Jump to content


D-Rays Gets Geoff Blum


BeckettPierreFan21
 Share

Recommended Posts

NEW ORLEANS -- The Devil Rays filled two of their needs quickly on Sunday morning at the Winter Meetings, acquiring third baseman Geoff Blum from the Astros and left-handed starter Mark Hendrickson from the Blue Jays through the Rockies.

To get Blum, a 30-year-old switch-hitter, the Rays sent right-handed reliever Brandon Backe to Houston. To get Hendrickson, the Rays sent lefty Joe Kennedy to the Rockies.

 

Blum is expected to start at third base for the Rays much of the time. That will allow Damian Rolls to move to a super-sub role.

 

"He fills a need at third," Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said. "But he's very capable of playing second base as well, where we have a need."

 

Blum hit .262 last season with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs in 420 at-bats. He played in 123 games and had a .971 fielding percentage at third base.

 

"He's got good instincts on the field," LaMar said. "He's a good, solid performer."

 

Blum, who made $1.5 million in 2003, also is arbitration-eligible.

 

"[He projects]to make somewhere around the $2 million mark," LaMar said. "But I expect to have conversations with his agent very soon in an effort to avoid arbitration."

 

Backe appeared in 28 games in relief with the Rays last season. He was 1-1 with a 5.44 ERA. He had no record and a 6.92 ERA with the Rays in 2002.

 

"Backe is a fine athlete and has a good arm," LaMar said. "We feel we are dealing from strength in the young arm category."

 

With Hendrickson, LaMar finally got his man.

 

When LaMar was scouting director with the Braves, they drafted him in the 12th round. But the 6-foot-9 two-sport star decided to play college basketball at Washington State.

 

 

 

 

"We tried to sign him as a Brave," LaMar said. "We thought he had great potential."

 

Eleven years later, LaMar landed Hendrickson for the Rays' rotation.

 

Actually, it was a three-way deal. The Blue Jays sent Hendrickson, 29, and a player to be named to Colorado; the Rockies sent Hendrickson to Tampa Bay; the Rays sent Kennedy to Colorado; and the Rockies sent right-handed reliever Justin Speier to the Blue Jays.

 

Hendrickson was picked in the MLB First-Year Player Draft five times before the Jays took him in the 20th round in 1997 and were able to sign him. In the interim, Hendrickson opted for a pro basketball career and played with the Sixers and Cavaliers in the NBA.

 

"You don't often see a pitcher that big," LaMar said. "The thing with tall guys is their rhythm -- their moving parts are so big. Pitchers that big usually are very good athletes."

 

In 2003, Hendrickson was 9-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 30 starts. He was 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 2002. Against the Rays in two years, Hendrickson was a combined 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

 

"Even at his age, we believe he still has room to improve," LaMar said. "He has a good feel for what he's doing. He has an average fastball and curve and a good changeup. And he's not afraid to throw inside to right-handed hitters."

 

LaMar said the Rays needed a lefty in their rotation.

 

"If you look at the stats in (the AL East), a lefty is a must," LaMar said.

 

LaMar also noted that Hendrickson's ERA away from SkyDome in his career was 3.90.

 

Hendrickson will not be eligible for arbitration for another two years, while Kennedy is eligible after the 2004 season.

 

Kennedy, who was the Rays' Opening Day starter, went 3-12 with a 6.32 ERA. He made 22 starts before finishing the season with 10 relief appearances.

 

"It was time for a change," LaMar said of Kennedy. "A change of scenery will do him well. We believe he's a Major League pitcher. Whether he's a starter or reliever remains to be seen."

 

LaMar said he has fielded many trade inquiries about Kennedy for more than a year.

 

"In the right deal, we would have traded Kennedy last year," LaMar said. "There was a market but we were not offered the hitter we wanted."

 

LaMar now returns his focus to signing a big hitter for the middle of the Rays lineup.

 

"We are having ongoing negotiations with Admin Reynolds, the agent for Carl Everett," LaMar said of the offer he made on Tuesday. "But we also have had discussions with the agents for [free agent outfielders] Jose Cruz and Juan Gonzalez."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NEW ORLEANS -- The Devil Rays filled two of their needs quickly on Sunday morning at the Winter Meetings, acquiring third baseman Geoff Blum from the Astros and left-handed starter Mark Hendrickson from the Blue Jays through the Rockies.

To get Blum, a 30-year-old switch-hitter, the Rays sent right-handed reliever Brandon Backe to Houston. To get Hendrickson, the Rays sent lefty Joe Kennedy to the Rockies.

 

Blum is expected to start at third base for the Rays much of the time. That will allow Damian Rolls to move to a super-sub role.

 

"He fills a need at third," Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said. "But he's very capable of playing second base as well, where we have a need."

 

Blum hit .262 last season with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs in 420 at-bats. He played in 123 games and had a .971 fielding percentage at third base.

 

"He's got good instincts on the field," LaMar said. "He's a good, solid performer."

 

Blum, who made $1.5 million in 2003, also is arbitration-eligible.

 

"[He projects] to make somewhere around the $2 million mark," LaMar said. "But I expect to have conversations with his agent very soon in an effort to avoid arbitration."

 

Backe appeared in 28 games in relief with the Rays last season. He was 1-1 with a 5.44 ERA. He had no record and a 6.92 ERA with the Rays in 2002.

 

"Backe is a fine athlete and has a good arm," LaMar said. "We feel we are dealing from strength in the young arm category."

 

With Hendrickson, LaMar finally got his man.

 

When LaMar was scouting director with the Braves, they drafted him in the 12th round. But the 6-foot-9 two-sport star decided to play college basketball at Washington State.

 

 

 

 

"We tried to sign him as a Brave," LaMar said. "We thought he had great potential."

 

Eleven years later, LaMar landed Hendrickson for the Rays' rotation.

 

Actually, it was a three-way deal. The Blue Jays sent Hendrickson, 29, and a player to be named to Colorado; the Rockies sent Hendrickson to Tampa Bay; the Rays sent Kennedy to Colorado; and the Rockies sent right-handed reliever Justin Speier to the Blue Jays.

 

Hendrickson was picked in the MLB First-Year Player Draft five times before the Jays took him in the 20th round in 1997 and were able to sign him. In the interim, Hendrickson opted for a pro basketball career and played with the Sixers and Cavaliers in the NBA.

 

"You don't often see a pitcher that big," LaMar said. "The thing with tall guys is their rhythm -- their moving parts are so big. Pitchers that big usually are very good athletes."

 

In 2003, Hendrickson was 9-9 with a 5.51 ERA in 30 starts. He was 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 2002. Against the Rays in two years, Hendrickson was a combined 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

 

"Even at his age, we believe he still has room to improve," LaMar said. "He has a good feel for what he's doing. He has an average fastball and curve and a good changeup. And he's not afraid to throw inside to right-handed hitters."

 

LaMar said the Rays needed a lefty in their rotation.

 

"If you look at the stats in (the AL East), a lefty is a must," LaMar said.

 

LaMar also noted that Hendrickson's ERA away from SkyDome in his career was 3.90.

 

Hendrickson will not be eligible for arbitration for another two years, while Kennedy is eligible after the 2004 season.

 

Kennedy, who was the Rays' Opening Day starter, went 3-12 with a 6.32 ERA. He made 22 starts before finishing the season with 10 relief appearances.

 

"It was time for a change," LaMar said of Kennedy. "A change of scenery will do him well. We believe he's a Major League pitcher. Whether he's a starter or reliever remains to be seen."

 

LaMar said he has fielded many trade inquiries about Kennedy for more than a year.

 

"In the right deal, we would have traded Kennedy last year," LaMar said. "There was a market but we were not offered the hitter we wanted."

 

LaMar now returns his focus to signing a big hitter for the middle of the Rays lineup.

 

"We are having ongoing negotiations with Admin Reynolds, the agent for Carl Everett," LaMar said of the offer he made on Tuesday. "But we also have had discussions with the agents for [free agent outfielders] Jose Cruz and Juan Gonzalez."

Wow. Great job, Chuck. What sucks for Cubs fans now is that Jimy Williams is forced to play Morgan Ensberg every day. Unless he can sneak in Jose Vizcaino.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...