Padres demote Anthony Rizzo, add Kyle Blanks

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As it turned out, Anthony Rizzo wasn’t quite ready to make the big jump from the PCL to the majors.

After hitting just .143/.282/.265 with one homer and six RBI in 98 at-bats, Rizzo was sent back to Triple-A Tucson on Thursday.  He was 0-for-13 since play resumed after the All-Star break.

Taking his spot is big Kyle Blanks, who hit .351/.421/.716 with 11 homers and 35 RBI in 134 at-bats after replacing Rizzo at Tucson.  Blanks was long considered the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez at first base for the Padres, but San Diego decided it to try him in left field in 2009.  He hit, but he couldn’t stay healthy there, suffering a season-ending foot injury that season and then missing most of 2010 after Tommy John surgery.

Blanks is listed at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, so he always made a lot more sense at first base anyway.  Still, he’s not quite the talent that Rizzo is and it remains to be seen if he’ll fit into the Padres’ long-term plans.  He’ll probably take over as the Padres’ primary first baseman against righties for now.  Jesus Guzman had been starting over Rizzo against lefties and doing excellent work in that role.  Blanks, like Guzman, is a right-handed hitter, but he’s probably the better bet of the two versus righties.

Hopefully, Rizzo sees his first taste of failure in the majors as a learning experience.  Just 21, he was never supposed to see San Diego this year anyway, at least not until September.  He’s definitely a top talent, but he does need to cut back on the strikeouts a bit.  The Padres will probably leave him in Triple-A until rosters expand, and if things go as hoped, he can battle Blanks for the starting job next spring.

Report: Twins interested in Wade Miley

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Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.

The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.

Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”