Mariners claim Angels prospect, designate Henry Blanco


Feb. 21, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA: Los Angeles Angels outfielder Travis Witherspoon poses for a portrait during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Witherspoon, a 24-year-old center fielder in the Los Angeles Angels organization, was claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Seattle Mariners and immediately added to their 40-man roster.

To make room on the 40-man, veteran catcher Henry Blanco was designated for assignment.

Witherspoon spent all of last season playing for Double-A Arkansas, where he hit a meager .214 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 129 games. He was a 12th-round selection in the 2009 Draft out of Spartanburg Methodist College and is known for his strong defense and is considered to be an excellent athlete with good speed and potential power who needs to continue working on his pitch recognition and getting on base more.

Aug 4, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Henry Blanco (33) throws to first base to get out Baltimore Orioles pinch hitter Matt Wieters (not shown) in the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Mariners defeated the Orioles 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Blanco, 42, was claimed off waivers from Toronto by Seattle in mid-June to help mentor rookie catcher Mike Zunino and wound up batting .125 with three home runs and 14 RBI

in just 35 games with the M’s. The 16-year veteran hit two grand slams for the Mariners, including one in his Seattle debut June 15.

But Blanco finished 2013 in a 1-for-33 slump, finishing at .142 for the year.

The Mariners now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Blanco. I’m not sure what they could get in a trade for Blanco. More importantly, I’m not sure there are many teams looking to add an aging catcher who is an offensive-liability.

My guess is, Seattle will end up just releasing him.