Earlier this morning Jon Heyman, who appears to have been the guy who broke the Cliff Lee story, was reporting that the Phillies had a deal in place with the Boston Red Sox for Joe Blanton and his $17 million contract. Ken Rosenthal was also reporting discussions between the teams.
After taking on upwards of $120 million in salary as part of the Cliff Lee deal, the Phillies are understandably looking to shed some salary. Blanton, who is making a lot of money and would be no better than a fifth starter in the Phils rotation, is clearly the guy considered “surplus to requirements.” Between guys like Vance Worley or Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies have arms in the organization that would make for a perfectly acceptable fifth starter on the cheap.
Blanton, who is due about $17 million over the next two years and is considered a decent #3 type rotation pitcher on an average team isn’t a bad option for teams now that the starting pitching market has been all but gutted. The righty becomes even more attractive if the Phillies offered to eat some of his salary.
If a deal did happen with Boston, it would be a sneaky move by the Sox to more or less help the Phillies steal Cliff Lee from the Yankees. In an offseason where they already got Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, helping to keep Cliff Lee away from the Bronx might be their craftiest move yet.