UPDATE: Forget that arbitration nonsense below, the Phillies just signed Blanton to a three-year, $24 million extension. And no, Cliff Lee would not have signed for that, so I suppose the Phillies are better off today than they were yesterday.
11:30 A.M.: Lost (by me anyway) in all of the arbitration stuff these past few days was the fact that Joe Blanton has asked for $10.25 million and the Phillies have countered with $7.5 million.
Deep Thought #1: If the Phillies are willing to pay Joe Blanton $7.5 million — and risk paying him $10.25 million — why weren’t they willing to pay Cliff Lee $9 million and deal Blanton for a reliever or something? Yeah, I know Lee walks next year, but if there is any team that should be in win-now mode it’s the the Phillies, and for the price of $1.5 million, they could have drastically-increased their chances of winning it all.
Deep Thought #2: Tim Lincecum was probably insulted by the Giants’ $8 million offer from the get-go, but I wonder how he reacted when he learned that he, a two-time Cy Young award winner, was offered a mere half million than Joe “basically average” Blanton?
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.