The Blue Jays announced this evening that they have signed catcher Henry Blanco to a non-guaranteed, one-year, $750,000 contract. Tommy Hottovy was designated for assignment in a corresponding roster move, which means Blanco will occupy a spot on the 40-man roster for the time being.
Blanco, 41, batted just .188/.224/.281 with one home run, seven RBI and a .581 OPS in 21 games with the Diamondbacks last season. He became a free agent after Arizona declined his $1.24 million option for 2013.
The Blue Jays already have J.P. Arencibia and Josh Thole as the projected catchers for the Opening Day roster, so Blanco will provide some insurance. It also helps that he caught knuckleballer R.A. Dickey when they were teammates with the Mets in 2010.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.