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.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.