The Phillies will once again be fielding a young team in 2017, possibly younger than they were at the start of the 2016 season. With that in mind, having a few veteran players around to help young players adjust to the rigors of a major league season is important. On Wednesday, the Phillies re-signed Andres Blanco, who has been credited with helping young players, especially Maikel Franco, learn how to be a major league player.
Blanco initially signed a minor league deal with the Phillies in March, 2012. He spent that season with the IronPigs, playing in 120 games. The following season, he went unsigned before returning to the Phillies for the 2014 season and was called up to the Phillies for 25 games that season, hitting .277 with the club. During the offseason, he again signed a one-year deal to return in 2015 and did the same prior to the 2016 season. In three seasons with the Phillies, Blanco has played in 221 games with a line of 12-49-.274/.337/.457, including hitting .292 in a career-high 106 games with the Phillies in 2015.
Blanco missed part of last season with a fractured index finger on his left hand suffered in a play at third base against the Pirates on July 24th. The injury kept Blanco on the DL until early September when he was activated and played in 13 games over the final month of the season.
Overall, Blanco has played for Kansas City, the Cubs, Texas and Philadelphia, amassing 456 games and batting .264 over all or parts of nine seasons. The 32-year old has played second, shortstop, third and first base, in addition to playing one game in both left and right field in his career.
While with Lehigh Valley, Franco openly credited Blanco with being a mentor and helping him to learn to play the game the right way. The current Phillies third baseman recounted a time he was late in spring training and Blanco pulled him aside and told him, in stern fashion, to never be late again. The two developed a bond and have become good friends during their tenure in the Phillies organization.
To make room for Blanco on the 40-man roster, David Rollins, who has struggled to find a constant roster spot this offseason, was designated for assignment. Rollins has gone from the Mariners to the Cubs, to the Rangers, just in this offseason.
Philadelphia also released pitcher Phil Klein, who wanted to pursue an opportunity to play in Asia. With Klein off the roster, there was a spot for third baseman Richie Shaffer, who was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.