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?
Free agent outfielder Peter Bourjos is heading back to the Angels on a minor league deal, per a report from Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training, but has not yet been officially confirmed by the team.
Bourjos, 31, played out a one-year gig with the Braves in 2018 and slashed .205/.239/.364 with four extra-base hits and a .603 OPS through a career-low 47 plate appearances. He showed more promise during a short-lived stint with the Giants’ Triple-A squad in the second half of the season, but elected free agency in early November and had yet to catch on with another major league club. His deal with the Angels represents a homecoming of sorts, as he played some of the best years of his career in Anaheim from 2010 to 2013 before getting traded to the Cardinals in a multiplayer swap for David Freese and Fernando Salas in 2014.
The veteran outfielder is long past his prime, but could still bring some value to the team as outfield depth behind Justin Upton, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun. Per Adams, he’s expected to compete for a spot as the Angels’ fourth outfielder, though he also has limited experience at DH as well.