Henry Blanco has followed Willie Bloomquist’s footsteps by declining his half of a $1.15 million option after the Diamondbacks exercised their half earlier this week.
That means Blanco is a free agent and the 40-year-old veteran will be looking for another backup catcher gig in what will be his 15th season.
Blanco is coming off a career-year at the plate, albeit in very limited playing time as Miguel Montero’s understudy, hitting .250 with eight homers and a career-high .870 OPS in 37 games.
He posted a modest .669 OPS during the previous three seasons, so that offensive outburst was a pretty clear fluke, but Blanco remains remarkably good at shutting down running games with his arm and would fit well on plenty of teams as a part-timer.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.