As Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported back in February, Joe Blanton has an April 1st opt out clause in his contract with the Royals. The pitcher, who is a non-roster invitee with KC, is still in big league camp and throwing well. Blanton, 34, signed a minor-league deal with Kansas City in February after sitting out the 2014 season. He has spent almost his entire ten-year big-league career as a starter, but the Royals have been intent on using him exclusively as a reliever.
Blanton took a year off from the game to spend more time with his wife and three children, but over the winter he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he felt he owed it to himself to take one more shot at the game.
“It was nice being home with my family,” Blanton explained. “But the window is small. I’ve done this my whole life. I’ve put a lot into it, so why not see what’s left? I felt like it was almost an injustice to myself to just step away like that.”
At the time of the interview with Crasnick, Blanton indicated that he was open to pitching at Triple-A. As Blanton continues to impress, it’s conceivable that there could be a big league opportunity for him elsewhere if there’s not a spot for him on KC’s varsity squad.
Blanton has long posted strong strikeout-to-walk numbers and continued that trend even in his difficult 2013 season with the Angels (7.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9). All told, Blanton has a lifetime 4.51 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 44.2 percent ground-ball rate in 1567 1/3 Major League innings.