Joe Blanton in danger of losing spot in Angels’ rotation

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Angels starter Joe Blanton has the third-worst ERA in baseball at 5.66. That, and a recent confrontation with pitching coach Mike Butcher, are reasons the Angels are looking to remove him from the rotation.

Via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and William Boor:

“We’re working on a couple things now,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re going to see where we are and we’ll have a decision.”

[…]

“Joe has put every effort into trying to be the pitcher he can be,” Scioscia said. “Right now, it’s very clear he is struggling with some of the basic things he needs to do to be that pitcher.”

Blanton is scheduled to start on Saturday in Oakland against the Athletics. The Angels are in a tough spot since they don’t have many options to jump into the rotation and contribute on a long-term basis. And they’re not in a position where they want to trade for a pitcher considering their record and standing as it pertains to the AL West and Wild Card races.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.