Mariners claim Angels outfield prospect; Blanco DFA’d
Travis Witherspoon, a 24-year-old center fielder in the Angels organization, was claimed off waivers on Tuesday by the Mariners and added to their 40-man roster.
To make room on the 40-man, veteran catcher Henry Blanco has been designated for assignment.
Witherspoon spent all of last season playing for Double-A Arkansas, where he hit .214 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 129 games. He has 140 steals in 173 attempts in his Minor League career, including 110 since the start of the 2011 season.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander was a 12th-round selection in the 2009 Draft out of Spartanburg Methodist College and is regarded as a strong defender and excellent athlete with good speed and power potential who needs to develop his pitch recognition and on-base percentage.
Witherspoon was the 13th-ranked prospect in the Angels’ organization in the latest MLB.com ratings. He is a native of Sumter, South Carolina. Here’s a story former scout Bernie Pleskoff wrote in February for MLB.com outlining why he felt Witherspoon had high upside as an Angels’ prospect.
Blanco, 42, was claimed off waivers by Seattle in mid-June to help mentor rookie catcher Mike Zunino and wound up batting .125 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 35 games. The 16-year Major League veteran hit two grand slams for the Mariners, including a game-winning shot in his Seattle debut in Oakland to help Felix Hernandez to a 4-0 victory on June 15.
But Blanco finished the season in a 1-for-33 slump to finish at .142 for the year, including 15 games with the Blue Jays.
The Mariners now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Blanco’s contract to the Minor Leagues.