Ruben Amaro doesn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to deal Joe Blanton


The Phillies are still actively shopping Joe Blanton, but general manager Ruben Amaro told Todd Zolecki of 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.

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.