Henry Blanco Rumors
The D'Backs announced that they exercised their sides of the mutual options for Henry Blanco and Willie Bloomquist, while declining their team options for Zach Duke and Aaron Hill (Twitter link). However, Bloomquist has declined his side of the mutual option and would like to work out a longer deal, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter).
Blanco's option is worth $1.15MM and includes a $250K buyout. It's not yet clear whether he'll return to Arizona for a second season. In 112 plate appearances in 2011, the 14-year veteran posted a .250/.330/.540 line with eight home runs. Bloomquist's option was worth $1.1MM. The 33-year-old played left field, shortstop and second base in 2011, while posting a .266/.317/.340 battling line in 381 plate appearances.
Hill posted an .878 OPS with the D'Backs after struggling in Toronto for a combined season line of .246/.299/.356. Though the D'Backs would like him back, his $8MM option was too much for GM Kevin Towers' liking. Hill's contract also included an $8MM team option for 2013. Duke posted a 4.93 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 76 2/3 innings, so there was no doubt that the team would decline its $5.5MM club option in favor of the $750K buyout.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times cites a Padres team source who doubts that Aaron Harang will be back with the team in 2012 (Twitter link). Hayes says that right now, it's not clear if Harang's $5MM mutual option was rejected by either side yet.
- The Diamondbacks are expected to exercise their half of the mutual options they hold on Willie Bloomquist and Henry Blanco, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times notes that the Dodgers lead the Majors with 10 pending free agents. Dilbeck says that the club is looking to go young behind the plate next year, and doesn't expect to offer arbitration to Type B free agent Rod Barajas.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers spoke to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic yesterday. Highlights:
- Towers would like to bring back second baseman Aaron Hill, but not at his option prices of $8MM for each of the 2012 and '13 seasons. The 29-year-old hit .315/.386/.492 in 142 plate appearances for Arizona, his first stint in the National League. He's represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council, as our Agency Database shows.
- Towers is "leaning toward" exercising Willie Bloomquist's $1.1MM mutual option and will "probably" pick up a $1.15MM mutual option on catcher Henry Blanco. Piecoro expects both players back, so these might be rare cases where both sides exercise their end of mutual options.
- The GM is undecided on whether to tender a contract to lefty Joe Saunders, depending on whether he thinks the team's young starters are ready. Saunders is due a raise on this year's $5.5MM salary, which we'll dig into later this week here at MLBTR. Towers believes the team has the payroll space for both Hill and Saunders, if that's the route he chooses. I think Saunders will be tendered a contract, since he'd have some trade value.
- Left fielder Gerardo Parra's possible Super Two status is "too close to call right now," said Towers. As of August 23rd, a source told me the cutoff appeared to be two years and 145 days of service, which is the exact amount Parra has.
- Towers seeks a bat to complement first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and Piecoro thinks that might mean re-signing Lyle Overbay.
- Towers feels that the Diamondbacks' pitching staff is in "pretty good shape." The GM doesn't see "big, big" offseason needs, though he won't rule out a run at the "right kind of marquee guy."
Mercedes, who turned 24 in September, spent the 2010 season at Double-A Mobile. He pitched 53 2/3 innings out of the bullpen and posted 7.5 K/9 with 4.0 BB/9.
Ryal, 27, appeared in 104 games for the D'Backs this year, playing first, third and left. He batted .261/.308/.348 in 222 plate appearances, but his career minor league line (.287/.346/.475) is more impressive.
The D'Backs have agreed to sign Henry Blanco for $1MM, according to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (Twitter link). The deal is pending a physical and should be official by tomorrow. Elite Sports group represents the catcher.
It's the second time Kevin Towers has signed Blanco; the GM signed him to play for the Padres before the 2009 season. The 39-year-old hit .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate apperances for the Mets last year. The D'Backs aren't bringing him in for offensive thump, though. Blanco should be a steady backup for Miguel Montero and he can still throw out opponents on the basepaths. He has caught 43% of would-be base stealers in his 13-year MLB career.
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.