The left shoulder has been bothering him since early in spring. He thought maybe he had slept on it wrong and the pain would go away. It didn’t. Now, after missing a few games to start the season with pain in the shoulder, Kyle Blanks has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. The move was made Saturday to make room for Joe Wieland who was replacing another injured Padre, Dustin Moseley. The Padres now have five players on the disabled list, but Blanks’ injury could be most costly from a personal standpoint.
Blanks has never quite got the opportunity to succeed that he needs. He has been moved around to numerous positions, given pinch-hitting duties, been a platoon player, and has managed just 425 at-bats since being called up in 2009. The lack of consistent playing time has skewed his numbers, both for the positive and the negative. He had one solid power year in limited action, then he’s struggled with both batting average and OBP. This year, Blanks was going to struggle to find playing time as it is, but with the injury, he may be set back even further.
With Jesus Guzman getting plenty of playing time in left and Carlos Quentin due to come off the disable list himself soon, Blanks would have struggled to get in the game very often as it was. Now, with the shoulder injury, he will miss time and could find himself used even less when he returns. This, of course, begs the question; should the Padres hang on to him, or trade him while they can?
Most Padres fans either love Blanks or they hate him. Those who hate him probably don’t understand the limited sample we’ve seen from the big first baseman/left fielder. Since his call-up, Blanks has not even managed to accumulate the equivalent at-bats a starter sees in a full major league season. Until he is getting at least 400 at-bats in a single season, it will be difficult to evaluate Blanks’ true talent level.
The Padres have such depth in left field, it doesn’t seem likely that Blanks will ever get the at-bats he needs. If they were going to rely on him for that many at-bats, they wouldn’t have gone out and acquired Carlos Quentin. Now, Quentin may not be with the club past the July 31st trade deadline, and if he is, he may not be with them next season, but the Padres have depth in left field. They have Jesus Guzman at the big league level and Matt Clark waiting at the minor league level. All the while, Kyle Blanks is just waiting for his shot.
He’s a career .219/.316/.421 hitter. He is big and has power. His outfield play is average. And he’s just 25 years old. He may be a desirable trade target for other teams if the Padres do decide to ever shop him. However, he has been given such limited exposure, Blanks may not be on many teams radars. This could deflate his value. In addition, this shoulder injury could hurt his trade value as well. If it leads to something that requires surgery, Blanks will be out for an extended period of time and the Padres will lose even more value from a trade standpoint.
There is no indication that the Padres have any plans of trading Blanks anytime soon, but this injury could affect his chances with the club and his chances of finding a permanent home somewhere. The thought going into the season was that with Quentin sidelined, Blanks would get the bulk of the action in left. Things have not worked out that way unfortunately, and now Blanks finds himself on the DL as well.