The Case for Hank Blalock

Alright, I’ve had some time to think this through, and I think the Sox should go after Hank Blalock. Here are some of my reasons why:

1. We need a corner infielder.

Mike Lowell had an injection, he had some rest on the DL, and he’s still looking old and creaky. He’s looking weak at the plate and on the basepaths, and his defensive range has become a liability. Look, I’m not saying he can’t turn it around. I really hope he does. But if he can’t, are we really ready to start Mark Kotsay/Jeff Bailey at first for the rest of the year?

2. We need a left-handed bat.

We have a pretty balanced lineup, but it’s not quite what it used to be, I think we’ll all agree. If we’re replacing Lowell in the lineup, wouldn’t we want a righty bat? Not necessarily. Look at these numbers for 2009:

Red Sox vs LHP: .272/.362/.470
Red Sox vs RHP: .259/.342/.430
Red Sox left-handed hitters: .245/.328/.406

That’s just pitiful. J.D. Drew needs to start carrying his own weight. Blalock is left-handed and is hitting .272/.333/.581 off RHP this year, and his career split is .290/.354/.509 against them.

3. He’s available and won’t cost too much.

The Rangers have shopped him, and were even prepared to trade him straight up for Takashi Saito at one point. They were having trouble finding playing time for him until Chris Davis struck his way down to Triple-A. The Rangers are severely strapped for cash, and it was publicized this year that owner Tom Hicks had to borrow a big chunk of change from MLB just to keep the team going.

4. His contract is up after 2009.

I don’t think we want to give up too much, and we don’t want another lumbering player to fit in somewhere next season. Blalock’s deal is for just $6M this year (the Sox would pay about $2.5M), and that’s it. No strings attached.

5. He will likely be a Type B free agent or better.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Blalock is currently projected as a Type B free agent. Barring a major injury or rest-of-the-season slump, he should make it, resulting a compensatory draft pick or two for us. That should ease the pain of whatever we’ll have to give up in order to get his services.


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