Report: Giants closing in on minor league deal with Kyle Blanks

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
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John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that free agent Kyle Blanks is close to finalizing a minor league contract with the Giants.

The 6-foot-6 Blanks has some pop in his bat, especially against left-handed pitching, but he simply hasn’t been able to stay on the field. The 29-year-old has been limited to just 44 games in the majors over the past two seasons due to calf and Achilles injuries. He underwent surgery in September for a chronic condition in his right foot and was expected to have surgery on his left foot in November. He opted for free agency after being outrighted off the Rangers’ 40-man roster last month.

Shea writes that Blanks has a “good chance” to make the Giants out of spring training, where he’d presumably function as a right-handed bat off the bench and backup first baseman. He also has experience in the outfield, but the Giants would likely try to limit his exposure there for obvious reasons.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.