The Phillies are still actively shopping Joe Blanton, but general manager Ruben Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he has no sense of urgency to make a deal for salary relief.
“I really don’t have to do anything,” he said. “We’ll see whether it makes some sense to increase some flexibility for us for later on, but at some point, as I’ve said, we’ve just got to see what we’ve got in Spring Training and move on from there.”
Blanton is owed $8.5 million in both 2011 and 2012, so dealing him would provide the Phillies with some much needed payroll flexibility, not only at the trade deadline this year, but for next offseason, as well.
Amaro rarely reveals anything in his comments to the media, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s simply holding out until Carl Pavano finally signs a contract. Assuming the Phillies would be willing to eat some of his salary, Blanton could make some sense for pitching-starved teams like the Nationals, Pirates and Royals, all of whom have reportedly expressed varying degrees of interest in Pavano this winter.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.