Blanton Is Likely Staying

blanton throwing.jpg

Just a few weeks ago it seemed like Joe Blanton would be pitching elsewhere in 2011.

But asked this morning if Blanton will be with the team this season, Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “I expect that to happen. Those things can change obviously. It’s not etched in stone. But we’re not forced to trade Joe. There’s nothing forcing us to do anything either way. And I’m not comfortable doing it. I don’t want to trade anybody. I like our club.” That is following comments Amaro made Tuesday to Ken Rosenthal: “He’s going to pitch for the Phillies, probably for the entire season.”

Amaro said he is uncomfortable trading Blanton because he likes the depth he provides. Should the Phillies trade Blanton and Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt or Cole Hamels suffer an injury, Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley likely would be the team’s fourth and fifth starters. But with Blanton in the fold the Phillies have one of the best No. 5 starters in baseball.

The Phillies had shopped Blanton since they signed Lee to a $120 million contract in December because they need to create payroll flexibility. Blanton will make $17 million over the next two seasons. But teams that had been looking for starting pitching no longer are looking, which probably is the biggest reason Amaro is planning to keep Blanton. The Brewers acquired Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. The Rangers signed Brandon Webb. The Tigers signed Brad Penny. The Nationals just acquired Tom Gorzelanny. There simply are few places for Blanton to land at this point, especially if teams are unwilling to take on most of his salary.

So if Blanton is the fifth starter where does that leave Kendrick, who just agreed to a one-year, $2.45 million contract Tuesday? Does he have a guaranteed job, perhaps in the bullpen as a long man?

“No, sir,” Amaro said. “Kyle will be fighting for a job in the big leagues.”

It is possible the Phillies could try to trade Kendrick, although if Amaro likes his roster’s depth it might not make sense. Kendrick is relatively affordable and is an attractive No. 6 starter after going 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 33 appearances (31 starts) last season. Remember last season Blanton and J.A. Happ opened the season on the disabled list. Jamie Moyer then blew out his elbow in July. Even Lee missed time last season with the Mariners and Rangers because of injuries.

It’s good to have starting pitching depth, and for the moment the Phillies have it.

Asked if Blanton’s presence completely closes the door on right-hander Chad Durbin returning to the bullpen, Amaro said, “I was pretty comfortable with the club as it stood a month ago. I think once we filled the left-handed need (with J.C. Romero) we felt pretty comfortable about where we stood.”

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The Phillies today announced they are installing a HD scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park. They said it will be the largest HD display in the National League and among the largest in the world, measuring 76 feet high and 97 feet wide, totaling 7,372 square feet.

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Congratulations to Phillies pro scouting director Mike Ondo and his wife Colleen, who had a baby girl yesterday. Marissa Michelle Ondo.

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Not sure what’s happening in Twitter land, but I checked yesterday and Jimmy Rollins does not have a Twitter account.

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I’ve got a new Facebook page, where I’ll post stories, blogs, thoughts, etc. Check it out here. Follow me on Twitter.

13 Comments

Thinks its kinda smart keeping Big Joe B. If RAJ could’ve gotten a decent outfielder than it might have been smart to trade him.

25 DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS & CATCHERS REPORT :-)

@Noise Nation: Why would you give a guy a $2.45 million contract to play for your AAA team?

If a higher payroll isn’t a problem, sure, keep Blanton. But I see this as Amaro talking up his guy and making it seem like it will take a lot to pry him away. I think Blanton is still on the table and Kendrick is your number five guy.

This is posturing by Amaro. Joe B will be gone by opening day, as long as there are no injuries in ST. They’ll need the money to cover for inevitable injuries during the season.

My best guess that Kyle Kendrick begins the season with us on the Lehigh Valley roster. In 2009 he was reportedly sent down to work on an additional pitch. If Bruce Sutter is still around working with Scott Mathieson, Kendrick could benefit from the Hall of Famer’s expereince too.

Blanton will be worth a LOT more once the season starts (especially around the trade deadline) than he is worth today. If the Phils have serious injury problems (like, say, if two of the big four are hurt), there’s not a chance they trade Joe the Pitcher. Likewise, pretty much every contender will be scrambling for starting pitching at the trade deadline, whether they have’re having serious starting pitching woes or not. The Phillies don’t *need* to trade Blanton, so there’s really no sense in taking a mediocre deal — especially since he’ll be worth so much more when everyone needs him.

I figure KK is the opening long relief guy. Blanton will be traded at deadline if a) no injuries occur and B) KK or Worly show they can handle the # 5 job without too much of a drop. Worly will open year in AAA and be first guy called up if a starter goes down. Whether he’ll enter the rotation or replace KK as long man is anyone’s guess. Love the fact that the Phillies are willing to spend money!

On the contrary, I think Kendrick is eminently tradable. They signed him to a low-dollar contract. Teams would be more willing to take a chance on a 26-year old at $2.45 mil than Blanton at $8 mil.
The age factor makes Kendrick a candidate to wind up in another team’s starting rotation. My guess is that Ruben had no takers for Joe, or the takers weren’t givers.
Now that Kendrick has a contract, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him elsewhere.

Mule: finding someone to take KK won’t be a problem, I agree. However, what will we get for him? Is it worth moving a 26 year old who you know can be a 5th starter for a mid-low level prospect? The reason to move Blanton is to reduce payroll, it matters little what you get back. Why move KK at his “cheap” salary?

f.i.j.: Do you “know” that KK can be the 5th starter? My money is on Vance Worley, but we’ll see. I’d hope that you could get something more than a “mid-low level prospect” for somebody we “know” can be the 5th starter. The two don’t mesh together. Either he isn’t valuable or he is.
Didn’t they already move a 27-year old in JA Happ? How did that work out?

The bigger issue is that Blanton lost value because of his salary. At a lower price, Blanton is more valuable, but teams always take the salary into consideration.
Kendrick will bring something in return versus losing Blanton to free agency.

Seriously muleman, KK has absolutely no value in a trade so they may as well keep him around in case of depth. All you need is the eyeball test with him, and scouts know that he is a one pitch pitcher who hasn’t quite mastered his one pitch. That, and he’s not a fighter; he quits when his sinker isn’t working.
Blanton will have plenty of value come spring training. He could be a #3 on most pitching staffs and his salary is not prohibitive. On the contrary, it is fair market value for what he is. Personally, I would keep him but if they can get rid of his salary AND get something in return I would move him in a NY minute. They could use that money at the trading deadline in case they have some needs due to injury.

Mule: since KK has been a 5th starter for 2 seasons, I think it’s fair to say he can be one. Worley may beat him out for teh spot, but that doesn’t mean KK can’t be the 5th guy. Obviously Blanton is better then both, but as we all know, he costs a hell of a lot more.
Moving Happ for Oswalt worked out pretty good, I’d say, wouldn’t you?
the reason we’d only get a mid level prospect is because 5th starters are not very valuable. Look at the 5th starters on all 32 teams and tell me how many you’d really want on your team. They all, however, make more money then a prospect.
As I’ve been saying all along, I predict Blanton will be traded. If not before or during Spring training, then at the deadline when a pitcher of Blanton’s status (a # 3 on most teams) will be needed by multiple teams as they try to improve their staffs due to injury or sudden posibility to contend for Playoff place.

no Sh*t sherlock. Obviously if Blanton is with the team then KK is not in the rotation. As Todd says in his latest post, Blanton was the team’s #3 last year (before he injured himself in spring training and Oswalt joined the team). KK will become the long relief guy instead of Durban. However, having KK allows the Phillies to move Blanton and save the $8 million a year.

Your argument is not up to your usual posts Mule. What you’re saying is that Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels aren’t # 1 starters because with the Phillies they all come after Haladay. Put them on any other team (ok, 99% of other teams) and they are the ace of the staff. Same for KK. Put him on 99% of other teams and he’s the # 5 (dare I say # 4 on many teams?)

f.i.j.: C’mon, man. The reason KK may NOT be the 5th starter this year is because he’s already the 6th starter. True, he was #5 for 2 seasons, but this year he has 4 Cy Young candidates ahead of him and Blanton. There is no guarantee he will be the #5. In fact, if Joe is still here he probably won’t be #5.
The last 2 seasons have nothing to do with 2011 for Kyle.

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