MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Nationals acquired minor league outfielder Gregor Blanco from the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, trading a player to be named back to the Royals and increasing their outfield depth.
Blanco will be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, which recently lost outfielder Roger Bernadina when he was called up to the Nationals to replace injured center fielder Rick Ankiel. Blanco will not be added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster.
In 23 games with Triple-A Omaha this season, Blanco is hitting just .196, but has an impressive .384 on-base percentage and has walked 17 times. Of his 11 hits, five of them have been doubles and he’s driven in four runs.
Blanco was not on the Royals’ 40-man roster and did not make the Royals’ major league team out of spring training with Alex Gordon, Melky Carbera, Jeff Francoeur and Mitch Maier earning the spots, but is a .258 career hitter in parts of three major league seasons. He has a .358 career on-base percentage and .324 slugging percentage.
Blanco was part of the trade that brought Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves at the deadline in 2010. The Nationals acquisition of Blanco unites both sides of that trade with Ankiel, who is currently on the disabled list with a right wrist sprain, signing with the Nationals as a free agent this offseason.
His best year, offensively, was 2008 when, as a rookie, he played in 144 games for the Braves and hit .251 with a .366 on-base percentage. In 36 games before he was traded last year, Blanco hit .310 with a .395 on-base percentage and hit .274 with a .348 OBP with the Royals in 49 games after the trade in 2010.
When he arrives with Triple-A Syracuse he will immediately possess the best on-base percentage of any of their three current outfielders, Corey Brown, Jeff Frazier and Boomer Whiting by over .100 points.