Joe Maddon stated today that Hank Blalock will be in the lineup today and tomorrow. It sounds like the team will not make an announcement regarding Blalock’s future until tomorrow. However, quotes from Maddon suggest a decision has already been made…
We pretty much know what we’ve got going on on the field right now. There’s still some conversations that need to be had. I promise as soon as I can I’ll give it to you, but we have a pretty good idea what we want to do.
So have the Rays decided on Reid Brignac for the final spot over Blalock? Here is another quote from JoeMa…
“With Hank, I don’t know him a long time, but like I said before, he likes straightforwardness, bluntness, transparency, whatever you want to call it. So he and I had a really open conversation and it was very good, very informative. I like him.”
Maddon also added that the team “will continue to work on that,” when asked about Blalock’s status.
This suggests that the Rays have decided on Brignac for the final spot and that they are currently negotiating with Blalock to accept a minor league assignment. Blalock stated yesterday that he would not accept a minor league assignment and would instead opt-out of his contract to become a free agent.
Our guess would be that the Rays are asking for Blalock to extend his deadline by a few weeks or a month. This would give the Rays the best of both worlds. They can keep Brignac on the big league roster as a better defensive option for the second base platoon and keep Blalock in reserve should the need for a left-handed bat arise.