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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.