Earlier this week the Diamondbacks were said to be on the verge of signing veteran catcher Henry Blanco and now Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports that they’ve come to terms on a one-year, $1 million contract.
Blanco will back up 27-year-old starter Miguel Montero and figures to get most of his starts subbing for the left-handed-hitting Montero versus left-handed pitching.
Blanco has never been much of a hitter and at age 39 his bat is pretty anemic at this point, but he can still shut down a running game after throwing out 11 of 22 steal attempts this year.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Jorge Cantu is “seriously being considered by the Diamondbacks” as an option at first base.
Cantu was horrendous for the Rangers after they acquired him a midseason deal with the Marlins and barely played in the postseason as rookie Mitch Moreland emerged as the primary first baseman.
He’s always had 25-homer power, but poor plate discipline kept Cantu from emerging as more than a decent regular and now even that may be a stretch. He hit just .256 with a .304 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage in 127 games this year and would likely be best in a platoon role facing mostly left-handers even if he bounces back in 2011.
That could make him a fit in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks acquired minor-league veteran and left-handed hitter Juan Miranda from the Yankees last month. It won’t excite fans, but a Miranda-Cantu platoon could produce something resembling league-average production very cheaply.
After signing first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-year, $10 million deal the Cubs have turned their attention to the rotation.
Craig reported earlier that Matt Garza could be a possibility, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes that Brandon Webb “remains their No. 1 target.”
Webb hasn’t pitched since Opening Day of 2009 because of a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery and Sullivan notes that “the Cubs still have to check out his medical records” before making an offer to the former Cy Young winner.
Earlier this week the Nationals were also said to be heavily pursuing Webb and according to Sullivan the Cubs are merely “one of the top two or three teams” in the mix for the 31-year-old right-hander.
Mike Hampton came back from his latest arm surgery to make 10 appearances as a left-handed specialist for the Diamondbacks in September and today Arizona re-signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that Hampton “will compete for a job coming out of the bullpen” at age 38, after undergoing surgery to repair labrum and rotator cuff damage in his shoulder about 14 months ago.
Hampton hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since way back in 2004, throwing a grand total of 264 innings in the six years since then.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks “are closing in on a deal to sign” Henry Blanco, with the veteran catcher expected to receive a one-year contract.
It makes sense for the Diamondbacks to find a right-handed-hitting backup for the left-handed-hitting Miguel Montero, who’s entrenched as the starter behind the plate.
Blanco brings very little to the table offensively, but even at age 39 he’s capable of shutting down the opponents’ running game, throwing out 45 percent of steal attempts during the past three seasons.
Arizona would be Blanco’s eighth team in 14 seasons. He played this year with the Mets, hitting .215/.271/.300 in 144 plate appearances.