Take from this what you will, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos scouted today’s Orioles-Phillies game. It’s possible he was just getting a look at a division rival, but Morosi notes that Anthopoulos left after Joe Blanton after was done pitching.
Morosi writes that the Blue Jays are interested in pitching and that Blanton is available in the right deal, so this has a chance of being a match on paper. If Anthopoulos was truly there to see Blanton, he probably liked what he saw. The 31-year-old right-hander allowed four hits over three shutout innings while striking out three and walking just one.
Of course, Blanton was limited to just 41 1/3 innings at the major league level last season due to an elbow injury. Even with a strong showing this spring, it’s likely the Phillies would have to eat a portion of his $8.5 million salary for this season in a potential deal.
It’s not clear what direction the Phillies would go if they end up finding a suitor for Blanton. Kyle Kendrick and Joel Pineiro are among the internal alternatives for a rotation spot, but they could target Roy Oswalt if they get some salary relief.
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.