The Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles engaged in "deep discussions" about a trade involving starting pitcher Joe Blanton, The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported late Monday. But the discussions are being held up by whether or not the Orioles would absorb the $3 million still owed to Blanton for the rest of the season. From Connolly's report:
The Orioles likely could acquire the 31-year-old Blanton for a minor leaguer, but the Phillies also want to shed what remains on Blanton's $8.5 million contract — which is approximately $3 million, according to an industry source.
And the Orioles appear hesitant to spend that amount of money for a pitcher who is more of an innings eater than a dominant force in the rotation, the source said. The big-money Phillies, who surprisingly are in last in the National League East, are looking for salary relief, especially after inking lefty Cole Hamels to a huge extension recently.
Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA this season for the Phillies. He has 115 strikeouts to just 18 walks and would serve as a dependable innings-eater. He has pitched an average of almost 6 2/3 innings in his 20 starts.
Connolly reported that the Orioles are only one of five teams that have inquired about Blanton's availability. The Orioles are currently just two games behind both the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels for an American League wild card spot. (The A's were still playing Monday night.)