Berkman, Blanco Find Employment
In perhaps their biggest move of the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed catcher Henry Blanco to one-year, non-guaranteed contract for somewhere in the neighborhood of $750,000. I can’t imagine why a MLB club would sign Blanco, but, then, I haven’t been able to imagine the same for the past six years. My guess is that someone informed the Blue Jays that Blanco can catch R.A. Dickey‘s knuckleball, and, even though Blanco might be the most overrated defensive backstop of the past 20 years, he’s still better than Josh Thole behind the dish. I’m fairly sure that Thole has an option remaining, which, if I’m correct, means that it’s conceivable Blanco wins the backup backstop job in Toronto, and Thole finds himself sent down to, ironically, AAA Buffalo.
Not quite as spectacular a move, but worth mentioning, is the Texas Rangers’ signing of switch-hitter Lance Berkman. He’s not exactly Josh Hamilton or Justin Upton, but Berkman may have another .900+ OPS season left in him.
In other news, it appears that Austin Kearns is on the verge of signing a minor-league deal with the Marlins. Maybe the Mets don’t need a RH-hitting OF as badly as we think — or, maybe the Marlins are a more attractive option for Kearns right now. Take your pick.
However, the Mets are reportedly very interested in Brian Wilson — presumably, the pitcher and not the Beach Boy. But then again, how can we know for sure? We’ve mentioned here before that Wilson would be a great fit, for both sides. But how much is he asking, and can the Mets meet that cost? Further, who else is kicking the tires on The Beard? It’s curious that we haven’t heard more noise around the reliever coming off Tommy John surgery.
Another pitcher the Mets are reportedly hot after is Kip Wells. I won’t hold my breath. Getting too keyed up and excited about such a move, only to find out Wells signs elsewhere, would be too devastating to bear.
Also according to several sources, the Mets are interested in Justin Upton. Yeah? Who isn’t, other than the Diamondbacks? Considering what Seattle had on the table, it would seem the Mets would have to, at minimum, part with Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler, as well as Wilmer Flores, and possibly one of Travis d’Arnaud, Brandon Nimmo, Aderlin Rodriguez, and Gavin Cecchini. Does that make any sense, considering the organization’s lack of depth?
Finally, according to Marc Carig of Newsday:
Though the Mets have cast a wide net in their search for a fifth starter, the club has yet to progress past preliminary talks, content to let the market develop before making a push to sign players.
Huh? There are what? Thirty days before pitchers and catchers report? And the Mets are waiting for “the market to develop”? Just now engaging in “prelimnary talks”? Hey, don’t rush anything.
Carig goes on to mention that the Mets are not against bringing back Jon Rauch, which I presume means they are interested in re-signing him. The way this offseason is shaping up, the 2013 Mets will look almost exactly like the 74-88 Mets of 2012, minus Cy Young / All-World R.A. Dickey.