Adam Dunn, Hank Blalock among options for Angels
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The Angels have some interest in corner infielder Hank Blalock, who was designated for assignment on Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Rays, but the left-handed-hitting veteran does not appear to be at the top of the team’s target list with a month to go before the July 31 trade deadline.
‘We’re not limiting our options,’ General Manager Tony Reagins said before Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers, who were rumored to be exploring a trade for San Francisco Giants catcher Bengie Molina, a former Angel. ‘There are opportunities to get better, and we’re exploring all of them.’
Washington first baseman Adam Dunn, who is batting .271 with 17 home runs and 47 runs batted in, appears to be at or near the top of the Angels’ wish list, but Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN Radio in Chicago on Wednesday that, ‘For us to move [Dunn] will be very painful, and it will probably be very painful for the team that wants to acquire him.’
Dunn is not the slickest of defenders, but he would fill a need for another left-handed power bat. The Angels are also believed to be interested in Arizona first baseman Adam LaRoche, Houston first baseman Lance Berkman and Baltimore corner infielder Ty Wigginton.
Blalock, 29, hit .254 with one homer and seven RBIs in 63 at-bats for the Rays but is only one season removed from hitting .234 with 25 homers and 66 RBIs in 495 at-bats for the Rangers in 2009. He makes $925,000 this season, but if he clears waivers, he could be acquired for the rest of 2010 for about $200,000.
If the Angels look to upgrade at first base, Reagins must weigh what it would cost in prospects to acquire a player such as Dunn with the no-cost replacement, current first baseman Mike Napoli, who is hitting .251 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs and looks more comfortable at the position each week.
‘Nap is doing an adequate job, so there’s no real rush to replace him or move him off the position,’ Reagins said of the converted catcher, who replaced the injured Kendry Morales in early June. ‘The more he plays there, the more comfortable he’s going to get.’
Third base, which is being shared by Kevin Frandsen and Brandon Wood until Maicer Izturis returns from the disabled list, would be a natural spot to upgrade, ‘but it’s always difficult to acquire a productive third baseman, because there aren’t a lot of them out there,’ Reagins said. ‘We’re going to look to improve any way we can.’