, Rosenthal passes along the incentives in Erik Bedard's contract. They lefty could bring in $500K each for 14, 17, 20, 23, and 26 starts, plus $600K for every 25 innings after 75.
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com report that Damon hasn't moved off his demand of a two-year deal. Good luck with that, Johnny.
- Morosi and Rosenthal also report that the Rangers and Mets appear to be "hamstrung by complications at the ownership level," meaning they're approaching their payroll limits.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Astros' GM Ed Wade said the team has some interest in bringing Willy Taveras back on a minor league deal. Oakland released Taveras today.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (via Peter Schmuck) spoke to Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who indicated that the team has not had recent talks with the agents for Jarrod Washburn or Chien-Ming Wang. The O's were linked to both pitchers earlier today.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock says (via Twitter) that it's "highly unlikely" that the Padres will sign Japanese lefty Hisanori Takahashi. Several teams reportedly offered the southpaw a minor league contract.
Older players are feeling the crunch these days, especially if they're one dimensional. Teams just aren't willing to pay big bucks for declining players, regardless of how notable they are or how good of a fit they may be. However some younger players are feeling it too; if they want a big league contract they better be able to do several things well.
Two-time All Star Hank Blalock sits here on February 8th without a job, despite hitting 25 homers last season and averaging 27 bombs per 162 games played for his career. The problem is that Blalock doesn't get on base well (.277 OBP in 2009, .329 career), isn't very good in the field at either first or third, and has dealt with major shoulder injuries in recent seasons. His value comes from his ability to occasionally make pitchers pay when they make a mistake.
At this point, Blalock's probably looking at a minor league deal, however his significant platoon split might be enough to land him a gig as a the lefty-half of a first base platoon somewhere. All it takes is an injury in Spring Training, after all.
Do you see any possible fits for Blalock, maybe as a platoon player or a bat off the bench for an NL team? The pickin's are slim this far into the offseason...
As Tommy John's long-lost brother Elton once said, Saturday night's alright for fighting...and also for posting news links.
- The Tribe's quiet offseason is recapped by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, who also looks at how busy the other AL Central teams have been in comparison.
- MLB.com's Marty Noble outlines how he would have handled the Mets' offseason if he had been the GM, both if the team's goal was to contend or to rebuild (Noble's preference).
- Steve Kornacki of MLive.com thinks Justin Verlander's reported five-year, $75MM offer from the Tigers "is too sweet a contract for Verlander to pass on," even without the sixth year that the pitcher wants.
- Mark Sheldon of MLB.com passes along some tidbits from Dusty Baker on the Reds Winter Caravan. Baker said that reliever Mike Lincoln (who last started a major league game in 2000) was a contender for the No. 5 spot in the Reds' rotation, and that the club had considered moving top prospect Yonder Alonso to catcher. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer sums these ideas up as candidates for the "sometimes-managers-say-the-darnedest-things file."
- MLB.com's Bryan Hoch believes the Yankees have finished their roster tinkering before spring training, and talks to Yankees manager Joe Girardi about New York's offseason moves.
- Chuck Greenberg, the incoming general managing partner of the Texas Rangers, is profiled by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch was all over the Q&A sessions with Pirates management during the team's PirateFest event. Here is her latest transcript of a similar sessions with various Pittsburgh players.
- Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets his guesses about the destinations of some of the free agent infielders left on the market. He sees Orlando Hudson in Washington, Orlando Cabrera in Cincinnati and Felipe Lopez in St. Louis.
- Count the White Sox out of the running for Johnny Damon or Hank Blalock, says Scott Merkin of MLB.com, since both are too costly for the limited space left in the team's budget. When asked about the possibility of Damon in Chicago, Sox GM Kenny Williams rhetorically asked, "Who is his agent?"
The Orioles' search for a corner infielder begins with a pair of Scott Boras clients and extends to Puerto Rico, but with a number of alternatives available, the club can afford to wait. Boras, who spoke recently with team president Andy MacPhail, tells Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that Hank Blalock and Joe Crede are options for the Orioles.
"They are fits for Baltimore," Boras said. "It just really depends on whether they want a first or a third baseman."
MacPhail would prefer to play Garrett Atkins at first, according to the Sun, so Crede might makes more sense for the O's. Crede will be looking for the kind of make good contract that fellow Boras client Adrian Beltre signed last week: a short term deal that allows the player to demand a bigger contract if he succeeds.
As expected, the Orioles scouted Carlos Delgado in Puerto Rico last week, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com. Kubatko names Russell Branyan, Ryan Garko and Chad Tracy as alternatives the O's could pursue.
The Sun notes that the O's signed former Marlin Andy Gonzalez to a minor league deal.
- The O's will scout Carlos Delgado in Puerto Rico next week; they would consider him as a first baseman.
- They also have interest in first basemen Hank Blalock, Adam LaRoche, Russell Branyan and Chad Tracy, but don't want to offer multi-year deals to any of them. LaRoche is probably the only one of those players with much of a chance at a multi-year contract.
- Miguel Tejada remains a long shot for the Orioles. Unlike Dan Uggla, Tejada's open to playing third, so he's ahead of Uggla on Baltimore's wish list.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun dishes the latest Orioles hot stove news...
- The Orioles contacted the agents for a few of Saturday's non-tendered players, including reliever Matt Capps. Capps' agent has mentioned his client's desire to close as a major factor, and the Orioles could accomodate. However, Connolly names Fernando Rodney as Baltimore's top target at closer. Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and Kevin Gregg are also of interest, though Gonzalez and Valverde are dinged for the draft pick cost.
- The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs. I think they'd be best-served by adding Delgado and Crede. Your thoughts?
- Connolly indicates that about 25, rather than 15, teams were on hand to watch Aroldis Chapman yesterday. So the list of teams not monitoring Chapman is shorter. The Orioles remain involved.
WEDNESDAY, 10:02am: Millwood update: Zrebiec says the Rangers originally wanted David Hernandez and a low-level prospect for Millwood, and were willing to pay $3MM of the $12MM owed to the veteran. Meanwhile Zrebiec's colleague Peter Schmuck says Chris Ray could be involved and the Rangers would pick up most of Millwood's salary, in one scenario.
TUESDAY, 9:36pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O's are still exchanging trade proposals with the Rangers for Kevin Millwood. T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers wanted Chris Tillman initially, but talks have since developed. The Orioles are among the frontrunners for Millwood.
The O's met with the Marlins about Dan Uggla, but the Marlins want two pitching prospects in return and the Orioles are reluctant to hand that kind of package over. The Marlins have one less suitor for Uggla, according to Andrew Baggarly, who says the Giants aren't serious bidders, so that could lower the asking price for the arbitration-eligible infielder.
Here are even more O's rumors:
- Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins interest the O's to an extent.
- Joe Crede and Pedro Feliz remain options for Baltimore, but Adrian Beltre has priced himself out of reach.
- We heard about their interest in Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson earlier today.
- They also have "tepid" interest in Russell Branyan.
- The Orioles aren't particularly intrigued by Joe Blanton and Derek Lowe, who are both available via trade.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Adam LaRoche, Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg all interest the O's slightly.
- They do have interest in Rafael Soriano, and spoke with the Braves about him.
- They're not interested in J.J. Putz.
- MLB.com's Spencer Fordin reports that the Royals engaged the O's in Felix Pie trade talks without ever coming close to a deal.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec takes a look back at Baltimore's first day of the Winter Meetings:
- The O's targeted pitching heavily, inquiring on Kevin Millwood and attaining the medical record for former Baltimore ace Erik Bedard. The O's would want Texas to eat some of Millwood's $12MM salary. They won't go after Bedard (or any other pitcher) if they're not 100% for Opening Day.
- Andy MacPhail will meet with Bedard's agent in the next couple of days.
- The Orioles were interested in Rafael Soriano prior to his decision to accept arbitration from the Braves.
- Kevin Gregg is an option for relief help, but Baltimore sees him as a 7th or 8th inning guy, not a closer.
- Felix Pie has drawn a lot of inquiries, but MacPhail points out that none of Pie, Nolan Reimold, and Adam Jones have played a full, healthy season yet, and the depth is probably a good thing for the Orioles when taking that into consideration.
- Lots of young O's pitching has come up, including Zach Britton and David Hernandez.
- MacPhail met with Joe Urbon, agent for Mark Hendrickson. Zrebiec says it's only a matter of time before a deal is done.
- There hasn't been much in the way of talks for Dan Uggla recently.
- Baltimore won't be bidders for John Lackey, but they like Hank Blalock, Nick Johnson, and Carlos Delgado as options for first base. Luke Scott is not a full-time first base option. Pedro Feliz is their primary third base target.
- Baltimore isn't in on talks for Edwin Jackson or Matt Lindstrom, but they did meet with the agent for Aroldis Chapman.
- Baltimore may sign another catcher, but it's not a priority.