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.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.