If the Cardinals find themselves searching for a long-term replacement for David Freese, the Rays may have just done them a favor.
Tampa Bay has designated Hank Blalock for assignment.
Blalock, who played third base, first base and right field for the Rays in addition to taking on DH duties, was hitting .254 with one homer in 63 at bats. He got a late start to the season after failing to find a team in time for the start of spring training after the Rangers passed on re-signing him. Blalock was released because Tampa's Gabe Kapler was ready to come off the disabled list and the team needed to make some space for him.
Now, I'm not saying that Blalock is the second coming of Scott Rolen. But he's a righty power bat, which is something the Cardinals could use off the bench even when Freese returns. A career .269 hitter, last season Blalock hit 26 homers for Texas. I think if I was the Cardinals GM I'd rather have Blalock filling my last roster spot than Aaron Miles...
Freese was disabled Tuesday after admitting that he was still having problems with his ankle after stepping awkwardly on third while running the bases in early June. It's a concern because the young infielder lost nearly all of the 2009 season to ankle problems following an off-season car accident. Is this a coincidence or is Freese going to suffer ankle problems throughout his career?