So much for Tommy Hottovy, as according to a team release he has been designated for assignment in order to make room on the Jays’ 40-man for catcher Henry Blanco, who has been signed to a non-guaranteed $750,000 Major League contract.

The fact that it’s a big league deal means that the veteran of fifteen seasons won’t find himself riding minor league buses for Buffalo. So… what the hell does it mean?

One guess would be that he’s some kind of insurance against a Spring Training injury to one of the other catchers, but I suppose it’s also possible that the club sees him as a better fit for the role we all have been expecting to see Josh Thole in.

Totally just spitballin’ here, but I dunno… Thole only turned 26 in October, he had a horrid 2012 that wasn’t necessarily helped by a concussion suffered in early May, and he still can be optioned down to Triple-A.

I don’t want to oversell the concussion thing. I mean, it’s not like Thole had been anything close to great in years prior, but he was certainly more passable as a hitter, and it makes me wonder if maybe the Jays aren’t quite ready to give up on him as a guy who is only going to play once every five days– or if they don’t think he’ll force his way into a right-left platoon role, either.

Conversely, RA Dickey told ESPN New York last off-season that Blanco was the only catcher who ever looked “natural” catching his knuckleball, and Blanco is more than brutal enough with the bat to not be considered as anything but a catcher to be used extremely sparingly– even if you look at his splits, which, oddly, are slightly better over the last three years against right-handed pitching (though still… y’know… atrocious).

It at least gives them the option to consider? Maybe?

OK, how about someone to catch for Dickey in Dunedin? No? Then maybe just a straight-up badass? Always a need for that.

Comments (106)

  1. Still better than Jan Gomes.

  2. What if Thole became the starter and Arencibia was shipped out for something of more value, like another bat? Is Arencibia that much of an upgrade over Thole overall?

    • Idiot

    • Dude, did you even read the article? He talked of how Thole struggled recently and how he may continue this and how Blanco is insurance. So why would they trade a much better bat (arencibia) for a “better bat?”. They already have what I consider a decent bat at catcher in the guy you are comparing to Thole.
      Could be one of the dumber comments i have read on here. If you want to start Thole, you might be better off inviting Benito Santiago back from retirement.

    • It’s possible, sure. I certainly could see valuing Thole’s pre-2012 ability to get on base more than JP’s mistake power.

      • This has nothing to do with limiting/replacing JPA and all to do with the 4 catchers AA has used in deals since the Happ trade. There are a couple of C – type prospects left in the system, nobody close to catching in the Show.

        I will be at least mildly surprised if the Jays do not target at least 2 catchers in the first 10 rounds of the next draft.

        Let’s get a grip. This simply allows Thule to be optioned to Buffalo, and available if a receiver on the 25 man roster gets hurt.

        Andrew, as much as you want it, JPA is going nowhere. Accept it, embrace it, whatever. Quit quanting us with JPA’s numbers cause you hate the guy. AA doesn’t.
        Jeez.

      • In discussing this, I suppose we have to decide what we want out of our catcher. Arencibia, our current catcher has more homers some months than thole has had in his career. You get a better average and on base out of a contact hitter with patience like thole but you get less pop out of his wood than my 90 year old grandpa. Maybe with the new coaching staff, some of these high strikeout and power guys that had poo seasons last year (rasmus, lawrie, arencibia) will thrive from lightened pressure and a new coaches teachings and approach. Stoeten, before we throw in the towel on arencibia, keep in mind he has still only been in the league a few years, is young and really is the only option in the system. Shouldn’t we be patient with him, seeing as he seems interested in learning and wants to get better (dickey comments), has improved defensively over the years and catchers generally take a little longer to reach potential than other positions.

        • +1.

          The JPA bashing is getting tiresome.

          We have a young catcher who can hit 25 HR a year , play OK defense.

          He is getting better each year.

          He is not Buster Posey

    • Please stop pulling my pudding with your idiot comments, stick to pulling your own. Jeez.

      • A better bat at catcher isn’t the same as a better bat at say dh. Hypothetically if you move JPA to a team that needs a catcher and it gives you the pieces to add a Morse or some other bat on the market. Is a better dh + Thole worth more than JPA and Adam Lind?

      • Jeez. wtf #jeez

  3. remember me henry blanco from the bronx?

  4. Catcher options >> loogy depth
    #bluejays

  5. Anyone remember how awesome Blanco was in MVP 2005? 99 throwing strength, 99 throwing accuracy.

  6. It’s too bad this kind of offer wasn’t made to Kelly Shoppach.

    A platoon of Thole & Shoppach would almost definitely produce more value than annointing JPA the starter and only using Thole for 40 – 50 games.

    But, whatever. As shitty as Blanco is, perhaps it is enough to put JPA on the trade market where he belongs.

  7. Hank White = playoffs!

  8. JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm
    Red Sox would like to shorten their deal with Napoli to one-year to make sure the hip will be ok for 2 or 3 seasons without a lot of DL time

    Then I laughed.

  9. Wonder what it would take to pry John jaso from Seattle?

  10. This move could potentially allow the Jays to set their lineup against LHP like:

    C – Blanco ( .246/.311/.427 vs RHP career)
    1B – EE
    2B – Iz/Bona
    3B – Lawrie
    SS – Reyes
    LF – Bautista
    CF – Rasmus
    RF – Melky
    DH – JPA – (.238/.281/.486 vs RHP)

    Assuming he stays on the roster this move would potentially allow the Jays to keep Lind out of the lineup vs LHP. With Gibbons at the helm I would say its plausible. Also it allows them to keep Thole out of the lineup on a day Dickey and an opposing LHP are going. Given what we have heard from AA about the teams Budget (ie stretched to the limit) I doubt that this precludes some Thole dfa and additional piece. This looks like the final move to set our roster.

    • Blanco’s career numbers against LHP certainly aren’t reflective of the production he’s been capable of lately, and as far as DH goes, Rajai Davis is much better than both of them.

      • I’m wouldn’t completely agree with your first statement looking after glancing at his fangraphs page.

        This is vs all batters

        2012 – 67 PA / 29 wrc+
        2011 – 112 PA / 130 wrc+
        2010 – 144 PA / 52 wrc+
        2009 – 232 PA / 94 wrc+

        As recently as 2011 he put up a .266/.329/.594 in 64 ABs vs LHP

        I don’t entirely know what to make of the stats, as they are SSS and wildly fluctuating, but there is decent potential to be better than putrid in a limited role.

        That said, you’re right regarding Rajai, definitely a better option to slide into DH if the team wanted to hide Lind.

      • I think Blanco’s career OPS against LHB’s is around 0.724, and his past 3-year stats suggest that he might be a little better than that. As far as DH, I suspect Blanco would play catcher, since he is much better defensively than JP, and Rajai would challenge JP for DH.

      • Just curious stoeten have you ever played baseball before you fat slob?? Stick to being a keyboard warrior .

  11. Blanco has .994 fielding % and catches the moose-knuckle. He’s old but good insurance.

  12. The smart move. The assumed option of Thule to AAA gives much needed catching depth. AA has move TDA, Gomes, Mathis, and Perez (in the Happ deal.) The Jays have a couple of decent prospects in the system, but nobody ready to cover in the bigtime for injuries This is strictly a smart depth move.
    If the Jays don’t take a couple of catchers in the first 10 rounds of the upcoming draft, I will be shocked.

  13. I like this move.it is definitely post worthy.

    In the short term, the Jays can send Thole to Buffalo since he has options. Apparently Dickeyis comfortable with Blanco and his defence is all world.

    It I think people underestimate what Thole may be ble to do with the bat. There is very little pop I digress, but his on base skills in the 2010 & 2011 years are fantastic for a catcher. Slotting I’m low in this order to get on base and not be a fucking rally killer provides significant vale to this lineup. With all the power throughout the lineup, catcher doesn’t necessarily need to be a position to provide it as well.

    It doesn’t signify the end of JP, this Blanco acquisition, it it would certainly make it easier to trade him if an overpay offer landed on AA’s lap.

    And I have to agree that a catcher will get drafted in first ten rounds. So long as he is ‘big and strong’.

  14. It seems some in this thread still need to come to the realization (and get over the fact) that Arencibia is the starting catcher of this team. It really isn’t something to get that upset over.

    Blanco seems like an insurance signing at C, similar to Raul Chavez in 2009. Probably not much reason to look at it much deeper than that.

  15. Bautistas wrist is a huge concern for me. No one has any clue how he will come back from his surgery.

  16. Lets get back to talking about Colby’s Ghengis Khan boots. WHAT

  17. Lol yan gomes

  18. Henry Blanco is the ultimate journeyman. The Jays will be his tenth team in sixteen years if he makes the club. Obviously he’s a black hole on offense, but I as a depth guy behind the plate he is fine. Maybe the team sees some value in carrying three catchers on their opening day roster. I’m not quite sure what that value would be myself, but it will be interesting to see. Who knows? Perhaps somebody is interested in trading for Thole because they see some offensive upside there and would be willing to part with a good reliever. Or maybe the club and Blanco have spoken and he’s okay with starting the year in AAA if he doesn’t make the big league team out of spring training.

    • Apparently, its a non-guaranteed $750K deal. Blanco is 41. If he likes money and is willing to spend time in AAA, its a good depth move for the Jays.

      Hard to believe he would supplant JPA or Thole. Might be a better 3rd option than Mickeas, who could be the next catcher to be on the move should AA decide to get a reliever on the 40-man roster.

  19. I don’t see how this is anything but a depth move.It’s a non guaranteed major league contract.
    We obviously don’t know the details but isn’t it plausible that it’s similiar to the Whiteside contract,when he signed with the Yankees?

    • On an insensitive side note,

      Henry Blanco looks like the Wicked Witch of AL East.

      He in an echelon of his own on
      ly to be joined by Mike Ricci and Tom FrankenPoti.

      I saw Blanco play in Arizona last year, when his pic came up on the screen I thought it was a Halloween advertisement.

      I know, I’m going to hell in a handbasket.

      • I’ve never seen a close up picture of him.

        Does it look like cosmetic surgery gone wrong?
        Or do you think he’s naturally ugly?
        He could be ugly on the outside but beautiful on the inside.
        i know some make up artists that can do wonders.
        Do the Jays have one on staff as part of the training crew?

      • Grooobah. I can see Blanco being something of an inspiration for Lawrie’s ink fetish. I can see the both of them comparing tats and stories over some beers. I gotta say, Blanco looks like a guy who might also have some knife wounds to show off.

  20. Suck it Farrell?

  21. Not being weak, or wishy-washy. I just meant is this acquisition worthy of a full-on SUCK IT FARRELL!! I guess any move by the Silent Assassin is!!!

  22. Thanks ALEX for acquiring a player that has so much chin that I will finally be able to get that implant I need!!!!

    ps Why didnt I just tag him?

  23. I just read on espn that Toronto is one of the for teams for whom Justin upton has a no trade clause. Don’t know if that’s new info and I doubt it’s relevant information anymore anyway but… You know.

  24. from the vaults of April 2012 if you want more Dickey action:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/27/167819394/r-a-dickey-on-winding-up-as-a-knuckleballer

  25. I’m bored, so let’s pull an Olney and do some AL power ranking crowdsourcing.

    I’ll start it off, then add up everyone else’s results later.

    AL Power Rankings:
    1) Texas
    2) Detroit
    3) Toronto
    4) Rays
    5) Yankees
    6) Angels
    7) A’s
    8) White Sox
    9) Orioles
    10) Red Sox
    11) Mariners
    12) Royals
    13) Indians
    14) Twins
    15) Astros

    • Angels, jays, Yankees, rays, rangers, no way to put tigers better than 6th, too many holes, rangers starters are great but the lineup took a hit, and the angels are far and away the best lineup in baseball.

      • I can’t rank the Angels that high because their rotation sucks after Weaver and Wilson. Tigers rotation is one of the best in the league; and unlike the Rays they have a bit of offense too. I do agree that those six teams have a bit of separation over the six below them.

    • I’m just spitballing, but:

      1. Tigers
      2. Blue Jays
      3. Angels
      4. Rangers
      5. Rays
      6. Athletics
      7. Yankees
      8. OriLOLes
      9. White Sox
      10. Indians
      11. Royals
      12. Red Sox
      13. Twins
      14. Mariners
      15. Astros

      Explanations for variances to your list:

      • Rays slide down 1 spot for weak offense and dealing Shields
      • Tigers up one spot because they still have the best rotation out there IMO, and still have a great top 4 in their batting lineup.
      • Yankees down 2 spots because of age, recent injuries, and not spending for once.
      • Indians up 3 spots because of signing Swisher and Mark Reynolds.
      • Royals above Red Sox because they have far more upside, and because Boston has John Ferret.

      • I suspect the Angels are going to be firing on all cylinders this year so I would be more than comfortable ranking them at 2.

        • They are a top 3 for sure with that lineup. I can’t imagine Pujols being that “bad” for a second year in a row, and CJ Wilson will probably bounce back. If they didn’t have Wells’ contract (re: hehehehe), they’d probably have Greinke in there also.

        • Agreed.

      • Yeah, I was just spitballing too beyond the top teams, just looked at depth charts. I love the Athletics rotation, but I just don’t see where the offense is going to come from for that team–I think the Rays have a better offense than the A’s, and that’s saying something.

      • The tigers just seem to me to be a totally imperfect baseball team. Past fielder and Cabrera, the offence goes down fast.

    • Not many so far, but so far the averages are:

      1) Blue Jays
      2) Tigers
      T3) Rangers
      T3) Angels
      5) Rays
      6) Yankees
      7) A’s
      T8) White Sox
      T8) Orioles
      10) Red Sox
      T11) Royals
      T11) Indians
      13) Mariners
      14) Twins
      15) Astros

  26. I would like to see a post on best defensive Jays players and worst defensive Jays players ever. I remember Junior Felix talking to fans while a line drive was coming at him. Brutal!

  27. of course, not relevant now with all the good feelings regarding the Jays, but for future reference, science observes a quality in Jays not found in all animals.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/science/western-scrub-jays-appear-to-mourn-dead-comrades.html?ref=science

    Pour one for your homie.

  28. Can someone please set Romero up with this chick so he can get back to throwin darts?

    http://ca.omg.yahoo.com/news/miss-america-2013-miss-york-mallory-hagan-wins-150000608-us-weekly.html

  29. AA is being interviewed by Peer Mansbridge, One on One.

    Very interesting. AA doesn’t like personal accolades from Peter.

  30. Holy crap is the offseason slow

  31. Here’s the link to Peter Mansbridge’ interview with AA. Very informative. AA looks for walks/KO’s as key indicators for pitchers/hitters. Batting average is the least important statistic.

    Stoeten should do a post on this.

    AA talks about life in Montreal, baseball scouting, the importance of analyzing stats vs watching players live.

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/Sports/ID/2325058146/?sort=MostRecent

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