Results tagged ‘ Joe Blanton ’

Meet the Rotation

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Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton held a news conference this afternoon at Bright House Field.

Here is the transcript:

Q. Cliff, in December you said you were thrilled to be back. You never wanted to leave in the first place. Now that you’re in uniform, it’s here, it’s real, you’re surrounded by these guys, what is going through your mind?
CLIFF LEE: Basically spring training, you know, just preparing for the season. I’m excited to be back. Obviously, this is a very talented group of guys and I’m just honored to be a part of it. Just preparing for the season. Just standard spring training stuff.

Q. (No Audio).
JOE BLANTON: (No Audio)if not, I just planned on being here the whole time.

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The Price for the Phillies Rotation

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Ruben Amaro Jr. said this week he expects Joe Blanton to remain with the Phillies this season, which means the guy the Phillies slated to be their No. 3 starter in 2010 is their No. 5 starter in 2011. It shows just how much has changed in a year. The Phillies shipped 13 prospects and committed more than $255 million in salaries to have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Blanton in the same rotation at the same time.

I know the Phillies traded away Lee in Dec. 2009, which remains a regrettable trade. But if the Phillies had not traded for Lee the first time and had he not enjoyed his experience here, he would not have taken less money to sign with the Phillies in December. He would have signed with the Yankees or Rangers instead.

Here is a look at the prospects the Phillies traded to make this rotation:

Click here to read the entire story.

ROY HALLADAY

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud. MLB.com ranks him as the ninth-best catching prospect in baseball. Baseball America considers him the organization’s fourth-best prospect in its rankings. He certainly has the all-around skills to be a frontline catcher. In fact, including d’Arnaud in the Halladay deal gave the Phillies pause because of the dearth of catching depth in the organization and baseball.

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Blanton Is Likely Staying

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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.

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Business Over the Holidays

Thumbnail image for blanton 0828 2010.jpgSo what’s left for the Phillies before Spring Training? They could sign a reliever since their Dennys Reyes deal collapsed.

But that’s a relatively minor move compared to trading Joe Blanton, which they are trying to do.

The Phillies blew up their budget to sign Cliff Lee, even though he is making a relatively modest $11 million next season. The Phillies need to move salary to give them flexibility at the July 31 trade deadline and next winter when Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Raul Ibanez and possibly Brad Lidge (if his 2012 club option is not exercised) become free agents.

Blanton became the odd man out when Lee signed, not because of his performance, but because of his salary. He makes $8.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012.

In conversations with baseball sources since the Lee deal, Blanton should not be difficult to trade. And the Phillies might not have to eat much of his salary because they will be looking for little in return. Teams are looking for starting pitching and few viable options remain, making Blanton attractive.

Teams like the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins make sense. The Yankees and Rangers lost the Lee sweepstakes. The Nationals took a stab at Lee, too. The Tigers have been looking for a bottom-of-the-rotation starter for some time, but have not found one. The Twins could be interested in Blanton, if they can’t resign Carl Pavano.

Pavano might be the most attractive free agent on the market at the moment. (Brandon Webb remains available, too.) But FOXSports.com made an interesting comparison between Pavano and Blanton, who is nearly five years younger than Pavano. Blanton has a slightly better career ERA (4.30 to 4.34) and strikeout ratio (5.8 to 5.7) than Pavano, while Pavano has a slightly better career WHIP (1.334 to 1.343) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.54 to 2.32) than Blanton.

Statistically, there is little difference between the two. But teams already know how much Blanton will cost and they only have to make a two-year commitment to him. Teams love cost certainty and flexibility.

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Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, Cliff …


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Did that just happen?

A recap:

  • Sources told MLB.com late last night that Cliff Lee has agreed to a five-year contract with the Phillies with a vesting option for a sixth year. The deal is in the $120 million range.
  • Lee left money on the table to return to Philadelphia. The Yankees offered Lee a six-year, $138 million contract with a vesting option that increased the value to $154 million, according to ESPN.com.
  • It’s insane, but true. The Phillies will enter the 2011 season with Roy Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the rotation.
  • Phillies players’ cell phones rang and buzzed throughout the night as word spread. “We’re like, ‘Whoa,’” Shane Victorino said. “I had heard about this mystery team. I was like, ‘There’s no way it’s us.’ Then I heard the Phillies were back in it. I texted Cliff last week and he never said anything. I texted him again today when everything started coming out. I’m like, ‘Come on.’ He finally texted me back, ‘I’m back,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ I thought there was no way we’re bringing him back.”
  • The Phillies might have to shed payroll to make room for Lee. A source said the Phillies have been shopping Joe Blanton in recent days. The source said the Phillies would be willing to eat some of Blanton’s salary to foster a trade. He is owed $17 million over the next two seasons. The source also said the Phillies have been gauging team’s interest in Kyle Kendrick and Raul Ibanez, who makes $11.5 million this season before becoming a free agent.

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It’s 2:30 a.m. Going to bed. Check back later for more.

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Phillies in the Hunt for Lee

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Could Cliff Lee rejoin the Phillies?

There is a chance.

I’m not sure how great that chance is, but sources confirmed reports today the Phillies are a legitimate suitor in the Lee sweepstakes. The Phillies almost certainly are offering less money than the Yankees and Rangers, but here is the ‘X’ factor: Lee absolutely enjoyed his time in Philadelphia in 2009 and in the past has indicated to teammates he would like to rejoin the organization.

But does he love Philadelphia enough to leave millions of dollars on the table?

“All I can say is I’m not going to comment either way,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said tonight of the reports.

The Phillies have nearly $150 million committed to 17 players next season, so they would need to clear payroll for Lee. A source said the Phillies have been shopping Joe Blanton in recent days. The source said the Phillies would be willing to eat some of Blanton’s salary to foster a trade. He is owed $17 million over the next two seasons.

(The Tigers are a team looking for back end rotation help, although it’s unclear how much salary they would take on.)

The source also said the Phillies have been gauging team’s interest in Kyle Kendrick and Raul Ibanez, who makes $11.5 million this season before becoming a free agent.

Lee was stunned last December when the Phillies traded him to Seattle. He did not want to leave, but at the time Lee’s agent indicated he would be incredibly difficult to sign to an extension. So the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay, who signed a club-friendly, three-year, $60 million contract to leave Toronto, and shipped Lee to the Mariners for three prospects.

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Can the Phillies Hit This Guy?

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Lots of nervous Phillies fans out there.

Lots of people wondering why the Phillies would not start Roy Halladay over Joe Blanton in Game 4. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with it. Not even a little bit. Because if the Phillies can’t hit Madison Bumgarner tonight to even the series, does it really matter who they pitch? I’d rather take my chances with Blanton, assume a dormant Phillies offense hits a rookie left-hander and have Halladay ready to go on normal rest in Game 5.

If the Phillies win tonight, I like the idea of having Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels on normal rest the rest of the series. If the Phillis lose tonight, I’d much rather have Halladay on normal rest with something to prove (don’t think his Game 1 performance isn’t a motivator) than Oswalt on short rest in an elimination game.

But they’ve got to hit. Simple as that.

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Blanton Will Start Game 4

blanton 0828 2010.jpgCharlie Manuel confirmed what he had been saying all week: Joe Blanton will pitch Game 4 of the National League Championship Series tomorrow night at AT&T Park.

Here is what Manuel, Rich Dubee and Roy Halladay had to say after today’s 3-0 loss in Game 3:

MANUEL
Q: Was there any discussion to start Halladay on short rest?
A: I didn’t see any use in discussion. Did you? Whatever. No. No discussion.

DUBEE
Q: Why not Halladay on short rest?
A: You had to determine if you were going to pitch (Roy) Oswalt and (Cole) Hamels short or you were going to pitch Joe Blanton somewhere. So we think this is the best thing to do.
Q: Charlie left the door open this week during his press conferences that he could go in another direction. Was it ever discussed?
A: I don’t think so. I really haven’t come across going up to him and saying what do you think of moving guys up? No.
Q: Is that because Hamels hasn’t done it?

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Hamels vs. Cain

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Hola, amigos. What’s up? It’s been a long day, so I haven’t had a chance to blog.

My bad.

Cole Hamels and Matt Cain spoke yesterday at AT&T Park. They’re ready to go today in Game 3. I know Hamels does not have great numbers at AT&T Park, but I feel like he’s going to pitch a good game. Not sure why I think that other than he’s really, really good and is due to pitch a good game here, but I do. I think the Phillies can hit Cain, too.

Other predictions: Cody Ross doesn’t hurt the Phillies the rest of the series. … Joe Blanton pitches Game 4. … Jimmy Rollins finds his stroke. … I make an In-N-Out run before Wednesday’s game.

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Manuel Tweaks Lineup for Game 2

The Phillies have hit just .212 in the postseason, and just .147 against Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in five career starts against him.

Charlie Manuel tried to shake up things with a tweak to his lineup before Game 2 of the NLCS. He flipped Chase Utley and Placido Polanco, which had Utley hitting second and Polanco hitting third.

“Same reason I always do it,” Manuel said.

He wanted to split the left-handed hitting Utley and Ryan Howard, which he has done on occasion this season against left-handed pitchers.

Manuel said Saturday he would “think” about hitting Jimmy Rollins first, but he never seriously considered it for three reasons: Rollins has hit .067 (1 for 15) with two walks and three strikeouts in the postseason and he has hit just .063 (1 for 16) against Sanchez while Shane Victorino, who is hitting leadoff, has hit .400 (6 for 15) against Sanchez.

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Manuel said Joe Blanton remains his starter for Game 4, but he left some room to change his mind Sunday.

“That’s still our plan,” he said. “But we’ll just take it day to day and see what happens.”

If the Phillies trail the series entering Game 4, they could start Roy Halladay on short rest. Halladay has pitched on short rest five times in his career as a starter. (He started on short rest two other times, but those followed relief appearances.) Halladay is 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA (seven earned runs in 37 innings) in those five starts, but he has made just one start on short rest since 2004.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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