Henry Blanco has followed Willie Bloomquist’s footsteps by declining his half of a $1.15 million option after the Diamondbacks exercised their half earlier this week.
That means Blanco is a free agent and the 40-year-old veteran will be looking for another backup catcher gig in what will be his 15th season.
Blanco is coming off a career-year at the plate, albeit in very limited playing time as Miguel Montero’s understudy, hitting .250 with eight homers and a career-high .870 OPS in 37 games.
He posted a modest .669 OPS during the previous three seasons, so that offensive outburst was a pretty clear fluke, but Blanco remains remarkably good at shutting down running games with his arm and would fit well on plenty of teams as a part-timer.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.