Angels release Joe Blanton with $8.5 million left on contract

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Last offseason the Angels signed Joe Blanton to a two-year, $15 million deal. He was horrendous, going 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA while getting dumped from the rotation and now, after a similarly terrible spring training, they’ve decided to simply release the 33-year-old right-hander.

In doing so the Angels eat the $7.5 million Blanton is owed this season, plus another $1 million to buy out his team option for 2015. So, in all, they paid $113,000 per inning to have Blanton for 20 starts and eight relief appearances.

It’s impossible to argue that Blanton hasn’t been a mess, last season and this spring, but he did post a decent 108/34 K/BB ratio in 133 innings for the Angels and … well, 15 months ago they thought he was worth $15 million. He’ll latch on somewhere and probably pitch in the majors at some point this season, but it’ll likely take some decent work at Triple-A first.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.