Rangers Get Defensive With Acquisition Of Blanco

The Deal
The Cubs dealt shortstop Andres Blanco, a light hitter but a strong defender all around the infield, to the Rangers for a player to be named or cash considerations. The deal did not exactly send shockwaves through the industry, but the acquisition could have a profound effect on one Texas player. Joaquin Arias, at one time viewed as a future fixture of the Rangers’ infield, might be the odd man out with Blanco’s arrival in Arlington.

Both infielders are out of minor league options, meaning the Rangers could not send either Arias or Blanco to the minors without first exposing him to waivers. The organization had indicated all spring that it sought a utility infielder who could handle shortstop—a description more befitting of Blanco than Arias.

In an extended spring training look, Arias batted .250/.315/.292 (12-for-48) with two doubles and two stolen bases in five attempts. We considered Arias’ future with the Rangers in a recent blog entry.

Rangers Acquire
Andres Blanco, ss/2b
Age: 25. Position: SS (70 G), 2B (44 G), 3B (8 G).
Born: April 11, 1984 in Urama, Venezuela.
Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 190. Bats: B. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Royals, Aug. 2, 2000 … Granted free agency, Oct. 29, 2007 … Signed by Cubs, Nov. 20, 2007 … Granted free agency, Nov. 3, 2008; re-signed by Cubs, Dec. 18, 2008.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Iowa (PCL) AAA .304 64 230 30 70 17 2 6 29 17 28 6 .353 .474
Chicago (NL) MLB .252 53 123 15 31 8 0 1 12 8 14 0 .303 .341

Blanco didn’t hit a home run until his fifth pro season and hasn’t tallied a double-digit stolen-base total since 2003, when he was a 19-year-old in the high Class A Carolina League. Power and speed are anything but strengths for Blanco, but his fine defensive work has kept him steadily employed as he enters his 10th season. He’s out of options and already has been outrighted off the 40-man roster once in his career, meaning he can opt for free agency if the Rangers try the same thing again. But between his stellar glovework, his hesitatingly-slow offensive development and (perhaps) his solid turn in the Venezuelan League (.291/.353/.430 with 11 doubles in 37 games for Magallanes last winter), Blanco may not be the lost cause that a glance at his career hitting totals might suggest. Considering his past three Triple-A seasons in which he’s come to bat at least 250 times (that’s 2006, ’08 and ’09), Blanco has been passable from the left side of the plate, batting a composite .280/.340/.387 with a 45-to-77 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 592 at-bats. However, his performance versus lefties, which includes a .613 OPS, is hardly worth mentioning.

Cubs Acquire
We’ll review the player to be named once his identity is announced.

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