5:05pm: Joel Sherman of the New York post says the Yankees were not watching Blanton specifically. The scouts were just doing normal coverage.
12:22am: According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Yankees had a scout watching Oakland starter Joe Blanton on Sunday.
Blanton, 27, saw his salary escalate to $3.7MM this year as he reached his arbitration years. He’ll remain under team control through the 2010 season. The projection would change if Blanton switched to pinstripes, but PECOTA sees a 4.36 ERA in 187 innings from him this year (a performance valued at $8.8MM).
The Yankees are relying on Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte to front their rotation. They’ll round it out with Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina, and Ian Kennedy. Joba Chamberlain is expected to join the rotation mid-summer. I imagine the Yanks are just doing their due diligence with Blanton; a preseason trade doesn’t seem likely.