Joe Blanton Rumors

Twins Rumors: McCarthy, Blanton, Dempster, Myers

Here's the latest on the Twins from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN

  • So far, the Twins have reached out to free agents Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Blanton, Ryan Dempster, and Brett Myers. They're interested in Myers as a starter. They've also reached out to Brandon Webb even though he hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues since 2009.
  • The club continues to have regular conversations with Alan Nero, who represents right-hander Scott Baker. The two sides are working on a new contract after Baker's $9.25MM option was declined.
  • The Twins have not shown any interest in Jon Garland and were not present when the right-hander threw for teams during an audition back in September.
  • Talks with reliever Jared Burton about a contract extension are underway. Matt Swartz projects a $2.1MM salary for the right-hander next season, after which he'll become a free agent.
  • The Twins have inquired about reliever Randy Messenger, though the Hanshin Tigers in Japan will not allow the right-hander out of his contract.
  • The team has not contacted Bill Bray after he hit free agency. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky acquired the left-hander during his tenure as Reds GM.

Free Agent Faceoff: Saunders vs. Blanton

MLBTradeRumors is introducing a new series in which two comparable free agents are analyzed side by side. Each post will conclude with a reader vote on the value of the two players.

Joe Saunders and Joe Blanton have a lot in common. They have both evolved into steady if unspectacular starters since being selected in the first round of the 2002 draft. Both of the 6’3” 31-year-olds were traded in waiver deals this past August. They even share a first name. Let’s move past the similarities and determine which free agent should appeal to teams more in the coming offseason, when both Saunders and Blanton will be eligible for free agency.

Saunders has averaged 175 innings over the course of the past five seasons and, unlike Blanton, hasn't missed significant time due to injuries in recent years. He’s six months younger than Blanton and he’s left-handed. Saunders also has the edge in career ERA (4.15 vs. 4.37). While Saunders has consistently kept his ERA below 4.50, Blanton hasn't posted an ERA below 4.50 since 2009. Let's not forget Saunders' two strong postseason starts against the elite offenses of the Rangers and Yankees this month.

Though Blanton missed much of the 2011 season, he pitched 191 innings this past season, and has completed at least 175 innings in seven of eight full years as an MLB player. He’s been every bit as durable as Saunders. Furthermore, he strikes out more hitters and does a better job at limiting walks. Blanton also throws harder than Saunders (90.4 mph) and generates more swings and misses (9.6% swinging strike rate). The right-hander’s ERA has been a little high in recent years, but once we look a little deeper, we’ll see he has produced more wins above replacement in his career, according to both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference (Blanton has been worth 20.4 WAR to Saunders' 12.0, per FanGraphs). And though he didn’t pitch in the 2012 playoffs, Blanton has 40 solid postseason innings to his name.

Both pitchers have a case for a multiyear deal this offseason, when many teams will be looking for rotation help. Which begs the question…


Rosenthal On Baker, Medlen, Orioles

Melky Cabrera missed out on a free agent payday of at least $50MM by testing positive for an elevated amount of testosterone, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Baseball is focused on improving ways of detecting testosterone and expanding tests for human growth hormone, Rosenthal reports. Here are some highlights from the remainder of his column…

  • Dusty Baker might not have much leverage in contract talks with the Reds unless a managerial opening or two emerges, Rosenthal writes. Baker, whose contract expires after the season, earns $4-4.5MM per year and Rosenthal argues he deserves a raise. The Astros will be looking for a manager this offseason and jobs could open up in Boston and Anaheim.
  • There’s no talk of the Braves shutting Kris Medlen down, even though he underwent Tommy John surgery at the same time Stephen Strasburg did. The Braves limited Medlen’s innings by starting the season with him in the bullpen.
  • The Orioles are able to add payroll, but they didn’t do so in their recent trade with the Diamondbacks. Arizona sent about $300K to Baltimore to account for the difference in the salaries of Matt Lindstrom and Joe Saunders
  • The Orioles put in a claim on Joe Blanton earlier in August, Rosenthal reports. The Dodgers won the claim on the right-hander, who had nearly $3MM on his contract at the time he was placed on waivers.


East Links: Blanton, Valentine, Swisher, Mets

Three of the four best records in baseball belong to teams in the East divisions, as the Reds join the Nationals, Yankees, and Braves as the only clubs to win at least 68 games so far this season. Here is the latest from the NL East and the AL East…

  • The player to be named later in the Joe Blanton trade will be named today, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). It's expected to be a pitching prospect. The Phillies traded Blanton to the Dodgers earlier this month.
  • In an appearance on The Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino responded with an unequivocal "yes" when asked if Bobby Valentine will manage the team for the rest of the season according to WEEI.com's DJ Bean.
  • Joel Sherman of The New York Post says that Melky Cabrera's suspension will impact other impending free agent outfielders, including Nick Swisher. Sherman also speculates that Melky could be a fit for the Mets at the right price, since they know he'll have no trouble adjusting to New York.

Dodgers Acquire Joe Blanton

The Dodgers acquired Joe Blanton from the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash considerations, the Phillies announced. The Dodgers claimed Blanton off of waivers, according to the Phillies, who have called up right-hander B.J. Rosenberg in a related move.

Blanton has a 4.59 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 43.9% ground ball rate in 133 1/3 innings for the Phillies this year. The 31-year-old earns $8.5MM — $2.8MM between now and the end of the season — and is set to hit free agency this fall. The Dodgers will be responsible for Blanton's remaining salary, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio reports (on Twitter).

Every National League team but the Giants, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Braves and Nationals appears to have passed on the chance to claim Blanton. He drew interest from the Orioles from leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but Baltimore was reluctant to match Philadelphia's asking price.

Blanton joins a rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Chad Billingsley. Stephen Fife figures to lose his rotation spot in the short term, and another pitcher could be bumped from the starting five when the team activates Ted Lilly from the disabled list. The Dodgers attempted to acquire pitching depth leading up to the trade deadline, when they were rumored to have interest in Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, among others.


AL East Notes: Qualls, Blanton, Blue Jays, Beckett

The Yankees acquired Casey McGehee and the Red Sox acquired Craig Breslow, but the Blue Jays, Orioles and Rays remained relatively quiet on trade deadline day. Here’s the latest from the AL East…

  • The Yankees had planned to designate Chad Qualls for assignment to create roster space for Joba Chamberlain, so trading him to Pittsburgh wasn't a problem for the club, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees were in on Ryan Dempster, but talks "never got to crunch time," Marc Carig of the Star Ledger reports (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles continued general discussions about a possible Joe Blanton trade, but never took the next step, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (on Twitter). "We would have liked to have done a deal or two today, but I don't think we're done adding to the team," executive VP Dan Duquette said, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Blue Jays were discussing a trade late Monday, only to see the deal fall apart, GM Alex Anthopoulos said, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star (on Twitter). Griffin suggests the deal was with the Cubs, who were discussing trades involving Matt Garza last night.
  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said he didn’t ask Josh Beckett if he’d waive his ten and five rights, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (on Twitter).

Latest On Orioles, Joe Blanton

31-year-old innings eater Joe Blanton has about $3MM left on his contract, and the Orioles are his most interested suitor.  The latest: 

  • The Phillies are coming off the $3MM demands, tweets Connolly, and Blanton to the Orioles is picking up steam again.
  • The Orioles would have to take on $3MM to acquire Blanton, and they aren't comfortable with that amount, so they're considering other options, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (all Twitter links).  The Mariners want a lot in return for Jason Vargas, Connolly writes.  Joe Saunders and Bud Norris are alternatives, but it's not clear whether they're fits for Baltimore.  The Orioles don't want to give up much in a trade for starting pitching, Connolly writes.
  • The Orioles tried to get Paul Maholm from the Cubs, Ghiroli reports.  She confirms the team's interest in Saunders and Vargas.  The Orioles are looking on the relief market as well, Ghiroli reports.
  • The Orioles are turning their attention back toward other starters, tweets MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli.
  • The Orioles were sent medicals on Blanton as well as two Phillies minor leaguers, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com.
  • Money continues to be a stumbling block on a Blanton deal, tweets MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  The chances of the deal dying have increased since yesterday.

Orioles Are Blanton’s Most Interested Suitor

8:55pm: The teams continue haggling about players and money, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).  The Phillies would absorb more money if they get a better prospect in return.

8:15pm: The Orioles are declining to trade Schoop for Blanton, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).  The teams are deep in negotiations, Connolly writes.  Five to seven teams, including the Blue Jays, have showed interest in Blanton, according to Connolly.

8:04pm: The Phillies want to shed all of Blanton's contract (he's owed $3.02MM from here until the end of the season), but the Orioles are hesitant to take on that much salary in this case, Connolly reports (Twitter links). The Phillies believe they have other options, so negotiations could continue until the trade deadline on Tuesday.

7:03pm: Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer hears the Phillies want infield prospect Jonathan Schoop for Blanton.  Schoop, 20, entered the season as the Orioles' number three prospect behind Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, according to Baseball America.  However, he didn't crack the publication's midseason list of the top 50 prospects in the game.  Schoop has a .244/.301/.391 batting line in 413 plate appearances at Double-A this year.

4:39pm: The Phillies have sent Blanton's medical records to the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter).

11:04am: The Orioles are Joe Blanton's most interested suitor, according to MLB.com's Britt Ghiroli.  She reminds us that the Cardinals and Blue Jays have also expressed interest.  But for the Orioles, the Phillies' righty is "there if they want him," a source tells Ghiroli.  Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com says the Orioles have been checking Blanton out since spring training, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported on the team's interest as well today.  Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets that while the Orioles are one of five to seven teams that inquired on Blanton and they may be the most intrigued, the organization is torn on whether he'll help.

Ghiroli says the Orioles have scouted Blanton heavily, and one source tells her the Phillies seek an MLB-ready utility player or a middle relief prospect.  Blanton, 31, has a 4.59 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 1.49 HR/9, and 43.9% groundball rate in 133 1/3 innings this year, and he's averaged over 6.6 innings per start.  He'll take the ball every fifth day and won't hurt himself with walks, but will also allow tons of hits and home runs.  Blanton signed an extension with the Phillies in January of 2010 and has just over $3MM left on his contract.     


Phillies Could Be “Most Active Sellers”

The Phillies entered this weekend needing to perform well in a critical series against the division rival Braves. Instead, they were swept and now appear to be in the position to sell off several pieces. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Phillies could be baseball's "most active sellers" in the next two days, and that they've laid the groundwork for several trades. Olney's colleague Jayson Stark hears from several teams that the Phillies could make 2-3 trades prior to Tuesday's deadline, though they've yet to officially declare themselves sellers (Twitter link).

CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury agrees that selling is likely, and runs down several of the possibilities for the Phillies in the coming days. Salisbury writes that Shane Victorino is the "most likely" Phillie to be dealt, and lists the Giants, Pirates, Reds and Dodgers as possible destinations for Victorino. Interest in Victorino was said to be "heating up" as recently as yesterday.

The Reds have also inquired on Juan Pierre, and both the Orioles and Cardinals are potential destinations for Joe Blanton according to Salisbury. He also says that Hunter Pence could be moved if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is blown away by an offer, and speculates that Ty Wigginton would fit on several teams looking for bench help.

Salisbury reiterates that the Phillies are likely to keep Cliff Lee for the time being, although he could be shopped this offseason in an attempt to fill multiple holes.


NL East Notes: Phillies, Hairston, Byrdak

Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison could miss the rest of the season, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter). Miami placed Morrison on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation earlier today. Here are some more NL East links…

  • The Phillies may start a partial sale after two consecutive losses to the Braves, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Shane Victorino, Juan Pierre and Joe Blanton could be moved.
  • There's interest in Scott Hairston, but the Mets may value him more than his potential suitors do, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes (on Twitter). The Mets see the value of finishing strong and Hairston could help them over the course of the season's final two months.
  • Teams are expressing zero interest in left-hander Tim Byrdak, a Mets person tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The 38-year-old has a 4.76 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9 in an NL-leading 53 appearances this year.
  • The Mets haven't been impressed by offers for Daniel Murphy, Martino reports (on Twitter). "We're not trading Murphy for a reliever," a Mets person told Martino.