Analysis

Will Blanton be a Target for Yankees?

Bartolo Colon. Ivan Nova. A.J. Burnett. Sergio Mitre. Freddy Garcia.

If I’m a Yankees fan, I now light myself on fire. That’s what the rotation has in store for the Yankees this coming season behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes after the news that Andy Pettitte is retiring from baseball after 16 season. The long-time Yankee will make that announcement sometime today.

Although he was held to just 129 innings a season ago, Pettitte managed 190 innings or more 11 times in his career, including five straight from ’05-’10. His postseason numbers have been outstanding – so much so they might catapult him into the Hall of Fame discussion, like it or not.

Looking forward, the Yankees will have to replace that contribution. Colon is old and washed up, Nova is young and inexperienced, Mitre is a nice long-man or fifth starter, Freddy Garcia had a bounceback in 2010, but only after basically being out of baseball for three years, and A.J. Burnett is, well, A.J. Burnett. The Bronx Bombers and their followers can’t be too confident about what they see on paper right now.

That’s where Joe Blanton comes in. With an embarrassment of riches in the pitching department, the Phillies have quietly made it known that Blanton and his $17.5 million over the next two seasons, is available.

It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s close. By dealing Blanton, the Phillies allow themselves some breathing room in the financial sector for future moves to be made (RH bat, bullpen help midseason, etc.). In taking on Blanton, the Yankees suffice their need for an innings-eating No. 3 pitcher to step right in. As you’re well aware, Big Joe has plenty of playoff experience, starting in six career games and appearing in nine.

The only issue on the Yankees side is their willingness to add payroll. Seems strange doesn’t it. But Brian Cashman has changed the culture of that organization, pushing them toward the farm system rather than the checkbook.

Still, it’s easy to see this rumor taking flight in the coming days as Spring Training inches close. The question is, do the Phillies want to trade Blanton? He’d be – by far – the best fifth starter in baseball. And that embarrassment of riches can come in handy for the Phillies down the road.

My guess is the Yankees will make a call, but will not want to take on all of the contract. I’d put the odds (this is strictly an educated guess) at about 25 percent that Joe B gets dealt. The Phillies don’t have to do anything irrational being in a position of power.

UPDATE, 12:52 pm: According to a tweet from SNY.tv, Brian Cashman said at the Andy Pettitte press conference today that he is not comfortable with the Yankees starting rotation as it’s currently constituted.

Watch the clip here of Cashman’s interview with YES.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. bfo_33

    February 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

    IF the Phils deal Blanton before the season begins, it will be to the Yanks. I think the chances are a little better than 25%, but not quite 50%. I don’t think Cashman is running the show anymore, Hank and Hal aren’t as patient – see Soriano deal. Holding them back – from the Phils perspective, if they believe Blanton is healthy, they’ll want more than salary relief – probably at least a high ceiling low level prospect. I suspect they’ll be able to get that from someone in June/July, only the Yanks right now.

    Personally, I’d be perfectly happy to see big Joe stay.

  2. Ctjay

    February 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

    That’s 4 mins I’ll never get back reading this peice of garbage. They haven’t played a single game yet. N u r already saying SOS!! Yanks cud pick up a marquee pitcher during the seasonif they want. They will be fine. Stop inducing false fears if u don’t have anything better to do on a Friday morning. Be a fan n support. N see how things pan out. If u can’t then may be you should lite ur self on fire.

    • Don M

      February 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      That took you 4 minutes to read??? That sucks dude, you should have stayed in school

  3. tavian

    February 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    The Phils should as for two high ceiling prospects from the Yankees for Blanton. It does not hurt to ask. Personally, I hope Joe stays in Philly.

  4. Manny

    February 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

    One thing comes to mind:

    Blanton is usually a second-half pitcher and, if he doesn’t change that in 2011, I doubt we’ll get anything valuable in return if we trade him by the end of July. Or worse, we might have to eat some of his salary –which would suck cause we all know he’s a good pitcher. This COULD mean that the Phillies might prefer to deal him before the season starts… although I think they’re going to let it play out. IF Blanton bucks the trend and has a sub-4 ERA by the trade deadline, we could be looking at a nice return OR a FANTASTIC No.5 pitcher the rest of the season… Either of those would be great.

    Risk-taker: Hold on to him and potentially maximize your returns.
    Risk-averse: deal him asap if the right offer comes along before the season starts.

  5. Captain Chaos

    February 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Can the yankees trade for a starting pitcher? Sure depending on who’s available the only guy I’d bank on being out there is Carmona seems like the Indians can’t stand holding on to anyone. However, I wouldn’t say that picking up Carmona at the all star break would make the Yankees ok. Despite having 18 wins, Hughes ERA was well north of 5 that doesn’t scream number 2 starter to me. Especially with an improved Red Sox team in the division.

    It could be a moot point if these rookies the Yankees have catch lightning in a bottle, they may have all the pitching they need. I really doubt that the phils will be willing to pay a significant portion of Joe’s salary as having the front 4 not only makes the bullpen less of an issue, but also makes a RH bat less important. (Both of those moves by the way can be made mid season with less of an investment in prospects than starting pitching.)

    I’d say smart money has Joe Blanton on the team at this point. You have to factor in not only ego, but the negative publicity how bad would Cashman and the yanks look if after missing out on Cliff Lee to the Phillies they have to trade for the Phillies 5th Starter.

    BTW wouldn’t count on some highly touted prospect for Joe even if he was traded. He’s a fine pitcher and I think he’ll have a bounce back year, but he’s not an ace or even a number 2. You might be able to get something if Mike Rizzotti is packaged in the deal.

    • Pat Gallen

      February 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Thats interesting. I’d like to think they’ve looked into packaging Blanton and a prospect or 2 for a proven bat. I guess that’s just not out there. I think other teams are looking at Blanton as a salary dump.

      • Captain Chaos

        February 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm

        I’m not too worried about the RH bat. To be honest given the rotation I’m willing to try out Brown/Francisco in rightfield & Ibanez/Mayberry in Left.

        The only guy who really interests me is Hunter Pence from Houston, but that trade would literally make no sense whether you included Rizzotti or not. Houston doesn’t figure to be a contender one way or the other, so unless Ed Wade is willing to give us another player I don’t see how it would work.

        Other than that i’m not really enthusiastic about guys like Swisher or Granderson from the Yanks. I’m not confident that the improvement compared to a Brown/Francisco platoon would offset the drop from Joe Blanton to Kyle Kendrick.

  6. Lefty

    February 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Your point about the Yankees changing culture could mean they wont want to sign Nick Swisher next year when he becomes FA. Instead of just losing him to FA, they could trade for Blanton giving them immediate salary relief of Swisher’s 9m this year and they won’t lose him to FA at the end of the season for picks.

    Think about it, we need RH power in right field- they need pitching, and we want to jettison Joe B’s contract, and they may not want to pay Swisher’s next year. After he helps us win a WFC this year, he can go make Jason Werth money somewhere else next year, and we get rid of Blanton’s contract too. From what I’ve read from Jay Floyd it looks like our best young assets are arms.

    For all those who wanted to bring in old men like Manny, Ordonez and Vlad, wouldn’t you rather have 30 year old Swisher. .288/.359/.511/.870/ 29 bombs/ 89 RBI Now the only question is can RAJ pull it off? He’d probably have to throw a prospect in. Couldn’t hurt to ask!

    • Lefty

      February 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Ah crahap! , My mistake, he’s a switch hitter not a RH bat. And most of his power seems to come batting LH.

  7. bfo_33

    February 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I expect to see Rizzoti moved at some point this season – we’re pretty deep in the minors at 1st, he’s not getting any younger, but is blocked for the foreseeable future. I could see a Blanton/Rizzoti package somewhere, just not the Yanks, who have Tex for the long term.

    Nice move by the White Sox picking up Milledge – I think only a team with strong leadership – Phils, White Sox, Red Sox, Yanks, maybe Angels, could get something out of him.

  8. Don M

    February 4, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I don’t think that the Yankees losing out on Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford mean that there is some real shift in the way the go about their business . . .

    They’ve already signed lots of players to long-term deals so that aren’t many NEEDS that they need to dump prospects for – but they have tried to do that (Last year with Cliff Lee before he went to Texas) . . .

    The Yankees print their own money and spend it however they want. I know that Cashman has said in public that he wants to keep their prospects, and with a team of 38 year olds, that makes sense.. but they will still overspend every chance they get!

    ….
    Also, I really think that Blanton’s value will be a ton higher at the deadline when more teams are looking for depth (Experienced Depth!) …. There will be a ton of teams that could benefit from an upgrade of a #3 starter… I would imagine the Phillies would look to deal him back to the AL, but I wouldn’t be shocked if a team at the deadline gives up a few decent prospects for Blanton.. I don’t mean TOP 50 guys, but maybe a A-ball 3b can be had, etc.

  9. kdog

    February 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Hey Ctjay. Looks like you are a scared Yankee fan. Why would a phillies blogger “Be a fan n support” thR Yankees. How does it feel now that the Yankees dint get their way every year?

  10. Manny

    February 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    What I don’t wanna see is the Yankees getting Felix Hernandez… ugh.

    BOUND TO HAPPEN.

  11. Pingback: Will Blanton be a Target for Yankees? « Phillies Nation | Yankees News Source

  12. The Original Chuck P

    February 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Bound to happen, Manny… you can put it on the board.

    At this point, I don’t know how anxious the Yankees would be to take Heavy Joe off of our hands. They know that we don’t really have a need for him and taking him to be their 3/4 would be a huge kick to the collective groin of the Yankee fan base. I think that you’re more than likely to see them go dumpster diving… when the going gets tough, head to the well (see what the Pirates can do).

    Check out my blog… http://www.baseballjunkies.blogspot.com … we’ve got some cool stuff going on.

  13. Brooks

    February 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Since Joe has been with the Phils, I think he has been pretty inconsistent – compared to his Oakland days. Yes, he has proven to be a better second half pitcher but I think we never have seen the better side of Joe’s pitching – only bits and pieces (games here and there).

    If Joe is healthy and can gain some consistency I think he would make some team a decent #3. For the Phils, I really don’t think losing him would change the outlook of the team and, it would free up some cash or perhaps give us some other prospects for either for a right fielder, RH bat (both?) or a BP guy.

  14. derekcarstairs

    February 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    At some point in 2011, either at the start or the middle of the season, Domonic Brown will become the Phils’ RF, and he will remain there for many years. The Phils do not need to trade for a veteran RF. It’s more important that the Phils get young. With the cushion provided by adding Lee and having Oswalt for a full season, the Phils have the luxury of allowing Brown to grow into the job at the major-league level. By all estimates, Brown will be very good, if not immediately, very soon.

    The Phils really have no immediate needs. For that reason, the Phils should either keep Blanton and win 105 games during the regular 2011 season or trade him for a good, near-ready prospect and win 102 games during the regular season. I would favor the latter because of the Phils’ secondary need to get younger.

    If I were the Phils, I’d be looking for near-ready 3B or C prospects. The Yanks have three good catching prospects. I would target Austin Romine, who should hit the majors in 2012. I would not be willing to eat any of Blanton’s salary, but I would be willing to throw in one or two mid-level prospects. Romine could take over the back-up catcher role when Schneider’s contract expires and would be a possible successor to Ruiz.

    The Phils want to get younger, and SS, 2B, 3B and C are the areas of concern for the Phillies long-term. I expect Rollins and Utley to be good for a few more years. My focus now would be on C and 3B, and I would want to use a valuable asset like Blanton to get a good, near ready 3B or C prospect. The Phils’ need for a right-handed bat can be addressed in other ways.

    • Captain Chaos

      February 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      I’m of the same mind on this one. If someone blows you out of the water with a great offer for Blanton then yeah you’d have to jump and if adding in Rizzotti (who’s blocked and thus expendable) would get you an even better deal you’d have to consider it.

      However, I don’t get the feeling the Yankees are gonna do that. You could maybe negotiate a deal around the trade deadline with someone, but I think we’re all assuming the Phils will be i contention so why would you screw with your major league lineup for prospects at a time like that. Especially if Joe Blanton is having a good year. If Joe has a great year and let’s remember he’s going to be facing the 5th starters of opposing teams to start the season he should be able to rack up alot of wins if he keeps his era around 4 or below it if we’re lucky he could bring back quite a bit during next years offseason.

  15. michael weber

    February 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Keeping Blanton to start the season may be the best ides, If he has a bounce back season(no injuries) Hs contract will be good for us in 2012, as Roy O has already stated that he may retire, albeit with the excitement surrounding this rotation he may reconsider, the Phils pickingup his 16 mill option is no guarantee so holding on if Roy O goes, gives another year for those prospects in the minors to get ready

  16. betasigmadeltashag

    February 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I do not get the need for a nearly ready Catcher, Chooch is just cooming into his prime, he is going to be 30 this year, and had one of his best offensive season, and has proven to be a clutch playoff performer. I see the need for a back up after this year. It would be nice to have competent back up to give some days off. Chooch should be around for 4-5 more years and migh even be batting 5th this year

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