42-year-old Henry Blanco lost out to Tuffy Gosewisch for the Diamondbacks’ backup catcher job during spring training, but he’ll still be wearing the team’s uniform this season. Just not as a player. The Diamondbacks announced this afternoon that Blanco has joined the team’s coaching staff.
Don’t take this decision to mean that Blanco has turned the page on his playing career. While the initial announcement from the team said that Blanco had officially retired, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports that the team has since clarified by saying that he is open to playing again. You have to love that.
Blanco has compiled a .223/.288/.361 career batting line and 72 home runs over 16 major league seasons. He has played for 11 different teams.
Matt Eddy of Baseball America passes along word that the Diamondbacks have signed 42-year-old catcher Henry Blanco to a minor league contract.
Blanco spent time with the Blue Jays and Mariners this past season, batting just .142/.228/.246 with three home runs and 14 RBI over 150 plate appearances. He previously played with Arizona from 2011-2012. The Diamondbacks don’t have an obvious in-house candidate to serve as Miguel Montero’s backup in 2014, so Blanco should have a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster assuming no other moves are made.
According to Eddy, the Diamondbacks have also given minor league deals to former top prospect Andy Marte and indy ball pitchers Bradley Blanks and Anthony Collazo.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are close to re-signing rehabbing right-hander Daniel Hudson and backup catcher Henry Blanco.
Hudson is expected to miss most of 2014 following a pair of Tommy John elbow surgeries and the Diamondbacks non-tendered him last week because they ran out of time to work out a deal before the arbitration-offering deadline. According to Piecoro the main sticking point was that Hudson wants a guaranteed spot on the 40-man roster while he rehabs.
Blanco was Arizona’s backup catcher for 2011 and 2012, playing sparingly behind starter Miguel Montero before spending this year in Seattle and Toronto. At age 42 he’s near the end of the line, but Pieroco reports that he’ll cost only a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.
Free agent catcher Henry Blanco wants to play one more season in the big leagues before calling it a career, tweets Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors. Blanco, now 42 years old, spent the 2013 season between the Blue Jays and Mariners, appearing in 50 games total. He was only able to muster a .474 OPS.
Blanco created a feel-good story during the season with two of his three home runs. On June 15, he hit a grand slam against Athletics starter A.J. Griffin, his first since the start of the millennium, when he took Pirates starter Jason Schmidt deep for a four-run round-tripper. Just for good measure, Blanco hit another salami on August 1 against Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster.
Over his 16-year career, Blanco has developed a reputation as a sterling defensive catcher with all of the intangibles, allowing teams to look past his lackluster skills with the bat. Dierkes mentions in his tweet that Blanco is likely to slide right into coaching once he hangs up the spikes.
Brian McCann is the best available catcher, and given that good catching is about the hardest thing to find — Henry Blanco is still active for crying out loud — it is definitely a seller’s market for Mr. McCann’s representatives. In light of that I’m kind of surprised that he isn’t pulling a Cliff Lee and making GMs show up at his house to woo him. But I suppose this is the next best thing:
No matter who travels where, though, my favorite part of the hot stove season is about to begin: the part where people track flight paths of private planes in an effort to guess where the team owner/free agent is heading. I can’t remember any of those reports ever actually linking up with an impending free agent announcement, but they’re still very exciting!