Phillies Exploring Interest in Joe Blanton
The Phillies are checking on interest in Blanton, two major-league sources said. Roy Halladay, Edwin Jackson, Derek Lowe, Gil Meche and Kevin Millwood are also on the market, and with few top-end starters on the free-agent list, there could be some trading activity.
Blanton, who turns 29 next week, was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 2009 and in five career postseason starts for Philadelphia has gone 2-0 with a 4.03 ERA. But he is eligible for arbitration this winter and can be a free agent in a year.
With the Phillies about tapped out on payroll, saving money by trading Blanton would allow them to spend on setup relievers. Philadelphia would probably prefer to get a cheaper starter back for Blanton so it can keep Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick as candidates for the No. 5 rotation spot rather than rely on both.
The Braves are willing to chip in for some of the $45 million (over three years) remaining on Lowe's deal, but one source said Atlanta has yet to offer to eat enough to get a deal done.