UPDATE: Hank Blalock signs minor league deal with Rays

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UPDATE: Blalock has agreed to a minor league contract with the Rays, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. He’ll receive a $925,000 base salary if he makes the team plus $350,000 in performance incentives.
Monday 11:58am: MLB.com’s Bill Chastain reports that “the Rays appear to be close to signing Hank Blalock to a minor-league deal.” And manager Joe Maddon all but confirmed the move when asked this morning, saying: “I anticipate that it’s going to get done relatively soon.”
Blalock smacked 25 homers in 462 at-bats last season, but hit a career-worst .234 with a putrid .277 on-base percentage and 108/26 K/BB ratio in the process, missed most of 2007 and 2008 with injuries, and may not be able to play third base any longer thanks to shoulder problems. In other words, a minor-league pact sounds about right.
He’ll likely compete with Pat Burrell for playing time at designated hitter, with a strict lefty-righty platoon being an option. Blalock reportedly also had a similar offer from the Marlins, but the Rays probably represent a better chance for significant action as well as a better team.

The Tigers decline Anibal Sanchez’s 2018 option

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From the “this does not surprise us in the very least” department, Tigers GM Al Avila announced today that the club is declining its $16 million option on right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez had a terrible year in 2017, going 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 2017. That’s a long slide down from his 2013 season, in which he won the AL ERA title, going 14-8 and posting an ERA of 2.57 in the first year of his five-year, $80 million deal. Since then he’s gone 28-35 with a 5.15 ERA. He never started 30 games or more over the course of the contract.

The declination of the option does come with a nice parting gift for Sanchez: a $5 million buyout. Which is pretty dang high for a buyout, but that’s how the Tigers rolled three or four years ago.