A’s acquire Kyle Blanks from Padres

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The rumored deal between the A’s and Padres is reality, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Oakland has acquired outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks from San Diego for a pair of minor leaguers.

Blanks was once a top prospect and has always put up big numbers in the minors, but the 6-foot-6 slugger has struggled to stay healthy and his big-league production has been modest overall. However, he has 25-homer power with lots of plate discipline and could be a very nice fit in a part-time role with the platoon-friendly A’s.

Blanks has hit .295 with 33 homers and a .962 OPS in 141 games at Triple-A, so while he no longer projects as a potential star there’s still plenty of upside to be had at age 27 if he can just stay off the disabled list.

According to Lin the Padres will receive Triple-A outfielder Jake Goebbert and a player to be named later in exchange for Blanks. Goebbert was the Astros’ 13th-round pick in 2009 and came over to the A’s in the deal for Travis Blackley. He’s not much of a prospect at age 26, so unless the PTBNL proves substantial Blanks’ price tag was very reasonable.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.