With Ausmus Gone, Padres Sign Blanco
Well, there you go. Just hours after officially missing out on Brad Ausmus, the man San Diego had targeted to become their backup catcher, the Padres turned around and signed Henry Blanco to fill the same role.
Blanco agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract with San Diego, where he'll back up young catcher Nick Hundley, who is penciled in as the team's starter. ESPN's Buster Olney broke the signing, and he points out that Blanco filled this exact role for the NL-Central winning Cubs over the past year, helping usher in Geovany Soto, who blossomed in part because of Blanco's help.
Still, this is clearly one of the most obvious "backup plan" signings we've seen in awhile. Clearly, the Padres wanted Ausmus, and when they couldn't get him, they turned to the next savvy, veteran catcher on the list.
Nevertheless, Blanco could actually be the better signing, couldn't he? Maybe people disagree, but the numbers make an interesting case for Blanco. With the Cubs, Blanco hit .292 (.325) with three home runs and 12 RBI. Ausmus? He hit .218 (.303 OBP) with three homers and 24 RBI. Essentially, Ausmus had more RBI but was inferior (or tied, in the case of homers) to Blanco in every other offensive category. Some would also argue that Blanco is a better defensive catcher, which is clearly what the Padres will be leaning on him to help teach Hundley. So why would the Dodgers pay $250,000 more for a guy who seems to be behind Blanco in all those categories and is two years older?
Thoughts? What do the Dodgers know that the rest of us don't?
January 21, 2009; 8:38 PM ET
Categories: Dodgers , Padres
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