According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Henry Blanco could be on his way to the Diamondbacks who have him ranked very high on their wish list for backup catcher. He writes,
The Diamondbacks have interest in a backup catcher, and I’m told that free agent veteran Henry Blanco is at or near the top of their list. Blanco, 39, hit just .215 with the Mets last season and is a career .227 hitter in parts of 13 seasons. He’s considered a great clubhouse guy and a mentor/coach-on-the-field type.
Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey have been very outspoken about wanting the Mets to bring Blanco back next season, and each gave him some credit for their career best seasons in 2010.
Given his age and nagging back problem, I don’t think he appeals to the new guys in the front office, but I hope they still haven’t ruled him out.
Although I wasn’t initially impressed when the Mets acquired him last offseason, over time I saw the wisdom in it and became a big fan of Blanco.
I do believe he would be a tremendous asset in mentoring young Josh Thole who is only entering his third year as a catcher since switching positions in the minors.
Yes, I know he doesn’t have the kind of numbers that would appeal to this new philosophy that the team is embracing, but looking beyond that he has a few other virtues.
He caught 50% of 22 runners attempting to steal last season, whereas Thole caught just 26% of 75 attempted runners between the minors and majors last season. When you split his results, Thole was twice as effective throwing out runners while under the tutelage of Blanco and also Rod Barajas, who recently signed with the Dodgers.
In his career, Blanco has thrown out 43% of would-be base stealers and has led the majors in that category twice.
Last season the Mets allowed the fewest number of stolen bases in the game, and also led the majors in fewest runners attempting to steal.
I don’t believe that was a coincidence, but it was one of the very few positive things you could take away from the 2010 season.