Hank Blalock Fails To Make Rays' Opening Day Roster, Will Report To AAA Durham

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6 Total Updates since March 4, 2010
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Left Off Roster, Blalock To Assess His Options Over The Weekend

Hank Blalock has previously said that he wouldn't accept a minor league demotion should he fail to crack the Rays' roster. Well, Blalock didn't crack the Rays' roster, with infielder Reid Brignac beating him out, but the situation isn't so black and white. Says Marc Topkin:

Blalock has until Sunday am to find other big-league opportunity, if not he'll play w/#Rays AAA team for "foreseeable future"

If Blalock can't find another big league roster spot, he might as well accept the AAA gig with the Rays for the time being - beating up minor league pitching could help re-establish some of the lost value in his bat, and in the event of an injury, he could be called up to join what looks like a very good team.

UPDATE: Blalock has accepted, and will report to AAA Durham.

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Hank Blalock Left Off Rays' Opening Day Roster

Hank Blalock's journey to make a spot on the Tampa Bay Rays' Opening Day roster has come to an end.

Manager Joe Maddon elected to keep middle infielder Reid Brignac over Blalock to start the season. Blalock recently said he would not go to the minors if he was not given a spot on the 25-man roster.

Blalock was hitting in the low .200s during the spring.

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Hank Blalock Says He Won't Accept Minor League Assignment

Despite signing a minor league contract with the Rays, Hank Blalock says he has no interest in playing minor league baseball this season:

Blalock said this morning he wants very much to stay with the Rays, but also said he has no plans to go first to Triple-A Durham if the Rays don’t put him on their 25-man roster to start the season.

“I don’t have any plans on playing minor-league baseball this year,’’ Blalock said. “At this time in my life, if there’s no major-league opportunities for me then I’ll find something else to do.’’

[...]

“I love it here,’’ Blalock said. “I like the way I’ve been treated, I like my teammates, I like the staff. I’d like to be part of helping the Rays win the World Series. I hope they keep me. … This is where I want to stay.’’

Blalock is hitting .219 on the spring, but manager Joe Maddon said Blalock has "done everything he could to make the team."

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Hank Blalock Signs Minor League Deal With Rays

The rumored deal has at last come true, as Jon Heyman tweets:

hank blalock agrees to minor-league deal with #rays for $925,000 plus $350,000 in extras.

In other words, Blalock will make between $0.925m - $1.275m in 2010 should he break camp with the Rays. In the event that he doesn't, there is probably language in his contract stating that he can become a free agent again.

DRaysBay has more on the signing.

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Rays Nearing Agreement With Hank Blalock

Hank Blalock has spent the last several days talking to representatives for both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins, and according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times:

Rays are now very close to a deal to sign INF Hank Blalock to a minor-league contract.

Blalock would come to Tampa Bay with no assurances of a job, but with the likelihood of breaking camp as half of the DH. He'd split duties with Pat Burrell, and while neither player lit it up a year ago, adding Blalock would allow the Rays to platoon while also providing some measure of depth at first base. There's not a lot of upside to this move, but given that it's March, the Rays could do a lot worse.

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Hank Blalock Choosing Between Florida Destinations

Tweets the prolific Jon Heyman:

hank blalock appears to be deciding between #rays, #marlins

Blalock is sort of a consolation prize for teams that wanted a lefty bat but missed out on Russell Branyan. For the Rays, he would fill the same role - serving as the left-handed half of a pseudo-platoon with DH Pat Burrell. For the Marlins, he would be a lefty bat off the bench, as the first base job is a battle between prospects Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez.

Blalock slugged 25 home runs last year and has always been known for his power, but the one-time top prospect hasn't panned out as imagined, with last season's .277 OBP representing a new low at the age of 28. In addition to his recent struggles, he's never hit well against southpaws and he's struggled to produce outside the friendly confines of his home Texas ballpark. However, he remains a cheap bat with power in what ought to be the prime of his career, so he was always bound to get another chance. It seems that chance will come in south Florida - it's now just a matter of picking a team.

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