UPDATE: A slight correction. Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears that it is a non-guaranteed major league deal.
11:35 PM: Marty Caswell of XX1090 Sports Radio in San Diego reports that Cantu will make an $850,000 base salary in his new one-year contract with the Padres. I would assume there are some incentives in there, as well.
11:06 PM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Padres have agreed to sign Jorge Cantu. And opposed to what Jon Heyman of SI.com reported earlier today, the club ultimately gave him a guaranteed major league contract.
Cantu, who turns 29 later this month, batted .256/.304/.392 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI last season. He had a meager .235 batting average over 105 plate appearances after being acquired by Rangers at the trade deadline and was largely a non-factor during the team’s World Series run, seeing a grand total of four plate appearances during the entire postseason.
The right-handed hitting Cantu batted just .234 with a .647 OPS in 154 plate appearances against left-handed pitching last season, but if he can get back to his production against southpaws from 2009 ( .892 OPS) and 2008 (.866 OPS), he could be a pretty solid platoon partner for Brad Hawpe at first base or Chase Headley at the hot corner.
The Padres are set to recall top infield prospect Luis Urías from Triple-A El Paso, according to a report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. It’ll be the second such stint for the club’s no. 2 prospect, and one they hope to extend through the end of the season. A corresponding roster move will be announced later this weekend.
Urías, 22, struggled in his first promotion to the majors this April. Touted as “one of the Minors’ better pure hitters” with “innate bat-to-ball skills” and “plus on-base skills,” he found it difficult to adjust to big league pitching and slashed a lackluster .083/.241/.125 with just two hits and four walks over 11 games with the Padres.
Upon his return to Triple-A, however, the young middle infielder has delivered nothing short of spectacular results, batting .315/.398/.600 with 19 home runs, seven stolen bases (in nine chances), and a .998 OPS across 339 plate appearances. Given the additional measures he’s taken to improve his mechanics — something, Acee says, the Padres are far more interested in than his results at the plate — it seems he may be ready to handle the competition at the highest level on a long-term basis.
Urías is expected to be recalled in time for the Padres’ game against the Cubs on Saturday, where he’ll likely share the middle infield with fellow top prospect Fernando Tatís. The game is set for 2:20 PM EDT.