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Henry Blanco Rumors
WEDNESDAY, 7:53am: The Diamondbacks are "on the verge" of a one-year deal with Blanco, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. The contract will likely pay the catcher about $1MM in 2011 and may include a mutual option for 2012.
TUESDAY, 11:30am: Blanco indicated the two sides are close to an agreement in an interview on the team site of the Margarita Braves (link in Spanish), where he plays in the Venezuelan Winter League. Asked by Leonard Ojeda Ledezma about his status with the Diamondbacks, Blanco replied, "Although nothing definite has been settled on yet, I believe it should be made official in the first part of next week. I'm happy because I'll have Venezuelan teammates like Gerardo Parra and Melvin Mora." – Nick Collias
FRIDAY, 12:28pm: The D'Backs are still eyeing Blanco, but will move on if his asking price is too high, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter).
Blanco, 39, picked up 144 plate appearances in 50 games for the Mets last year. He was signed by Kevin Towers to play for the Padres prior to the '09 season.
Links for Tuesday, exactly five years after the Blue Jays signed A.J. Burnett to a five-year, $55MM deal. Now with the Yankees, Burnett's part of a Yankees rotation that's very much in flux. Here are today's links…
- The Cardinals announced on Twitter that they avoided arbitration with Ryan Theriot, signing the infielder to a one-year deal for 2011. Fanhouse's Steve Phillips says the deal is for $3.3MM.
- A Los Angeles judge ruled that Frank McCourt is not the sole owner of the Dodgers and the ruling is not expected to impact the team's day-to-day operations, according to Bill Shaikin and Carla Hall of the LA Times. If anything, the Dodgers have spent more aggressively than usual this winter.
- The Mets talked to Freddy Garcia's representatives at some point before the meetings, but the right-hander is not the team's top priority, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter).
- Manny Delcarmen, who was non-tendered by the Rockies last week, is drawing interest from two AL East teams (but not the Red Sox) according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (on Twitter).
- Carlos Gomez is available, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). The Brewers want pitching for Gomez and are reluctant to part with Lorenzo Cain.
- Quiet day for the Reds – GM Walt Jocketty tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that he's had "zero" discussions with teams or agents today (Twitter link).
- The Diamondbacks have some interest in Henry Blanco, but the catcher isn't expected to decide on his next team at the meetings, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona (on Twitter).
- Derek Jeter told reporters, including Ben Shpigel of the New York Times, that he was bothered by how public his contract negotiations became.
Some D-Backs news from Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic..
- The Diamondbacks were discussing a Mark Reynolds swap with the Blue Jays as recently as prior to Thursday night's arbitration deadline. However, the Orioles have been the most aggressive of any suitor and Piecoro says they seem to be the most likely landing spot for the third baseman.
- Arizona is in the market for a backup catcher and free agent Henry Blanco is at or near the top of their list. The 39-year-old hit just .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate appearances for the Mets last season.
- Piecoro writes that Xavier Nady would fit the mold for the D-Backs as they look for a right-handed hitter off of the bench that can play left field and first base. Nady suffered a down year with the Cubs in 2010 and should come cheap. The veteran earned $3.3MM off of his one-year deal with Chicago.
The Mets expressed a willingness to discuss a multi-year deal with R.A. Dickey early last month, and it appears that the knuckleballer may be open to the possibility as well according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin. The idea would be to trade long-term security for a lower base salary, giving the team some financial flexibility going forward.
Dickey, 36 at the end of the month, was a revelation for the Mets this year. He made 26 starts (and one relief appearance) after being called up in May, and pitched to a 2.84 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Arbitration-eligible after the season, Dickey earned just $600K in the big leagues this season. It was the fourth season in a row that he had to settle for a minor league contract.
Within the same piece, Rubin notes that backup catcher Henry Blanco intends to play next season, and that Elmer Dessens will do the same only if he gets a guaranteed big league deal somewhere. The 38-year-old Blanco hit .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate appearances this year while Dessens posted a shiny 2.30 ERA despite unimpressive peripheral stats (3.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9) in 47 innings of relief.
Just a week after signing backup catcher Henry Blanco to a one year, $1.45MM contract, the two sides have re-negotiated the pact according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff. Concerns about the backstop's throwing shoulder popped up during a physical, which led the restructuring.
Under the new contract, Blanco can actually earn more than he would have under the original deal, however most of that money is now tied up in bonuses. His base salary drops to $750K, but he can pocket another $775K in incentives tied to games started and various awards.
The new deal protects the Mets should Blanco get hurt, and as Davidoff so candidly puts it, if he earns those incentives, then "something has gone horribly wrong for the Mets." Blanco's agent stressed that his client's shoulder has been fine since a 1997 procedure.
MONDAY, 7:44pm: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Mets are considering offering Molina a deal that would pay him $6MM next year and include an option for 2011. It's not clear what kind of option they're considering. The Mets would prefer not to offer Molina a two-year deal, but they haven't ruled such a deal out.
9:52pm: Newsday's Ken Davidoff says that the Mets are considering Rod Barajas as an alternative to Molina. What do you think: genuine interest, or a smoke screen to put some pressure on Bengie?
SUNDAY, 3:02pm: Jon Heyman says, via Twitter, that the Mets are trying to wait it out when it comes to Molina. According to Heyman, the Mets figure that other teams with catching needs, such as the Royals and Rangers, have less money than them.
Are the Mets wise to wait on Bengie? Or, are they running a risk of losing out on what seems to be their main target for starting catcher in 2010? Gregg Zaun already signed with the Brewers this week, eliminating one possible alternative from this year's free agent crop.
SATURDAY, 9:19am: Despite signing both Henry Blanco and Chris Coste recently, the Mets are still looking to add a catcher according to Bart Hubbuch of The NY Post. Manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen hold last year's catching corps partially responsible for the team's 4.46 ERA, though I think the fact that Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding, Oliver Perez, Nelson Figueroa, and Pat Misch combined to make 71 starts is more to blame.
Hubbuch says the primary catching target appears to be Bengie Molina, whose 20 homers in 2009 was nearly double what the Mets got out of their catchers. Molina is a Type-A free agent, but he wasn't offered arbitration, meaning it won't cost a draft pick to sign him. Giants' GM Brian Sabean recently said that he believes Molina "probably has been offered" a multi-year deal by another team, though we haven't heard any more about that.
You can add catching to the list of San Diego needs now that the Mets have signed Henry Blanco, writes Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
With the Mets inking the veteran backstop to a one-year deal last week, the Padres now find themselves without a complement to Nick Hundley behind the dish. The organization is currently split on whether or not Hundley is a starting or backup catcher, according to Center. San Diego had discussed re-signing Blanco, but Center now wonders if they'll instead explore the trade market for options.
He names Heath Bell and Kevin Kouzmanoff as the Padres main most desirable trade chips not named "Adrian Gonzalez." As Center points out, there are numerous late-inning relief options on the market. While that might normally hamper a reliever's trade value, you've got to imagine Bell as an exception. The National League saves leader will cost significantly less than most other available options, as he's arbitration eligible after earning just $1.255MM last season.
Kouzmanoff is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and could appeal to any number of teams in search of a third baseman. The Twins, Orioles, and Astros could all use help at third base, to name a few teams.
The Padres find themselves in need of another catcher, a right-handed hitting center fielder, rotation help, and a backup middle infielder who can be a defensive asset. Can Jed Hoyer find a way to make this a reality while maintaining a reasonable payroll?
THURSDAY, 5:48pm: Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post confirms the agreement and adds that an announcement will come tomorrow or Saturday (via Twitter).
8:58am: Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News passes on a report from the Venezuelan paper, El Nacional, that says Blanco is on his way to a physical with the Mets. Via Twitter, Jon Heyman of SI.com suggests the Mets will sign Blanco. He says the club maintains interest in Bengie Molina.
MONDAY, 2:58pm: The Mets are close to a deal with free agent catcher Henry Blanco, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Blanco would be brought on as a backup. The 38-year-old hit .235/.320/.382 in 232 plate appearances for the Padres this year, catching 508 innings and earning $750K.
Rosenthal notes that in terms of starting catchers, Bengie Molina "is believed to be" the Mets' top target. Molina's prospects will be greatly affected by the Giants' decision whether to offer him arbitration tomorrow night.
The Padres will not offer arbitration to Type B free agent outfielder Brian Giles, MLB.com's Corey Brock learned from GM Jed Hoyer. Backup catcher Henry Blanco, who is neither A nor B, also will not get an offer. Brock says the Padres would like to re-sign Blanco, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes he's close to a deal with the Mets.
Giles was an easy decision after he fell off a cliff in 2009, hitting just .191/.277/.271 in 253 plate appearances while earning $9MM. Giles dealt with a knee injury during the season.
If San Diego doesn't re-sign Henry Blanco before their exclusive negotiating window ends on Thursday, it appears as if there is at least one known suitor for the veteran catcher. According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Blanco's agent Steven Schneider singled out the White Sox as one of "several teams" who have shown interest in Blanco's services.
Blanco's role in Chicago would be to back up incumbent starter A.J. Pierzynski, with Blanco providing a natural right-handed hitting counterpart to the lefty Pierzynski. The batting is secondary, however, to Blanco's defensive presence and ability to throw out runners. Blanco threw out 40 percent of all runners attempting to steal on him in 2009.
The White Sox would be the eighth team that Blanco has played for in his 12-year career, but it wouldn't be his first time in Chicago. Blanco's longest stint with any club was with the Cubs from 2005 to 2008, and Schneider told Gonzales that the catcher and his family enjoyed their time living in the Windy City.