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 loss of a close, well-pitched game is hard enough for any team to take, but when you lose two key players to injury in the process it’s gotta be damn nigh intolerable. That’s what happened to the Angels last night in their 3-1 loss to Minnesota, losing Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani. And it happened on consecutive plays in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Simmons is likely to be gone for an extended period after suffering a sprained ankle which was later deemed “severe”. Indeed, they weren’t sure it wasn’t broken until the X-rays came back negative. He sustained the injury running to first base, trying to beat out an infield hit. He came down on the ankle and it twisted in ugly fashion — there are Gifs of it on Twitter and stuff, but you don’t wanna see them — before tumbling over the bag to the ground. Simmons will have an MRI today to see how bad things really are.
Ohtani got off more easily, getting hit in the right ring finger with a pitch while striking out. His X-rays were also negative, but they will reassess him today.
Simmons is hitting .298/.323/.415 on the year while playing his usual spectacular defense. Ohtani, who just came back from Tommy John surgery as a hitter a couple of weeks ago, is hitting .250/.345/.375.