Kyle Blanks: A career retrospective …

The Padres parted ways with Kyle Blanks on Thursday, sending him to the A’s for a Minor League outfielder and a player to be named later.

I referred to Blanks’ time with the Padres as ‘star-crossed’ … and I truly believe that. What an interesting career arc, one that was often interrupted by injury but sprinkled with flashes of wonderful talent.

What would Blanks do with, say, 500-600 plate appearances? I still wonder, though I think after 800+ PA’s with the Padres, we do have a pretty good idea what kind of player he his; You’ll get some pop, some strikeouts.

Blanks was a 42nd-round Draft choice in 2004 as a draft-and-follow guy (a rule now since abolished). He signed before the 2005 for fifth-round money, as the consensus was he would have been drafted in the top 10 rounds that year.

The Padres loved how athletic he was — not just for a big man, but athletic in general. This is a kid who played some shortstop in high school and summer ball. He could pitch. He had nimble feet. The Padres thought they were getting a gem.

Blanks made his big league debut at age 22 in 2009. He showed some amazing raw power. A first baseman by trade, he took well to the outfield. Remember his inside-the-park home run against the Cubs? The 88-train, chugging around the bases.

Heck, the Padres even decided to give him his own bobblehead in 2010 — they team went a little bobbleheads crazy that year — even if he played in 54 games the following year. Fifty-four games!

But Blanks’ career was derailed on numerous occasions by injuries — he had Tommy John surgery, shoulder surgery and has had various issues over the years. Staying on the field became an issue. When that becomes a trend, it’s hard for a team to pencil you into their long-term plans.

Now, at 27, Blanks is at the point where he has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. He heads to the A’s where he’ll likely be part of a platoon at first base.

I find it a little ironic that Blanks’ hometown, Moriarty, M.M., is know as the “Crossroads of Opportunity.”

We’ll see where this deal takes him.

– Corey Brock

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