From beat writer Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Red Sox and Orioles had scouts in the stands for Joe Blanton’s Grapefruit League outing Thursday against the Braves.
Blanton threw the ball well, allowing only four hits and no walks in five innings of work while striking out four Atlanta hitters. He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 total Grapefruit League frames.
The Blue Jays are also known to have interest in acquiring Blanton, who missed most of the 2011 season due to an elbow injury but entered camp this spring with a clean bill of health. He’s owed $8.5 million in 2012, but the Phillies are said to be open to eating about $2 million of that. Blanton will be a free agent in the winter.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.