Kyle Blanks Rumors

Padres, A’s Exploring Kyle Blanks Trade

THURSDAY: Talks between the clubs appear to be “heating up” today, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

TUESDAY: Blanks has been optioned to Triple-A to create roster space for Carlos Quentin, manager Bud Black told Marty Caswell of 1090 Sports Radio (Twitter link; h/t to’s Corey Brock). That, rather than a completed trade, explains his absence from the lineup card today. Of course, Blanks can still be dealt just the same whether or not he is on the active roster.

MONDAY: First baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks could be on the move soon, and the A’s are one possibility for the team that could acquire him, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (Twitter links). Oakland has in fact shown interest in acquiring Blanks, reports Joe Stiglich of

One name that Cotillo hears could be in play is Jake Goebbert — a 26-year-old outfielder who is batting .257/.371/.505 in 132 plate appearances with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. Goebbert did not place on Baseball America’s list of Top 30 A’s prospects nor on’s Top 20 list for Oakland.

The Friars only recently promoted Blanks, 27, from Triple-A El Paso this season, where he had been hitting the ball with authority, pounding nine homers in 99 plate appearances. Blanks was once regarded as the game’s No. 50 prospect by Baseball America and No. 54 by ESPN’s Keith Law, but that was back in 2009. Since a highly impressive debut that same season in which he batted a healthy .250/.355/.514 with 10 homers in 172 PA, Blanks has slashed just .222/.298/.372 in the Majors.

As Stiglich notes, the A’s could be interested in platooning Blanks at first and/or deploying him as an outfield bench bat. Alternatively, the club may have designs on stashing him at Triple-A for depth.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Padres Designate Xavier Nady For Assignment

The Padres announced (on Twitter) that they have designated outfielder Xavier Nady for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for Kyle Blanks, who will be recalled from Triple-A El Paso for tonight’s game.

Though the 35-year-old Nady belted three homers in 42 plate appearances for the Padres, he also batted just .135 with a .238 on-base percentage in 2014. This season marked his first big league action since 2012 as well as a return to the organization that originally selected him in the second round of the 2000 draft

Blanks, 27, has hit very well for El Paso this season, slashing .265/.364/.651 with nine home runs in 99 trips to the plate. The former top prospect has seen his share of big league experience but has never been able to replicate the strong production he posted in his 54-game debut as a 22-year-old back in 2009. Over the past four seasons in the Majors, Blanks has batted .223/.300/.375 with 18 homers in 624 plate appearances — a far cry from 2009’s .255/.355/.514 with 10 round-trippers in 172 PA.

The Padres could use all of the help they can get offensively, as the team has batted just .216/.268/.325 as a collective unit thus far, causing them to rank last in the Majors in nearly any measure of offensive output (e.g. runs scored, OPS, wOBA, OPS+ and wRC+).

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Friday

We'll keep track of today's smaller deals to avoid arbitration in this post. Click here for background on the upcoming arbitration schedule and how MLBTR is covering it. You can also check in on our Arbitration Tracker and look at MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's arbitration projections.

Today's noon CT deadline to exchange arb figures has passed, but negotiations to avoid an arbitration hearing can continue into February. The Braves are the only strict "file and trial" team that did not agree to terms with all of its arb-eligible players, meaning they could be headed for several hearings. The Nats and Indians have also shown a willingness to go to a trial and still have some players unsigned. On to today's contract agreements…

  • After exchanging numbers, the Mets and pitcher Dillon Gee have agreed to settle at the midpoint of $3.625MM, tweets Adam Rubin of Swartz projected Gee to earn $3.4MM.
  • The Cubs have avoided arbitration with reliever Pedro Strop, president Theo Epstein told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). He will earn $1.325MM next year, according to a tweet from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. It is not immediately apparent whether the deal was reached before the sides exchanged terms.
  • The Angels have reached agreement on a $3.8MM deal with reliever Ernesto Frieri, reports Alden Gonzalez of (on Twitter). 
  • Mike Minor has agreed to terms on a $3.85MM deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration, reports Mark Bowman of (Twitter links). The deal came before figures were exchanged, Bowman notes.
  • Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the D-Backs and lefty Joe Thatcher have avoided arb with a one-year, $2.375MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Angels and Fernando Salas reached an agreement to avoid arbitration. Salas is the first Halos player to avoid arb. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweets that Salas will earn $870K, which beats out his $700K projection.
  •'s Jason Beck reports (via Twitter) that the Tigers and righty Al Alburquerque have reached agreement on a deal to avoid arb. The hard-throwing righty will earn $837.5K in 2014, tweets Beck.
  • Sherman tweets that the Yankees and Ivan Nova avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.3MM deal.
  • The Pirates and Vin Mazzaro inked a one-year, $950K deal in lieu of an arbitration hearing, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
  • The Royals announced that they've avoided arbitration with infielder Emilio Bonifacio. Heyman tweets that Bonifacio will earn $3.5MM in 2014.
  • Sherman reports that the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeremy Hellickson and Sean Rodriguez (Twitter link). Hellickson landed a $3.625MM payday with a $25K bonus if he hits 195 innings pitched. Rodriguez will get $1.475MM with a $25K bump for hitting 300 plate appearances.
  • Roch Kubatko of tweets that Brian Matusz avoided arb with the Orioles. Sherman adds that he'll earn $2.4MM in 2014.
  •'s Brian McTaggart tweets that Jason Castro and the Astros have avoided arbitration. McTaggart adds in a second tweet that Jesus Guzman avoided arb as well. Heyman reports that Castro will be paid $2.45MM, while Sherman tweets that Guzman will make $1.3MM.
  • The Indians tweeted that they've avoided arb with lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and's Jordan Bastian tweets that he'll earn $1.375MM in 2014. Bastian adds that Scrabble will earn an additional $25K for appearing in 55 games and another $25K for 60 games.
  • The Giants avoided arbitration with Yusmeiro Petit, according to MLBTR's Steve Adams (on Twitter).  He'll earn $845K, according to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith (via Twitter).


Padres, Blanks Avoid Arbitration

The Padres avoided arbitration with Kyle Blanks,'s Jerry Crasnick reports (on Twitter). The Sosnick/Cobbe client will earn $605K in 2013.

Blanks, 26, appeared in just four games this past season, undergoing season-ending labrum surgery in April. The right-handed hitter has a career batting line of .219/.316/.421 with 20 home runs in 488 career plate appearances. Matt Swartz's projections for MLBTR had Blanks at $600K, so the agreed upon salary doesn't come as a surprise.

Quick Hits: Rizzo, Rangers, Garza, Johnson

It was one year ago today that the Angels and Blue Jays pulled off the huge trade that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli.  The Jays were considered immediate winners for getting Wells' huge contract off their payroll and the swap looks even better for Toronto given Wells' .218/.248/.412 season in 2011.

Some news from around the majors…

  • New Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo holds the top spot on this list of baseball's top 10 first base prospects from's Jonathan Mayo.
  • Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledged that there are "active discussions internally" about improving the team when speaking with Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo on MLB Network Radio (mp3 link), but it's unlikely the Rangers will make another significant move. "It won't be from a lack of creativity," he said.
  • Matt Garza told Hollandsworth and Memolo that he's "definitely open" to signing an extension with the Cubs (mp3 link).
  • Josh Johnson tells Glenn Geffner of the Marlins Insider 790 AM radio show (and passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post) that he will begin throwing off a mound next week, the first time the Marlins ace has done so since September.  Johnson was limited to nine starts last season due to shoulder injuries.
  • Yoenis Cespedes is still not an established resident of the Dominican Republic, which is holding up his free agency, reports's Jesse Sanchez.
  • Kyle Blanks may only realize his potential if he leaves the Padres, opines Fangraphs' Paul Swydan.
  • Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back with his weekly online chat about the Padres.
  • The Tigers, Indians and the "sleeper choice" Brewers are all possible fits for Derrek Lee, writes Tony Andracki of

MLBTR's Mike Axisa also contributed to this post

Possible Destinations: Andruw Jones

Was a better bargain than Andruw Jones signed this winter? The White Sox added him on a one-year deal worth $500K, and all he's given them so far is a batting line of .260/.360/.604. Meanwhile, the man patrolling his old Atlanta center field home, Nate McLouth, checks in at .167/.302/.271, and Gary Matthews Jr., who will make twice what Jones does from the Mets this year (and next year!), is hitting .152/.235/.196.

The problem is, this hasn't allowed the White Sox to move into contention. Thanks to a 14-20 start, combined with Minnesota's 22-12 beginning, Chicago is already eight games out, with Memorial Day still weeks away. So it may well be that the White Sox can, and should flip Jones to a contending team down the stretch. And that reasonable short-term deal means some of the smaller-market contenders are likely to be in the Jones sweepstakes.

What are some possible destinations?

  • Washington could be a good fit. Willie Harris is hitting just .182/.313/.418, and with Willy Taveras also getting outfield at-bats, so Jones could be a good fit for regular corner outfield time. The Nationals have several pitchers set to join the big league team, but little in the way of outfield prospects at the top of their system. For now, the Nationals say they're content with Harris and Roger Bernadina.
  • Cincinnati has seen Drew Stubbs struggle in center field so far; he's hitting just .196/.283/.321. It shouldn't be hard to convince Dusty Baker to play the veteran Jones over Stubbs, either. It's not clear that Jones is still an every day center fielder, but Chicago has already played him there four times in 2010.
  • The Padres have Kyle Blanks in left field, Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field, and Will Venable in right field. Of the three, only Blanks profiles as a top prospect, so the other two could be vulnerable to a Jones acquisition, should San Diego remain in the race.
  • With Eric Chavez and Jake Fox struggling, and Rajai Davis reverting to form, the Athletics could use Jones in either center field or at designated hitter to support an imposing starting rotation. The move sounds a lot like acquiring Frank Thomas, doesn't it?
  • And don't fall asleep on Seattle, either. Currently 6.5 games out, the Mariners have the talent to climb back into the race, but their DHs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Sweeney, simply aren't hitting. Jones could also slot into left field.

One thing's for sure: those who believed Andruw Jones' career was over- a sad thing for anyone who saw him dominate baseball in his 20s- appear to have been premature.

Odds And Ends: Webb, Doumit, Blanks

Links for Friday morning…

Padres Looking For Pitching

Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes about the Padres’ intention to add pitching to the organization.  He learned that the Nationals inquired about Padres first base prospect Kyle Blanks, but were not willing to trade their own top prospect Jordan Zimmermann.  Would’ve been interesting to see.

Krasovic says the Padres are focused on out of options pitchers, and in particular inquired on Arizona’s Juan Gutierrez.  Krasovic tosses out names of other out of options hurlers on the D’Backs and Angels: Jason Bulger, Shane Loux, Dustin Moseley, Yusmeiro Petit, and Travis Blackley.  Two more possibilities: Giants Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo and Rangers veteran Jason Jennings.  I don’t know whether the Padres are interested, but a few more out of options pitchers include David Pauley, Hayden Penn, Dustin Nippert, Jeff Niemann, and Jason Hammel.

According to Krasovic, GM Kevin Towers is focused exclusively on pitching this month.  Krasovic adds:

Some Padres evaluators have become dismayed, according to other clubs, by a perceived dearth of power arms high in the organization and are wondering if the club’s four-year emphasis on “pitchability” got overdone.